China rice production decreased due to lower-than-expected harvested area

07 February 20232 min reading

Based on China’s National Bureau of Statistics data released in late December 2022, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates China’s marketing year 2022/23 rice production (milled basis) at 145.9 million metric tons (mmt), down 2 percent or approximately 3.0 mmt from last year.

Harvested area is estimated at 29.5 million hectares (mha), 2 percent below last year, and the 5-year average of 30.1 mha. Yield is estimated approximately at 7.08 metric tons per hectare (t/ha), down slightly from last year, but up 1 percent from the 5-year average of 7.03 t/ha.

Unseasonably high temperatures and dryness (especially during July and August) in large parts of the Yangtze Valley, including Sichuan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Anhui provinces, reduced harvested acreage of the single rice crop and the late double rice crop. Anomalously high temperatures and soil dryness since early July persisted across the southern Yangtze Valley, a core rice production area. During July and August, the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), a widely used index to characterize meteorological drought, indicated severe soil moisture deficits across Sichuan, Jiangxi, Anhui, and Hubei. According to the Chinese government, these provinces account for approximately 56 mmt or 39 percent of total China rice.

China has three rice plantings: single rice crop, which accounts for 66 percent of total rice production, is planted in April to June; early-double rice, which accounts for 16 percent, is planted in April to May; and late-double rice, which accounts for 18 percent, is planted in July to August. Concerns about the impact of high temperatures and drier-than-normal soil moisture conditions were mainly focused on the single and the late-double rice crops, which were at sensitive growth stages. Planting delays for late-double rice with less than a month left of optimum planting window reduced area. 

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