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Rice Science, 2006, 13(1): 18

http://www.ricescience.org

Review and Prospects on Rice Breeding and Extension in China


YANG Shi-hua, C HENG Ben-yi, WU Jian-li, SHEN Wei-feng, C HENG Shi-hua
(China National Rice Research Institute, Hangzhou 310006, China)

Abstract: A large number of new varieties, especially hybrid rice, have been developed and released in China since 1998. The yield
potential and grain quality of hybrid rice have also been improved significantly both for three-line and two-line hybrid rice including
indica and japonica types as well. The trends on extension of rice varieties in China since 1986 has been marked by the increasing
number of new varieties, decreasing annual planting area per variety, decreasing number of varieties with a large-scale extension
area, while both the renewal rate and the proportion of core varieties with cross-provincial extension have remained unchanged. This
current major problems and future goals of rice breeding and extension in China were also discussed.
Key words: national rice variety regional trial; southern China; breeding; variety extension; rice

Rice is the most important food crop in China. In


2004, the planting area was about 2.8973107 ha
accounting for 28.5% of the total planting area of food
crops, and the yield reached 1.7769107 t accounting
for 37.8% of the total food output. Breeding and
extension of new varieties has played a fundamental
role in Chinese rice production history during the
period. Since 1950s, the breeding and extension has
gone through three major stages: local elite varieties,
dwarf varieties, and hybrid rice. In the mid 1970s,
average yield of rice reached 3.5 t/ha mainly due to
the nationwide extension of dwarf varieties covering a
planting area of over 3.5107 ha per year. Although
the planting area has been decreasing with agricultural
structure adjustment since 1980s, the rapid
development of hybrid rice together with conventional
rice has been contributed to the increase of yield
averaging from 4.5 to more than 6 t/ha, while both
grain quality and production efficiency have also
improved significantly. This paper analyzes and
demonstrates the progress and trends on rice breeding
and extension in China based on the data of national
rice variety regional trials in Southern China since
1998 [1] and major extension varieties with planting
area larger than 6.7103 ha since 1986 [1-3].
Received: 12 August 2005; Accepted: 27 October 2005
Corresponding author: CHENG Shi-hua (shcheng@mail.hz.zj.cn)

PROGRESS OF RICE BREEDING IN


CHINA
For selection of elite rice varieties, the evaluation
system of new rice varieties has been established and
developed gradually since 1960s. First, new breeding
lines should be observed in comparison trials in
breeding stations for 1-2 years by breeders before
entering a higher level trial. Second, the promising
lines are chosen and recommended to join the
provincial or national rice variety regional trial, which
is conducted by government crop variety
administration department. Last, new varieties
submitted to provincial or national crop variety
registration committee for registration after
accomplishing 2-3 years regional trials.
Regional trials have been carried out based on
subspecies (indica and japonica) and growth duration
at 10-20 test sites in their corresponding rice
ecosystems. At each test site, the trial is carried out by
using a randomized complete block design with three
replications with each plot size of 13.3 m2. Traits such
as yield, adaptability, stability, resistance to main
diseases and pests, and grain quality are evaluated for
each line.
Southern China is the main region for rice
production. It accounts for about 90% both of planting

Rice Science, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2006

area and total rice grain yield, respectively. The


national rice variety regional trial in Southern China
(SCRVT) has been conducted annually since 1970s.
Most varieties tested so far showed good
performances in provincial regional trials. Therefore,
the results of SCRVT presumably reflect the progress
of rice breeding in China.
A large number of new varieties selected
Based on a long-term complete record, there
were totally 723 varieties recommended for SCRVT
from 1998 to 2005 (Table 1). Among them, 277
(38.3%) were mid-season indica varieties, the largest
group among all varieties tested; 181 (25.0%)
belonged to late-season indica varieties, the second
largest group. The number of SCRVT varieties
increased gradually, but mainly came from indica rice
while the number of japonica rice has been maintained
almost in the same level.
It should be noticed that due to capacity of
SCRVT, the number of varieties allowed to join
SCRVT is limited, for example, 497 varieties were
actually recommended for SCRVT, but only 221
Table 1. Numbers of SCRVT varieties from 1998 to 2005.
Type

1998-2005

1998

Early indica

87

16

22

Mid indica

277

21

110

Late indica

182

19

45

Late japonica

50

10

11

Huanan early indica

83

22

Huanan late indica


Total

2005

44

11

723

82

221

Huanan indicates the southernmost part of China, including


Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan Provinces.

varieties were finally accepted for the trial in 2005.


