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Keywords:

  • application fertilizer regime;
  • Chinese food security;
  • climate change;
  • grain quality;
  • high yield;
  • water resource;
  • wheat production technology

Abstract

Food security is becoming a crucial concern worldwide. In this study, we focus on wheat – a staple crop in China – as a model to review its history, status quo and future scenarios, with regard to key production technologies and management practices for wheat production and associated food security issues since the new era in China: the post-1949 era. First, the dominant technologies and management practices over the past 60 years are reviewed. Secondly, we outline several key innovative technologies and their theoretical bases over the last decade, including (i) prohibiting excessively early senescence at a later growth stage to maintain viable leaves with higher photosynthetic capacity, (ii) postponing top dressing nitrogen application to balance carbon and nitrogen nutrition, and (iii) achieving both high yield and better grain quality mainly by increasing soil productivity and balancing the ratio of nutrient elements. Finally, concerns such as water shortages and excessive application of chemical fertilizers are presented. Nevertheless, under high negative conditions, including global warming, rapid population growth, decreasing amounts of arable land, increasing competition with cash crops and severe environmental pollution, we conclude that domestic food production will be able to meet Chinese demand in the mid to long term, because increasingly innovative technologies and improved management practices have been and may continue to be applied appropriately. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry