Super-high yield

 
Published: Sunday 28 February 1999

Even though farmers all over the world fear that grain yields are plateauing, Yuan Longping, the director of the National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Centre in Hunan Province, China says that a big jump in rice productivity is round the corner. Yuan claims he is on the verge of creating a superhigh-yield hybrid that promises jumps of 15 per cent to 20 per cent in potential rice yields over all existing hybrids. Yuan cautions that the results are based on tiny test plots and must be confirmed in larger trials over the next two years. Scientists who have heard Yaun results think he is on something big. "When I hear Yaun's enthusiasm and about his track record, I take a note of what he is saying," says Neil Rutger, director of the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Centre in Arkansas, USA.

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