NANCHANG, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Rather than relying on experience alone to fertilize crops, farmers in Jiangxi, a major agricultural province in eastern China, are creating their fertilizer formulas on a mobile app for this year's plowing season.
"Once I type in the location of my fields, I can access soil testing reports that allow me to find out the perfect fertilizer mix for the grain and vegetables I grow," said Xia Qigai who owns 6.7 hectares of farmland in Wannian County of Jiangxi.
The detailed and tailored testing reports available to Xia and thousands of farmers are based on a provincial-level database that includes 300 new soil samples annually in Wannian County alone.
A total of 4.3 million hectares of farmland, about 88 percent of the total in Jiangxi, have introduced individualized fertilizer formulas based on soil tests and the database as China is expected to see negative growth of the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for major crops by 2020.
The mobile app Xia began to use this year is expected to further encourage the idea among villagers.
Overloading farmland with nutrients negatively impacts grain output and the quality of agricultural products and raises costs for farmers, said Zhang Kaifeng with the county's bureau of agriculture and rural affairs that has updated the local database for years.
"The mobile app helps me calculate the necessary nutrient content of my fertilizer," said Xia, who saves over 10 kilos of fertilizer per mu and has seen an additional 30 kilos of grain output after referring to the soil tests.
During this year's plowing season, factory production lines are also introduced in Jiangxi by major grain producers and agricultural enterprises to grow seedlings.
Human workers are replaced by high-speed seeding lines, smart seed starting trays and a greenhouse control management system.
"Seedlings used to be raised artificially and took 25 days to grow because of low temperatures," said Wan Xincai, an agricultural technician in the city of Fuzhou, Jiangxi. "Now, the seedlings can be transplanted to the fields after about 20 days due to favorable temperatures."
Wan added that the higher quality and lower loss rate also contribute to grain yield which surges by up to six times.
Up to dade, Jiangxi has set up 123 seedling-raising bases each with a factory covering over 67 hectares.
Along with the help of machines and the latest technologies, agricultural experts and professionals are also invited to give online courses and answer inquiries for farmers in Jiangxi.
"During this time of the year, most diseases and insect pests still lie dormant, so it's time to carry out pest control," said Jiang Junxi, a professor with the Jiangxi Agricultural University who delivers livestream lectures that have attracted 320,000 viewers.
Benefiting from convenient online professional training and high-tech farming, Ling Jihe, chairman of the Lvneng Agricultural Development Limited Liability Company, a leading agricultural enterprise in Jiangxi, said that China's agricultural production is becoming greener, more effective and sustainable.