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Farmers in Hualien urged not to plant rice too early

Farmers in Hualien urged not to plant rice too early

Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) Rice farmers in Hualien County were reminded Friday not to begin planting their first rice crop of the season earlier than normal to avoid losing their crops to unexpected cold snaps. According to the Hualien District Agricultural Station operated by the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA), farmers in Hualien have planted their first rice crop earlier than ever because of global warming, which has caused winter and spring temperatures to rise. Farmers have taken advantage of the warmer weather to plant rice before the traditional early February to early March window and get an early jump on the year's second planting season, which normally begins between July and August, researchers at the station said. The practice, however, can pose a risk that the rice seedlings will be killed by a sudden cold spell or grow hollow grains as the crop matures, they said. In 2009, they noted Hualien farmers reported that a high percentage of the rice they grew turned out to have hollow grains because of a cold mass between April and May. The paddies affected were planted sometime between mid-January and mid-February. Early planting has significantly hurt rice output in Hualien in recent years. According to a COA study on rice production, the harvest of the year's first rice crop in 2009 in Hualien -- one of Taiwanese areas that produce high-quality rice -- fell by an average of 1,379 kilograms per hectare, or about 25 percent, from the previous year. (By Andrew Liu and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-06-19 23:08 GMT+08:00