Across China: Skill seeding bears fruits for students, farmers
SHIJIAZHUANG, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Instead of returning home or traveling around during his summer vacation, postgraduate student Ye Songlin toils in the field every day in north China's Hebei Province, 400 km from his university in Beijing.
He carries a ruler among other tools to the experimental field to measure and record the growth of corn in the morning and analyzes the data in the lab in the afternoon. This helps him monitor the effects of varying amounts of water and fertilizer on different corn breeds.
"Sometimes, I'm too busy to have a sip of water," said Ye, 23.
Ye is among 21 postgraduates from the China Agricultural University (CAU) currently working at the eight rural stations set up in Quzhou County.
The rural stations, also known as "tiny yards of science and technology," allow students like Ye to perform field research on farmers' plots, while farmers gain direct access to advanced agricultural techniques.
From spring to the fall, students stay at the stations, monitoring the crops, training farmers and performing field research. In winter, they return to the campus for courses and to meet instructors and one another.
It is the second summer vacation Ye has spent in Wangzhuang Village of Quzhou. Born into a farmers' family in central China's Henan Province, Ye is not new to rural life.
The student from the school of resource and environment has learned to operate farm machinery and even knows how to troubleshoot in case the equipment needs a quick fix.
"Local farmers often come along to consult on technical questions about farming. I'm happy to offer some help," Ye said, adding that he will refer to documents or ask his instructors to answer some of their questions, which he believes is helpful for his study.
Zhang Hongyan, an associate professor at the CAU, said the students, in combination with their own research projects, will study smart machines, special cultivation and high crop yields in the summer vacation. They will also help spread related skills to local farmers.
According to Zhang, the first rural station in Quzhou was set up in 2009. The site was chosen as CAU instructors and students, at the central government's urging, headed there to help with the reclamation of saline and alkaline land in 1973, which ended the history of low yields in local barren farmland for 2,000 years.
In Qianya Village of the county, fertigation as well as interplanting grapes with other crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, have been promoted. Fertigation is the application of fertilizer with irrigation water. The skills have been applied to crops planted over more than 130 hectares.
"Farming in a more scientific way does pay off," said Guo Liancheng, a local villager. "Under the guidance of the students, I have a harvest year again in my grape field."
Long Shuyun, Party chief of the village, said with improved farming techniques, grapes of better quality and higher yields, together with the interplanted crops, bring local farmers an additional income of 15,000 yuan (about 2,150 U.S. dollars) to 45,000 yuan per hectare.
With the higher income reaped in, farmers have gradually developed trust in the young students. A WeChat group has been set up so that farmers can ask them questions any time, said Long.
"Only better crop yields can prove the effectiveness of my study and technical guidance," said Li Huili, a student stationed in the village. Enditem