Maize’s Two Faces: Subsistence Back-up vs Feed-Fodder Core Cereal
How much “hybridity” (genetic self-recovery) has to do with it is beyond this writer’s competence to define, but in “the West” (here as Xinjiang) as in China as a whole, where from-below choice is possible, peasant/farmers-rural producers have cast their ballot in the direction of expanding the acreage of maize/corn at the cost/to the sacrifice of that allocated to wheat, and – more important – have done so with no sign of land overuse in per acre (mu) yields, which at least until the turn of the Last) century …. kept climbing in the face of ever expanding surface cultivation. What exact proportion of stimulae may be driving it aside, the thirteen years (crops) from 2000 to 2013 have occupied a surface area expanding inexorably from 380,000 ha to almost 860,000 ha …. Runaway specialization or exploitation of a newly arrived seed strain is perhaps a feature of many frontier agricultures, defined as those stretches where there is a temporary illusion of boundlessness. So perhaps this is to be expected. ….. but it is also a feature of socialist colonialization, with its emphasis on planning and balances (rather than cost and price), that laissez faire can turn very suddenly into stringent retrenchment, so it perhaps is not surprising that current discussions focus on how to restabilize planting, which in turn means paying more attention to feed demand and marketability of the wool and mutton outputs that are leveraged to it.
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