Corn crop tours conducted by the U.S. Grains Council’s China staff have found better-than-average growing conditions in the northern plain region, which includes Shandong, Hebei, and Henan provinces.

Shandong is the second-largest corn-producing state in China, normally supplying about 12.6 percent of the nation’s output.
Sam Niu Yishan, USGC assistant director, reports some increase in corn acres planted in response to the high corn prices earlier this summer.

The tours also found a major increase in vegetable production and more evidence of greenhouses being built to take advantage of better paying crops.

Drought conditions delayed corn planting in some areas, and the region south of Zhengzhou in Henan province had no good rains following planting. Recently, sustained heavy rains have had some effect on crop growth.

A new concern, especially in Shandong province, is an outbreak of cutworm moths (noctuids), brought on, according to some accounts, by leaving straw on the fields after the wheat harvest. 

The outbreak has affected 1.25 million hectares (3.1 million acres) of corn and potentially reduced Shandong’s corn yields by 5 percent this year.