Rapid development of hybrid rice
There were 625 hybrid combinations, accounting
for 86.4% of the 723 SCRVT varieties tested from
1998 to 2005. Among them, 270 were mid-season
indica hybrids and 171 were late-season indica
hybrids (Table 2). There was a 268.4% increase in
terms of number of varieties tested in 2005 than that
in 1998, mainly resulting from the increase of
mid-indica hybrids (478.9%). The proportion of
hybrid combinations in the SCRVT varieties reached
95% on average while the proportions for mid-season
indica, late-season indica and Huanan late-season
indica rice reached 100% in 2005. It can be seen from
Table 2 that the increase of the new rice varieties was
largely from hybrid rice including both indica and
japonica types.
Steady increase of rice yield per unit
About 212 (37.9%) out of 560 SCRVT varieties
during 1998-2004 showed a significant increase in
yield against control varieties (CK). Recently, the
proportion of varieties with significant yield increase
has been raised rapidly. About 80% of new varieties,
which outyielded significantly the CK, were those
developed during 2001-2004. Among them, 104
belonged to mid-season indica hybrids and 42 were
late-season indica hybrids (Table 3). Clearly,
mid-season indica hybrids accounted for nearly 50%
of varieties with yield increase.
Based on the yield potential, new varieties can be
classified as following three categories: mid-season
indica rice (including single-season japonica rice),

Table 2. Proportion of hybrid combinations in the SCRVT varieties from 1998 to 2005.
No. of

No. of hybrid rice combinations

Proportion of hybrid rice combinations


in the SCRVT varieties%

Type
SCRVT varieties
1998-2005

1998

2005

1998-2005

1998

2005

Early indica

87

57

18

65.5

37.5

81.8

Mid indica

277

270

19

110

97.5

90.5

100.0

Late indica

182

171

18

45

94.0

94.4

100.0

Late japonica

50

24

48.0

20.0

72.7

Huanan early indica

83

62

18

74.7

77.8

81.8

Huanan late indica

44

41

11

93.2

71.4

100.0

Total

723

625

57

210

86.4

69.1

95.0

YANG Shi-hua, et al. Review and Prospects on Rice Breeding and Extension in China

Huanan early-season indica rice and early-season


indica (including late-season indica, Huanan lateseason indica). Mid-season indica and single-season
japonica varieties possessed the highest yield potential
among all types, the average yields for these two types
of varieties were 8.7 and 8.9 t/ha, respectively, the
highest yield reached 9.7 and 9.2 t/ha, respectively.
Huanan early-season indica had the second highest
yield with an average of 8.0 t/ha (the highest yield was
9.1 t/ha). Early-season indica (late-season indica and
Huanan late-season indica) had the lowest yield
potential with 7.2-7.4 t/ha on average (the highest
yield ranged from 7.5-8.0 t/ha) because of their short
growth duration. In general, the average yield increase
was 5% for all types, and the maximum yield increase
reached 12% except for early indica type.

Analysis of the 560 SCRVT varieties (Table 4)


indicated that the average amylose content for each
type of varieties reached Grade 1 of National Standard
for High Quality Paddy (NSHQP) [4], while 71.8% of
varieties reached Grades 1-3 of NSHQP. About 70%
of Huanan late-season indica and mid-season indica
and more than 82% of single late-season japonica and
late-season indica reached the same level. For head
rice rate, the average value reached Grade 1 for all
types of new varieties except early-season indica and
Huanan early-season indica rice. Totally, more than
64% of varieties belonged to good quality varieties. In
addition, 93.1% of single late-season japonica rice and
97.2% of Huanan late-season indica rice reached
Grade 1, respectively. The appearance quality of all
the varieties tested and grain quality of early-season
indica and Huanan early-season indica were improved
noticeably in contrast with those selected during
1986-1995 though they could be improved further [5].
In general, 106 out of 560 SCRVT varieties could be
classified as good grain quality rice. Although the

Rapid improvement of grain quality


Head rice rate, chalkiness and amylose content
are the most important indexes for processing quality,
appearance quality and cooking quality, respectively.
Table 3. Yield performance of SCRVT varieties from 1998 to 2004.

