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  • From Grains to Weeds: Barnyard Millet Planting and Low Wetland Development in Northeast China
Jounal : The Chinese Historical Geography
Author : Du Xinhao    
YEAR : 2023-05-20
Vol. : 43
No. : 02
Page : 94-102+160
Abstract :

Despite that barnyard millet was, in Chinese mainstream narratives on agricultural history, considered a kind of weed that grew along with rice in paddy fields or a rescue crop in years of famine, it was a key staple crop in northeastern China in traditional periods, whose status was not inferior to that of five cereals, The stress resistance attributes, i.e., cold resistant and moisture resistant, made barnyard millet a major player in the development history of low wetlands in northeastern China. Based on their long-term cultivation practices, local famers bred a number of high yielding and waterlogging resistant varieties, and created a full set of rather distinctive cultivation techniques. Since modern times, along with the rise of the development of water conservatory projects in farmlands in northeastern China, as well as the introduction of a number of cold resistant lowland rice varieties, the low wetlands where barnyard millet had been planted have been transformed into paddy fields, while high-yielding quality lowland rice has started to play a major role in the development of low wetlands. Bamyard millet has faded out of people's sight as a grain and been wmed into a kind of forage only. To some extent, the retreat history of barnyard millet is an epitome of the history of both the low wetlands development and the agricultural development of mid- and high-latitude northeastern Asia since modem times.