No Combines

The transitional separation of Chinese agriculture seems quite blatant. Millet in the north, rice in the south. During my southerly travel from Beijing to Hangzhou, I scanned the landscapes outside my train window. Vast open lands were dedicated to agriculture – somewhat similar to the United States. Much of the land in northern China is dedicated towards cultivating millet and wheat. There was a certain separating feature, however, when wheat fields transitioned solely into rice paddies – a large river. I am not sure whether this river is blatantly used as a separation line for all agriculture or just some strange observation. Perhaps this river provides better irrigation for rice paddies in the south rather than the north.

Instead of John Deere combines or International pickup trucks hauling grain, I noticed that grains were hauled by scooter and wagon in China. What a stark difference compared to the United States. Some fields had dozens of laborers kneeling down, fidgetily working in the fields. I can only assume they were picking weeds by hand. Some laborers had umbrellas, beach towels, and tea kettles stationed in the center of their fields. Nothing like a warm cup of tea on an extremely hot, humid day…

During my travel from Beijing to Hangzhou, I believe I witnessed China’s afforestation program in practice. I saw hundreds if not thousands of newly planted trees everywhere – in the mountains and in the agricultural fields. Long rows of trees have been planted, yet I cannot help but notice that most are the same species and planted no more than five feet away from each other. I was expecting a bit more diversity. My first thought when witnessing this large monoculture of trees was Dutch Elm Disease!

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