Yuan Longping, known as the father of hybrid rice, once said he had two dreams — to “enjoy the cool under the rice crops taller than men” and that “hybrid rice would be grown all over the world to help solve the global scarcity of food.” Now, the dreams of the academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering are coming true gradually. According to the China National Hybrid Rice R&D Center-Chongqing Sub center, giant rice shoots growing in an about-10,000-square-meter experimental field at Changhong Village, Shiwan Town, Dazu District, Chongqing this year are cultivated successfully and expected to yield more than 800 kilograms per 667 square meters.
In the experimental field, line upon line of green rice shoots is growing sturdily, with a faint scent of fresh rice being wafted along by the autumn breeze. These sorghum-like rice shoots stand at an average height of two meters with sturdy and tall stalks, long ears, and more grains.
Chen Yangpu, Deputy Director of the China National Hybrid Rice R&D Center-Chongqing Sub center, said that the average height of giant rice is about two times that of the ordinary one. Some rice plants have grown more than 2.2 meters tall, becoming “giants” among the rice. This year, Dazu District starts to grow “giant rice” on a trial basis and has succeeded so far.
According to Chen, this type of rice has sturdy and tall rice stalks and straight leaves with deep colors and is well-spaced, giving rise to high photosynthetic efficiency. As a result, the number of effective tillers can reach 40 on average, each producing about 500 grains maximum. Moreover, it’s also resistant to diseases, lodging, flooding, and salt-alkali soil. It can also bring sufficient nutrients to the plants nearby and provide shade and shelter for aquatic and mammals.
The center plans to expand the field next year while developing a pilot project of “rice-fish symbiosis” to help farmers increase their income.
This July, the China National Hybrid Rice R&D Center-Chongqing Sub center was officially established in Shiwan Town, Dazu District. Made up of experts from different disciplines, the team is committed to research aerospace breeding, combination breeding of hybrid rice, new variety test and demonstration, and high-yield cultivation of super hybrid rice. The research plans to breed about eight high-quality varieties within five years and promote them in Chongqing and surrounding suitable areas.
On May 22 this year, academician Yuan died at 91 in Changsha, Hunan Province. Yuan passed away more than three months ago, but many netizens expressed feelings in memory of him when seeing the news that “giant rice” was cultivated successfully.
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