china rice growing experiment

Michael Perelman michael at
Tue Aug 22 09:23:51 MDT 2000

Long ago, I knew a young student whose father was a retired Air Force
General and an undersecretary at the Dept. of Ag.  Based on what I told
him, he began to argue with his father, who later got the department of
agriculture to appoint a committee to study the problem of monoculture.
Those scientists who lived through the depression mostly agreed with me.
The young ones did not.  The final report was not very encouraging, so I
wrote the minority report.

The US has been coercing countries around the world to adopt monoculture
-- moreso now with the genetically modified seeds.

Les Schaffer wrote:

> from:
> I have the Nature article if anyone wants the details.
> les schaffer
> =====================
> Simple Method Found to Vastly Increase Crop Yields
> In a stunning new result from what has become one of the largest
> agricultural experiments ever, thousands of rice farmers in China have
> doubled the yields of their most valuable crop and nearly eliminated
> its most devastating disease -- without using chemical treatments or
> spending a single extra penny.
> Under the direction of an international team of scientists, farmers in
> China's Yunnan Province implemented a simple change in their rice
> paddies.  Instead of planting the large stands of a single type of
> rice, as they typically have done, the farmers planted a mixture of
> two different rices. With this one change, growers were able to
> radically restrict the incidence of rice blast -- the most important
> disease of this most important staple in the world. Within just two
> years, farmers were able to abandon the chemical fungicides previously
> widely used to fight the disease.
> "I wasn't surprised that the system worked but I was surprised that it
> worked so well," said Dr.  Christopher Mundt, population biologist at
> Oregon State University and the one American-based author on the
> study, which was published in the current edition of the journal
> Nature.
> [snip]

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael at

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