Varieties increasing significantly in yield


Type

Total no. of
varieties

No. of varieties
19982004

19982000

Yield (t/ha)

2001Average
2004

Increase rate (%)

CK

Highest Average Highest

Early indica

71

18

16

7.3

7.9

5.2

8.4

Mid indica

210

104

18

86

8.7

9.7

5.4

12.7 Shanyou 63

Late indica

Zhe 733, Jinyou 402

142

42

12

30

7.4

8.0

6.0

12.7 Shanyou 64, Jinyou 207, Shanyou 46

Single late japonica

29

11

8.9

9.2

7.1

12.1 Xiushui 63

Huanan early indica

72

22

16

8.0

9.1

5.7

14.5 Shanyou 63, Yuexiangzhan, II you 128

Huanan late indica

36

15

12

7.3

7.7

8.4

13.6 Boyou 903, Boyou 998

560

212

43

169

Total

Table 4. Grain quality performance of SCRVT varieties from 1998 to 2004.


Head rice rate (%)

Chalkiness (%)

Amylose content (%)

Average

SQVR

Type

Superior grain quality


No. of
varieties

Average

SQVR

Average

Early indica

42.7

21.1

17.3

11.3

19.4

52.1

1.4

Mid indica

57.9

81.0

9.9

30.0

20.7

76.2

44

21.0

Late indica

53.9

64.8

9.3

37.3

20.2

85.9

30

21.1

Single late japonica

70.7

93.1

4.5

58.6

15.5

82.8

17

58.6

Huanan early indica

48.9

44.4

14.1

8.3

20.6

45.8

0.0

Huanan late indica

62.5

97.2

5.7

55.6

20.8

69.4

14

38.9

66.3

29.6

71.8

106

18.9

Total

SQVR, Rate of superior quality variety.

SQVR

Rate (%)

Rice Science, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2006

ratio was relatively low, it should be noticed that 91


out of 106 good grain quality varieties appeared
during 2001-2004, indicating grain quality has been
rapidly improved.

while none of them belonged to Huanan early-season


indica. All except Wu 2105 were hybrid combinations,
indicating grain quality and high yielding have been
combined well in recent hybrid rice breeding practice.

Integration between grain quality and high


yielding

Development of two-line hybrid rice

Among 106 good grain quality varieties, 33


(31.1%) yielded significantly more than CK, and all
those varieties were developed from 2001 to 2004
(Table 5). Twenty-one (63.6%) of the 33 varieties
belonged to mid-season indica, 7(21.2%) to single
late-season japonica, 5(15.2%) to early-season indica,
late-season indica and Huanan late-season indica,

There were totally 51 two-line hybrid


combinations in the 560 SCRVT varieties from 1998
to 2004. Sixteen of them yielded significantly higher
than CK and most of them were developed during
2001 to 2004 (Table 6). Except Huanan late-season
indica rice, there were some two-line hybrids
outyielded significantly the CK in other types of the
rice varieties, especially the early-season indica hybrid

Table 5. SCRVT varieties with high yielding and good grain quality from 1998 to 2004.
Variety

Type

Head rice
(%)

Chalkiness
(%)

Amylose
content
(%)

Yield
(t/ha)

Yield increase
compared to
CK (%)

