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Analysis: China turns to machines as farmers seek fresh fields

A farmer drives a harvester to reap through a corn field in Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the countryside into a network of big industrial farms capable of feeding its growing economy. Pulling together small plots of land to make larger operations and introducing modern mechanical techniques would help boost productivity, vital if China's agricultural sector is to meet soaring domestic food demand.REUTERS/David Stanway/Files

A farmer drives a harvester to reap through a corn field in Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might...more

A farmer drives a harvester to reap through a corn field in Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the countryside into a network of big industrial farms capable of feeding its growing economy. Pulling together small plots of land to make larger operations and introducing modern mechanical techniques would help boost productivity, vital if China's agricultural sector is to meet soaring domestic food demand.REUTERS/David Stanway/Files
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Farmers repair a tractor at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the countryside into a network of big industrial farms capable of feeding its growing economy. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files

Farmers repair a tractor at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the...more

Farmers repair a tractor at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the countryside into a network of big industrial farms capable of feeding its growing economy. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files
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Harvesters are used to reap a corn field at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 17, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the countryside into a network of big industrial farms capable of feeding its growing economy. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files

Harvesters are used to reap a corn field at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 17, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able...more

Harvesters are used to reap a corn field at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 17, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the countryside into a network of big industrial farms capable of feeding its growing economy. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files
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A farmer stands on a tractor loaded with corn stalks at a private plantation near Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the countryside into a network of big industrial farms capable of feeding its growing economy. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files

A farmer stands on a tractor loaded with corn stalks at a private plantation near Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its...more

A farmer stands on a tractor loaded with corn stalks at a private plantation near Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. China needs to replace millions of workers who have quit farms for cities, but even its vast state power might not be able to transform the countryside into a network of big industrial farms capable of feeding its growing economy. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files
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A farmer covers crops during rain hit harvest at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files

A farmer covers crops during rain hit harvest at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files

A farmer covers crops during rain hit harvest at the Suibin state farm, Heilongjiang province in this October 16, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/David Stanway/Files
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