BEIJING, CHINA — China has gathered 55% of its winter wheat crop as of June 6, passing the halfway mark two days ahead of last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said.
The harvest has proceeded smoothly amid fears that COVID-19 work restrictions would hinder the effort and in the shadow of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked concerns about global wheat shortages and led to record prices.
China had finished reaping winter wheat on about 11.13 million hectares of farmland by June 6, said the ministry. China has been reaping the crop on more than 667,000 hectares daily for eight consecutive days after large-scale machine harvesting began on May 28.
The agriculture ministry said wheat harvests in Sichuan and Hubei provinces are almost done, while in northern provinces — including Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi and Hebei — activity is nearing its peak. Traditionally, the summer harvest spans from May to late June, with grain output in the period taking up about a quarter of the annual total.
China, the world’s No. 1 wheat producer, has made grain self-sufficiency a top priority as part of its most recent five-year plan. China allocated 5 billion yuan ($787.75 million) in total from its central finance system to stabilize winter wheat output this crop year after the government expressed fears heavy rainfall had significantly reduced planted acreage.
The Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture noted in its April report that late planting due to flooding had been limited to one key wheat production region, and China was projected to harvest 133 million tonnes in marketing year 2022-23, down only slightly from 136.95 million tonnes in 2021-22. The country is expected to import an additional 9 million tonnes in 2022-23.