In China, salt-tolerant rice, better known as “seawater rice,” reached a new high with its average yield surpassing 691.8 kilograms per mu (0.06 hectares). This new record is a major breakthrough in China’s efforts to boost rice output. Developed by the late Yuan Longping, China’s “Father of Hybrid Rice,” seawater rice is a variety of rice that can be cultivated in salty soils near the sea.
According to the Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center, the Qingdao-based test field of salt-tolerant conventional rice variety yielded 691.8 kilograms per mu, exceeding its previous average output. Salt-tolerant conventional rice is known to survive under 0.4% sodium chloride (NaCl) for the whole growth period.
The test planting field has 0.034% salinity and a pH value of 7.9. During their whole growth period, the tested rice and control varieties were irrigated with 0.4% salt water.
The center also reported that two tested plots yielded 608.9 kg/mu and 691.8 kg/mu respectively. Wan Jili, director of the technology research and development department of the center, stated that reaching 691.8 kilograms per mu is an achievement for salt-tolerant conventional rice and the great potential it has ahead.
In 2017, hybrid saline-alkali tolerant rice that was irrigated with 0.6% salt water yielded 620.95 kg/mu. Wan noted that the high output of the newly-tested salt-tolerant conventional rice variety survives under 0.4% NaCl is quite significant as hybrid rice generally yields more than conventional rice.
In recent years, Chinese scientists made breakthroughs in salt-tolerant rice output. In 2019, it reached 295.9 kg/mu, while in 2021 it rose to 590.6 kg/mu. By the end of 2021, the planting area of China’s salt-tolerant rice reached around 600,000 mu and has been distributed in more than 10 provinces.
According to the center, China’s salt-tolerant rice planting area will exceed 1 million mu.