China’s "father of hybrid rice" expects increasing yields [Xinhua]

XI’AN, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) — Yuan Longping, a scientist who helped develop some of the first strains of hybrid rice, said Monday that yields from the rice are expected to reach 1,000 kg per mu (0.0667 hectares) by 2020.

Yuan, 82, presented the latest progress regarding the development of "super-hybrid" rice at an international academic conference on hybrid grain held in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi province.

Experimental research on the new strain has entered a critical period, Yuan said.

"Scientifically speaking, hybrid rice has the potential (to reach the yield target)," he said.

Research on super-hybrid rice began in 1996 as part of the country’s efforts to ensure food security.

A team of researchers led by Yuan reached a target unit yield of 700 kg per mu and 800 kg per mu in 2000 and 2005, respectively, setting world records both times. Last September, his team further raised the yield to 926.6 kg per mu.

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