Do you still have the impression that farmers live under the mercy of God? In recent years, there have been more and more young technologically-oriented farmers ranging from the age of 30 to 50, who turn their heads from “instinct” to “data.” They are a new generation of farmers that harness technology for harvest: new-generation smart farmers.
Nowadays, the professors in the college of agriculture teaches not only cultivation and breed improvement, but also farm data management, programming, and other courses related to Big Data. Dean of the NTU College of Bioresources and Agriculture Professor Huu-Sheng Lur stated that smart agriculture can also be termed Agriculture 4.0. By consolidating interdisciplinary technology, we can improve cost efficiency and predict both agriculture production and sales.
With the improvement in technology, the landscape of the traditional primary sector of the economy is changing. Does this signify that young farmers use smartphones and tablets instead of hoes for farming? It is more complicated than that! This article compiled two examples from Taiwan’s first smart agriculture map on Business Weekly to understand how young farmers conduct smart farming.
Case 1: Jiasheng Mushroom Farm at Hemei, Changhua
At Jiasheng Mushroom Farm of Wan-Sheng Technology Co., Ltd., the largest mushroom distributor within the nation, General Manager Sheng-Yi Huang introduced a liquid spawn automation system that divides king oyster mushroom’s 20-day growth into five steps. By monitoring and controlling the temperature, humidity, light, and carbon dioxide density, Jiasheng Mushroom Farm utilized data for mushroom cultivation. As a result, the Farm not only reduced the time of cultivation but also increased king oyster mushroom yield by 30%.
Case 2: K.K. Orchard at Liuying, Tainan
Located at Liuying Tainan, K.K. Orchard, the largest sweet potato farm (contract farming) in Taiwan, has a total cultivation area of 1,000 hectares. With the use of drones and GPS instead of humans to check the farm, the images and data are collected and then uploaded to the “Real-time Farm Management” cloud system. Thereafter, the farm assigns physical labor after the application reports which sector requires hydration or pest control though Big Data analysis of video color contrast. By using drones to patrol the farm, K.K. Orchard not only integrates the entire sweet potato farm that spans 1,000 hectares into one system but saves 600 farmers from the physical strain of walking across the farm.
When we combine technology and tradition, harvest with technology! When young farmers use new ideas and join the fray of smart agriculture, the fight is no longer about whoever has the largest farmable area but whoever has the ability to maximize limited resources and interdisciplinary integration; this is especially true in Taiwan. When agriculture meets new technology, “Precision Agriculture” will be the focus of this new type of agriculture.