China\'s grain output this year will hit a record of over 660 million tons (550 million metric tons), Vice Agriculture Minister Chen Xiaohua said Thursday. This year\'s harvest, up from last year\'s 547 million metric tons, will be the eight consecutive year of growth, the official Xinhua news agency reported. There had been concerns this year that the prolonged drought in key growing regions in central and south China could affect output and force food prices, the main cause China\'s inflation, to rise further. Chen told reporters sound development of the agricultural industry has supported efforts to manage inflationary expectations and maintain steady economic growth. The agriculture ministry said this month the total amount of land dedicated to growing grain was expected to reach 272 million acres (110 million hectares) this year.