Liangyou 42

Early indica

59.0

2.0

22.3

7.1

4.2

Zhe 733

803A/527

Mid indica

53.1

4.1

22.5

9.1

8.3

Shanyou 63

2001-2002

Zhongyou 177

Mid indica

57.5

2.9

22.2

8.9

5.3

Shanyou 63

2001-2002

Jinyou 527

Mid indica

58.7

4.1

23.1

9.1

8.8

Shanyou 63

2002-2003

Yangliangyou 6

Mid indica

60.5

1.5

15.0

8.4

6.4

Shanyou 63

2002-2003

Hongyou 527

Mid indica

55.6

4.4

22.8

8.9

6.1

Shanyou 63

2002-2003

Yixiangyou 3003

Mid indica

62.6

3.9

15.7

8.9

6.0

Shanyou 63

2002-2003

Zhongyou 7

Mid indica

58.2

3.1

22.0

8.8

4.9

Shanyou 63

2002-2003

Neixiangyou 3

Mid indica

54.9

4.9

15.8

8.7

3.7

Shanyou 63

2002-2003

Zhunliangyou 527

Mid indica

52.7

4.4

21.0

8.5

7.1

Shanyou 63

2003-2004

Zhongyou 85

Mid indica

56.9

4.5

21.6

8.8

6.7

Shanyou 63

2003-2004

Qingyou 9

Mid indica

66.6

2.7

17.2

9.1

5.6

Shanyou 63

2004

Neixiang 8518

Mid indica

64.1

3.2

16.3

9.1

5.4

Shanyou 63

2004

Nei 2 you 6

Mid indica

63.2

4.1

15.5

8.9

4.9

Shanyou 63

2004

D62A/Shuhui 158

Mid indica

62.2

4.4

23.9

9.0

4.5

Shanyou 63

2004

GY802

Mid indica

59.7

3.8

22.3

9.0

4.4

Shanyou 63

2004

Yueyou 948

Mid indica

62.0

4.7

23.9

8.7

4.3

Shanyou 63

2004

Xinongyou 1

Mid indica

61.6

4.6

21.9

8.9

4.2

Shanyou 63

2004

Yixiang 1A/Shuhui 527

Mid indica

60.2

2.9

15.9

9.0

4.2

Shanyou 63

2004

Huayou 2

Mid indica

59.5

4.1

23.7

9.0

3.8

Shanyou 63

2004

Qingyou 6

Mid indica

64.7

2.5

15.8

8.9

3.4

Shanyou 63

2004

Zhong 9A/30

Mid indica

64.0

3.5

22.6

8.9

3.4

Shanyou 63

2004

Guofeng 1

Late indica

54.5

4.7

20.5

8.0

6.9

Shanyou 64

2001

Fengyuan A/9

Late indica

62.7

4.0

21.6

7.5

7.5

Shanyou 64

2001-2002

Yongyou 4

Single late japonica

69.2

3.2

15.4

9.2

12.1

Xiushui 63

2002-2003

Changyou 00-8

Single late japonica

71.7

3.6

16.3

8.8

7.1

Xiushui 63

2002-2003

Liangyou 8828

Single late japonica

68.0

4.5

15.6

8.3

4.3

Xiushui 63

2003

Changyou 02-6

Single late japonica

75.5

0.7

16.0

9.2

11.4

Xiushui 63

2004

Xiuyou 5

Single late japonica

74.0

0.6

17.6

8.9

7.0

Xiushui 63

2004

Jinjingyou 28

Single late japonica

72.9

3.7

15.3

8.7

5.2

Xiushui 63

2004

Wu 2105

Single late japonica

73.7

1.0

16.4

8.7

4.5

Xiushui 63

2004

Boyou 998

Huanan late indica

65.3

3.8

20.2

7.0

9.4

Boyou 903

2001-2002

Qiuyou 998

Huanan late indica

58.3

2.7

22.6

7.0

4.7

Boyou 903

2002-2003

CK

Trial year
2004

YANG Shi-hua, et al. Review and Prospects on Rice Breeding and Extension in China

Table 6. Two-line hybrid combinations with significant yield increase in 1998-2004 SCRVT.
Yield
Bacterial
Blast
Head rice
increase
blight
(Grade)
(%)
(%)
(Grade)

Chalkiness
(%)

Amylose
content
(%)

