Northwest China

Mitigating the effects of environmental damage

Northwest China accounts for 32% of the country’s territory. Despite this region’s size, only a small percentage of China’s population lives here, meaning most of the arable land is devoted to the production of crops sold in other parts of China and exported throughout the world.

Located far from the ocean and surrounded by high mountains, northwest China’s continental, dry climate with low precipitation means most of the cultivated land depends on irrigation and water conservancy techniques. Centuries of intensive farming, combined with little rainfall, have resulted in vegetation loss, deforestation, and soil erosion. These conditions typically result in boron deficient soil, which can be an obstacle for growers who want to maximize crop yields.

Xinjiang occupies the northwestern corner of the country. About half of the total crop area in Xinjiang produces winter and spring wheat and corn. The region’s cotton industry is also a major contributor to the local economy, accounting for nearly 75% of the national output.

Agriculture is a significant contributor to the economy of Gansu province with a wide variety of farmed crops. However, the majority Gansu’s output is grains, with the region producing around 8 million tons annually.

Shaanxi is also a major agricultural base and a leading producer of grain, vegetables, and cured tobacco. Most of the lower lying cultivated land is used for intensive rice and winter wheat production, while in the mountainous areas the main cereal crops is maize. Growers also produce subtropical crops such as tea and citrus fruits.

Featured Regional Crops

Soil sampling and potato petiole and leaf analysis are crucial to determining if your potatoes are receiving adequate boron.
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University research found yield increases ranging from 9-37 bushels of corn per acre where boron was added. Corn requires high levels of all nutrients to ensure maximum economic yields.
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Boron fertilization of soybeans has been shown to increase grain yield at many locations in several states. University researchers have found yield increases ranging from 5 to 18 bushels per acre.
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Improve Soil Conditions with Boron Supplementation

While rice and wheat are fairly tolerant of boron deficient soil, corn, millet, cotton and rice require higher amounts of boron to ensure more abundant yields. In fruit trees, which often have difficulty transporting enough boron to new flower buds, lack of boron can affect pollen production and other reproductive functions. An understanding of the effects of boron deficiency—including subpar crop quality and yield—followed by an application of high-quality boron fertilizer can accelerate the growth process and ensure healthier, more productive crops for growers in northwest China.

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U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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