China’s total grain output rose by 2.4 percent in 2015 to 621 million tonnes from last year, the country’s statistics bureau said on Tuesday.
 
The combined output of grains including rice, corn and wheat increased 2.7 percent to 572 million tonnes, it said.
 
The corn crop came to 224.6 million tonnes, showed the data, with average yields of 5,892 kg per hectare. Output is up four percent from 215.67 million tonnes last year.
 
The jump in output comes as the world’s second largest corn consumer grapples with bulging state stockpiles, which could exceed more than a year’s worth of consumption by the first half of next year, according to estimates.
 
The corn crop missed estimates made earlier this year.
 
The official China National Grain and Oils Information Center think-tank had estimated in September the corn crop would be 229 million tonnes in 2015. Wheat output also climbed, rising to 130.2 million tonnes, compared with last year’s 126 million tonnes. Rice production rose slightly to 208.3 million tonnes from 206.4 million tonnes in 2014. A breakdown of other grains was not included.
 
The bureau only started providing a breakdown in the 2014 figures.
 
A recent change in government support for cotton and rapeseed production has pushed some farmers to switch to growing grains instead, said the statistics bureau, noting that some areas in the Lower Yangtze River delta had seen cotton acreage drop by almost 30 percent.
 
Meanwhile, the total area planted with corn has increased by 2.7 percent to 38.12 million hectares.
 
Overall acreage planted with cereal crops climbed by 0.5 percent to 113.34 million hectares, the bureau reported.
 
Beijing eventually wants to reduce the corn acreage by about a fifth, targeting a crop of 175 million tonnes by 2020, according to sources.
 
The government recently proposed to let some land lie fallow in a bid to ease the pressure on scarce water resources and reduce the burden of excess grain stocks.