35.3

30.7

24.8

Zhe 733

2000-2001

34.6

20.5

19.8

Zhe 733

2001-2002

5.0

53.4

10.0

22.3

Zhe 733

2003-2004

1.8

6.0

51.2

10.9

22.2

Zhe 733

2003-2004

5.0

7.0

59.0

2.0

22.3

Zhe 733

2004

7.2

3.4

7.0

27.6

26.2

27.0

Jinyou 402

2004

7.7

5.5

2.9

7.0

35.6

28.6

26.3

Jinyou 402

2004

Mid indica

9.0

3.3

6.7

5.0

53.5

13.9

22.5

Shanyou 63

2000-2001

Yangliangyou 6

Mid indica

8.4

6.4

5.7

4.0

60.5

1.5

15.0

Shanyou 63

2002-2003

Zhuliangyou 527

Mid indica

8.5

7.1

4.0

6.0

52.7

4.4

21.0

Shanyou 63

2003-2004

P88S/0293

Mid indica

8.9

4.9

6.0

5.0

66.1

6.3

14.4

Shanyou 63

2004

Anxiang S/R318

Late indica

7.4

6.3

3.8

4.0

56.3

6.6

20.0

Shanyou 64

2001-2002

Yanliangyou 921

Late indica

7.9

9.8

3.0

7.0

65.8

9.0

25.9

Shanyou 64

2003-2004

Liangyou 8828

Single late japonica

8.3

4.3

5.0

3.0

68.0

4.5

15.6

Xiushui 63

2003

Liangyou 2186

Huanan early indica

7.5

3.6

9.0

9.0

28.0

12.0

12.4

Shanyou 63

1999-2000

Zhunliangyou 527

Huanan early indica

9.1

14.5

3.5

9.0

35.2

8.3

20.9

Yuexiangzhan

Type

Yield
(t/ha)

810S/Huai 96-1

Early indica

7.6

6.8

6.9

5.0

Zhuliangyou 02

Early indica

7.2

4.1

0.9

4.0

625S/505

Early indica

7.1

4.0

2.0

Zhuliangyou 120

Early indica

7.1

3.5

Liangyou 42

Early indica

7.1

4.2

Luliangyou 996

Early indica

7.8

Zhunliangyou 402

Early indica

Liangyou 932

Combination

as the top four combinations with significant yield


increase belonged to two-line hybrid rice. Some of the
high-yielded two-line hybrid combinations possessed
good grain quality and disease resistance, for
examples, Liangyou 42, Zhunliangyou 527, Yangliangyou 6, and Liangyou 8828 reached Grades 2-3 of
NSHQP while Zhuliangyou 02, Zhuliangyou 120,
625S/505, Zhunliangliu 402, and Yanliangyou 921
were resistant or moderately resistant to rice blast;
Liangyou 8828 showed medium resistance to bacterial
blight.
Breeding of japonica hybrid rice
In SCRVT, the late-season japonica varieties with
significant yield increase at the level of 5% came from
conventional varieties during 1998 to 2000, but all
came from hybrid combinations during 2001 to 2004
(Table 7). Based on the assumption that the yield of
Xiushui 63 was higher than that of Xiushui 11 for an
average of 6.2%, the yield potential of hybrid
combinations could be much higher than that of
conventional varieties. However, due to their long
growth duration, most of japonica hybrids can only be
planted as single cropping. In addition, the japonica
hybrid combinations were generally better than high
yield conventional varieties in grain quality, breaking
the barrier of low yield and poor grain quality of
traditional japonica hybrids [6]. Yongyou 4, Changyou
00-8, Changyou 02-6, and Jinjingyou 28, for examples,

CK

Trial Years

2004

reached grades 1-3 of NSHQP, and Changyou 99-1


approached grade 3 of NSHQP.

