Forecast on 2014 China’s Grain, Cotton, Oil-bearing Crops Production
I. Review on China’s Grain, Cotton and Oil-bearing crops for 2013
The agriculture sector of China has experienced several bad weather events in 2013, such as the low temperature and water logging in northeastern region particularly Heilongjiang province in spring, serious draught in south China and water logging in north China in summer as well as the frequent typhoon in fall. Even so, China’s grain output increased by 2.1% over 2012, reaching 601.9 million tons and increasing for the 10th straight year in a row since 2004. As compared to 2012, the cotton sown area in 2013 is expected decreased by around 4.5%, the cotton output may go down to 6.3 million tons, decreasing by about 8% over 2012; the yield of oil-bearing crops is expected to reach 35.2 million tons, increasing by around 2.3%.
Output of summer grain was 131.89 million tons in 2013, increasing by 1.96 million tons or 1.5% over 2012. Output in early-season rice increased by 0.78 million tons, up 2.4% from 2012, reaching 34.07 million tons. Output of autumn grain increased by 2.3%, reaching 435.97 million tons.
Cotton farmers’ net income increased because of the large increase in yield per unit area of cotton prices in 2012. China's cotton sown area declined by a slower rate in 2013 as compared to 2012 and it was estimated to drop by 4.5% over 2012. The yield per unit area of cotton may drop due to the bad weather in different growing periods, which may result in a diminished cotton output in 2013, down to 6.3 million tons or about 8% less than in 2012.
The rapeseed sown area rose in 2013, driven by the increase in both its price and net income as well as favorable policies during the sown period of autumn to winter in 2012. The total rapeseed output is expected to increase too, of which the output of winter rapeseed reached to 13.48 million tons, increasing by 0.45 million tons or 3.4% over 2012. Concerning peanut, its sown area and output are predicted to be 4.71 million hectares and 17 million tons, increasing by about 1.5% and 1.9% over 2012, respectively. The overall output of oil-bearing crops is predicted to 35.16 million tons, increasing by 2.3% over 2012.
II. Forecast on China’s Grain, Cotton and Oil-bearing Crops Output in 2014
The Chinese government will continue to foster agriculture support and allowance policies, and strengthen agricultural science and technology promotion, especially the substantial implementation of comprehensive agricultural production increase programs. China's agricultural production has a very favorable start in 2014.
China’s grain sown area is expected to continue its upward trend in 2014. Preliminary forecast of national sown area of the year 2014 is 112.6 million hectares, which is 650 thousand hectares more than that in 2013. National grain output is expected to increase by 9 million tons over 2012 in the scenario of neutral or less optimistic weather without natural disasters. It is very likely for China to achieve its eleventh consecutive year of grain output increase. However, if severe weather, in particular extensive and long-lasting drought occurs in late summer and/or autumn of 2014, the grain output will decrease by around 5 million tons.
The cotton sown area is predicted to continually decline in 2014, and the output will decrease further.
The oil-bearing crops will slightly increase in terms of the sown area in 2014, the yield will increase with moderate weather during the growing season.
The main reasons are summarized as follows.
1) The sown area and grain output is predicted to increase slightly for the following reasons. First, the autumn-sown area increased in 2013. Although there was some drought in main production area, the weather condition was favorable on the whole during the sowing period. Second, the government policies facilitate the grain production. Third, we expect that the science and technology will continue to promote the grain production in particular to increase the yield per unit area. Furthermore, the promotion of large scale farming and agricultural planting restructuring also help to enhance the level of grain yield per unit area. However, the overall market of grain is sluggish in year 2013/2014 which may more or less impact farmers' passion for grain production. In addition, in late summer and autumn in 2014, the possibility of extreme weather may jeopardize the autumn grain output.
2) The following reasons will cause the drop of cotton area and cotton output. The first reason is that cotton price was relatively low in most time of 2013. Besides, the production cost of cotton, labor cost in particular, went up quickly, therefore earnings from cotton kept on dropping in 2013. The second reason is that there is no enough demand for cotton from the downstream goods (e.g., textile products) in domestic market. Due to the lower cotton price in international market, increasing demand for imported cotton may also have negative effect on domestic cotton market. The third reason is that the much higher labor inputs than other crops will continue to lower the farmers’ passion for cotton production.
3) The sown area of the oil-bearing crops will increase slightly in 2014. First, facilitated by national and regional agricultural policies for oil-bearing crops, the winter rapeseed sown area has been increased in 2013. Second, farmers are motivated in oil-bearing planting by the increasing income by the rise of both rapeseed price and yield per unit area in 2013.
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