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'Granary of China' braces for more wheat-damaging rain

'Granary of China' braces for more wheat-damaging rain
A farmer operates a tractor with a seeder on a wheat field in Nanyang, Henan province, China on Oct 13, 2021.
PHOTO: Reuters

BEIJING - China's largest wheat-growing province of Henan is expected to be hit by more rain in the coming days, state weather forecasters said on Thursday (June 1), complicating efforts to harvest grain damaged by abnormally heavy precipitation in late May.

Known as the "granary of China", the south of Henan had been struck by higher-than-normal rainfall in the last week of May days ahead of the harvest of wheat planted in the last winter. The rains have caused some of the grain to sprout or become affected by blight.

Medium to heavy precipitation can be expected in the south of Henan on Saturday, national weather forecasters reported on Thursday.

China's winter wheat accounts for the majority of the country's annual wheat output. The world's top grower of the grain was expecting a bumper crop this year.

The agricultural ministry earlier this week urged local authorities to dispatch emergency teams to drain water from fields, speed up access by harvesters and mobilise drying machinery to save as much of the crop as possible.

China, including important grain-growing provinces like Henan, is no stranger to floods and droughts. But abnormal weather patterns such as excessively heavy rain still risk devastating key crops and squeezing supplies.

The recent wet weather was the worst to occur during the wheat ripening period in 10 years, the Henan provincial agricultural department told state media, affecting all 17 cities in the province, especially the southern cities of Zhumadian and Nanyang.

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