CURRENT STATUS OF RICE


EXTENSION IN CHINA
In China, new rice varieties must be registered by
provincial or national crop variety registration
committee before their release and extension which is
generally carried out by seed companies. The varietal
characters and extension strategies are the main
factors affecting the extension of new varieties.
Increasing number of varieties extended
Table 8 shows that there was an increasing
tendency for the number of major extended varieties
since 1986. The average number of major extended
varieties per year ranged from 295.8 to 485 from the
periods between 1986-1990 and 2001-2003. The main
factor contributing to the increase of number of
varieties was hybrid rice as can be seen in Table 8.
The number of hybrid rice increased remarkably from
42.2 to 233.3 in 18 years while the number of
conventional rice remained almost unchanged. In
Southern China, the number of major extended hybrid
combinations began to exceed the conventional rice in
1990. The average number of major extended varieties
per year was 230.0 for hybrid rice and 180.3 for
conventional rice during the period of 2001-2003.

Rice Science, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2006

Table 7. Japonica varieties with 5% yield increase in 1998-2004 SCRVT.


Year
1998-2000

2001-2004

Yield
(t/ha)

Yield increase
(%)

Head rice
(%)

Chalkiness
(%)

Amylose
content
(%)

Bing 95-13

7.5

9.7

64.6

6.0

15.5

Zhenongda 454

7.4

8.3

60.4

44.0

4.5

94-101

7.1

8.2

58.3

14.0

16.6

9522

7.3

7.1

63.5

12.2

17.1

Xiushui 63

7.0

6.2

60.8

13.3

17.8

88-39-4

7.2

5.9

60.6

15.3

18.1

Yongyou 4

9.2

12.1

69.2

3.2

15.4

Changyou 99-1

8.9

5.8

70.9

5.9

16.0

Ning 67A/K1722

8.7

5.2

61.4

10.3

16.4

Changyou 00-8

8.8

7.1

71.7

3.6

16.3

Changyou 02-6

9.2

11.4

75.5

0.7

16.0

Lingxiangyou 18

9.2

11.2

71.9

5.5

15.6

Xiuyou 5

8.9

7.0

74.0

0.6

17.6

Jinjingyou 28

8.7

5.2

72.9

3.7

15.3

Variety/
Combination

Table 8. Average number of varieties with annual planting area


over 6.7103 ha.
Type
Conventional

1986-1990 1991-1995
253.4

1996-2000 2001-2003

228.0

259.4

251.7

Hybrid

42.4

87.6

177.6

233.3

Total

295.8

315.6

437.0

485.0

Table 9. Average annually planting area (1104 ha) for major


individual variety.
Type

1986-1990 1991-1995

1996-2000 2001-2003

Conventional

4.80

3.64

3.49

3.02

Hybrid

24.63

15.60

8.17

5.99

Total

7.64

6.96

5.39

4.45

Decreasing planting area per variety


The average planting area per variety per year
has been noticeably decreased with the increasing
number of varieties extended (Table 9). The average
annually planting area of varieties with individual area
over 6.7103 ha decreased from 76.4103 ha during
1986-1990 to 44.5103 ha during 2001-2003. Both
hybrid and conventional rice were affected:
conventional rice decreased from 4.80104 ha to 3.02
104 ha, and the hybrids lowered from 24.63104 ha
to 5.99104 ha.
Although average planting area of hybrid rice

Remark
Double cropping season
CK, Xiushui 11

Single cropping season


CK, Xiushui 63

decreased rapidly, the average total planting area and


proportion of major hybrids has been raised
significantly, i.e. from 1.0442107 ha (46.2%) during
1986-1990 to 1.3977 107 ha (64.8%) during
2001-2003, and 1.3964107 ha (73.2%) in Southern
China during the same period.
Decreasing number of varieties with large planting
areas
Table 10 shows the decreasing number of
varieties with large planting-area from 1986 to 2003.
The number of varieties reduced gradually in each
period from 6.4 during 1986-1990 to 1.7 during
2001-2003. The average planting area (proportion of
large-scale extended varieties) decreased from 9.286
106 ha (41.4%) during 1986-1990, 7.530106 ha
(34.3%) during 1991-1995, 3.989106 ha (16.9%)
during 1996-2000 to 1.233106 ha (5.7%) during
2001 to 2003.
Most large-scale extended varieties were hybrid
rice combinations. Totally, there were 14
combinations with a planting area larger than 6.667
105 ha (Shanyou 2, Shanyou 6, Weiyou 6, Shanyou 64,
Weiyou 64, Boyou 64, Shanyougui 33, Shanyou 63, D
you 63, Gangyou 22, Shanyouduoxi 1, Shanyou 46,
you 838 and Liangyoupeijiu) from 1986 to 2003.
Only 4 conventional varieties reached the same level
of extension in terms of area (Guichao 2, Shuanggui 1,
Zhefu 802 and Kongyu 131) in the same period.

YANG Shi-hua, et al. Review and Prospects on Rice Breeding and Extension in China

Table 10. Annual average number and total planting area of varieties (> 6.667105 ha)
1986-1990
Area
Number
(1104 ha)

Type

1991-1995
Area
Number
(1104 ha)

1996-2000
Area
Number
(1104 ha)

2001-2003
Area
Number
(1104 ha)

Conventional

1.4

150.8

0.2

17.0

0.0

0.0

0.7

Hybrid

5.0

777.8

3.4

736.0

2.6

398.9

1.0

77.2

Total

6.4

928.6

3.6

753.0

2.6

398.9

1.7

123.3

Table 11. Proportion (%) of the core varieties with crossprovincial extension (each > 6.67104 ha annually).
Type

1986-1990 1991-1995

1996-2000 2001-2003

Conventional

56.5

39.7

38.5

39.5

Hybrid

70.4

80.9

73.8

70.0

Total

59.8

55.2

56.8

58.4

Table 12. Average annual renewal rate for core varieties.


Item
No. of varieties

19861990

19911995

19962000

20012003

112

125

162

113

No. of varieties remained

45

49

68

No. of varieties renewed

80

113

45

Average annual renewal (%)

12.8

13.9

13.3

Core varieties with cross-provincial extension


unchanged
The proportion of the core varieties with crossprovincial extension has been stably maintained in the
range of 55-60% from 1986 to 2003, but the
proportion of hybrid rice was much higher than that of
conventional rice (Table 11).
In addition, hybrid rice usually exhibits wider
adaptability than conventional rice. During 1986-2003,
the average numbers of provinces with annual
planting area over 6.67104 ha were 3.2 for hybrid
and 1.7 for conventional rice, while the average
numbers of provinces with annual planting area over
6.667 105 ha were 9.7 for hybrid and 4.5 for
conventional rice. Guichao 2 and Zhefu 802, the two
conventional varieties with large-scale extension,
covered 8 and 7 provinces, respectively. However,
each of 6 hybrid combinations (Shanyou 63, Gangyou
22, II you 838, Shanyou 64, Shanyou 6 and Weiyou
64), covered 10 provinces. Shanyou 63 covered
almost the whole Southern China for 16 years from
1986 to 2001 with annual area over 7.6105 ha on
average (the highest of 6.813106 ha in 1990), and
60.6106 ha all together.

46.1

Stable renewal rate of core varieties


The average annual renewal rate of core varieties
remains stable in a rate around 13% (Table 12).
The life-span of the new varieties differed
significantly from 1 year to 20 years. Life duration is
proportional to areas planted. Planting area peak of 12
varieties (Shanyou 64, Weiyou 64, Boyou 64,
Shanyougui 33, Shanyou 63, D you 63, Gangyou 22,
Shanyouduoxi 1, Shanyou 46, II you 838, and Zhefu
802) with individual extension area annually over 6.67
104 ha appeared during 1986-2000. Some major
varieties with individual extension area annually over
6.67104 ha can last for 14.3 years (11-21 years ).

DISCUSSION
Breeding for disease resistance and stress tolerance
In Southern China, rice blast and bacterial blight
are the two major diseases and both low-temperature
and high-temperature are the two major abiotic
stresses. Progress on both research fields has been
slow. Among the 560 SCRVT varieties, only 74
(13.2%) varieties showed resistance or moderate
resistance to blast; 64 (11.4%) varieties possessed
resistance or moderate resistance to bacterial blight;
only 6 (1.1%) varieties showed resistance or moderate
resistance to both blast and bacterial blight. Many
varieties exhibited low tolerance to low/high
temperature. For example, 10 out of 23 mid-season
indica varieties in SCRVT in 2002 showed low
tolerance to low-temperature at the booting stage,
which resulted in low yield of 4.0 t/ha with 36.6%
seed setting rate, being 46.2% and 52.2% lower than
those of the normal varieties, respectively [7].
It is believed that breeding for disease resistance
and stress tolerance will be strengthened in Chinese
rice breeding programs.

Rice Science, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2006

High yield: primary goal of rice breeding in China


To further improve the yield potential after
breeding for dwarfism in 1960s and heterosis
exploration in 1970s, China launched the program of
China Super-Rice Breedingin 1996 that aimed to
increase yield by 15% by the end of 2000 with a yield
of 9.0-10.5 t/ha, and 12 t/ha by the end of 2005 [8]. Out
of the 239 mid-season indica and single late-season
japonica rice in SCRVT from 1998 to 2004, 47
varieties (such as Xieyou 7954, you 084, D you
527, youming 86, K you 818, Chuanjiangyou 3,
F3001, Yongyou 4, Changyou 02-6, Lingxiangyou 18),
showed 3.2-12.7% yield increase ranging from 9.0 to
9.7 t/ha. For early-season indica and late-season indica
rice, their yield potentials were far from the goals
although their yields improved dramatically by
11.5-14.5%, such as Zhunliangyou 527, Teyou 721,
you 128, Boyou 213, Boyou 9308, K you 817,
Xieyou 963 and Fengyuan 299. Some super-high yield
varieties have been extended at large scale.
Liangyoupeijiu, for example, is one of the varieties
with the largest extension area in Southern China with
a total extension of 3.50106 ha from 2000 to 2004.
Although remarkable progress has been achieved
in high yield rice breeding in China, the constant
demand for the increase of food grains will be a
long-term strategic mission because of a huge and
increasing Chinese population. It is not realistic to
explore cultivated land while it is an effective way to
produce and extend high yield varieties. Therefore,
high yield will still be the primary goal for rice
breeding in China. With the development of
economics and the improvement of living standards,
high quality rice is becoming increasingly important,
however grain quality should be always come after
yield. Besides, special varieties will draw more and
more attention to breeders with the development of
rice industry, added value of rice products, and rising
demand from market.
Market-oriented varietal extension system
Along with the insurance and enforcement of the

Preservation Regulations on Novel Plant Varieties of


P. R. China and the Law of Seeds of P. R. China in
1997, the extension systems of crop varieties have
been transformed from planned economy to market
economy enhancement of the protection of novel
varieties and rapid development of seed industry,
varieties have become the focus of competition in
seed market. In a period from now on, Chinese seed
industry will possibly be still at the initial stage of
development. Therefore the government should direct
and supervise variety extension for purposes of
maintaining seed marketing order and securing the
safety of food.

REFERENCES
1

The

National

Extension

and

Service

Center

of

Agricultural Technology, China National Rice Research


Institute. SCRVT Reports from 1998 to 2004. (in
Chinese)
2

The Chinese General Station of Seeds. Statistics on


Extension of Main Crop Varieties in China from 1986 to
1994. (in Chinese)

The China National Extension and Service Center of


Agricultural Technology. Statistics on Extension of Main
Crop Varieties in China from 1995 to 2003. (in Chinese)

The National Standard of the Peoples Republic of China.


High Quality Paddy. GB/T17891-1999. (in Chinese)

Yang S H, Cheng B Y, Shen W F, Liao X Y. Progress and


strategy of the improvement of indica rice varieties in the
Yangtse Valley of China. Chinese J Rice Sci, 2004, 18(2):
89-93. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Yang S H, Shen X H. Comparison between japonica


inbred rice variety and hybrid rice variety in Southern
China. Seed, 1999 (1): 38-39. (in Chinese)

Yang S H, Yu C S, Cheng B Y. The effect of natural low


temperature in booting stage on indica hybrid rice.
Hybrid Rice, 2003, 18(6): 51-54. (in Chinese with
English abstract)

Cheng S H, Liao X Y, Min S K. Research on super rice of


China: background, target and ponder on related problem.
China Rice, 1998, (1): 3-5. (in Chinese)