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Smart farms distinguish district in Jinan

By LIU ZIZHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-08 10:10

Over the past few years, farmers in Laiwu district of Jinan, East China's Shandong province, have stepped up efforts to promote smart agriculture in all respects, which has significantly lowered their production costs and contributed to local rural vitalization.

At a smart agricultural park in Yangzhuang town, Xie Bin, an agronomist, was recently seen adjusting the parameters of the intelligent control systems at his greenhouses, so as to foster a better environment for fruit farming.

"This is a critical time in the process of growing wax apples ... I'll increase the frequency of water supply and fertilizer to once every six to seven days," said Xie.

Xie also said the agricultural park is equipped with 30,000 square meters of such intelligent glass greenhouses, as well as a big data center. The wireless monitoring, transmission and control technologies have been widely utilized in the greenhouses to manage all the stages of growing a crop.

With a series of smart agricultural devices in place, there has inevitably been a surge in demand for electricity and the agricultural park's electricity consumption has surpassed 200 kilowatt-hours per day. Thanks to the local power supplier, however, the farmers have no worries on the power front.

Wei Xuebin, director of State Grid's power supply station in Yangzhuang, said the grid has strived to ensure stable power supply for the agricultural park ever since it was put into operation.

The station regularly sends staff members to collect information on local farmers' requirements and guides the latter to use electricity smartly, based on the different characteristics of their crops. Efforts have also been made to carry out safety inspections on the greenhouses and promptly eliminate electrical hazards, said Wei.

Xie said the main crops in the agricultural park are tropical fruits such as wax apples, lemons and papayas. The smart agricultural devices allow local farmers to foster a favorable growing environment for them even during the cold months.

Besides, developing smart agriculture has significantly lowered the farmers' production costs by saving 50 percent of the water and electricity costs related to irrigation. Plant diseases and pests have been reduced as well. The use of pesticides has been reduced by more than 80 percent, Xie said.

Such moves followed the launch of an action plan by China in January to further empower agriculture through digitalization and smart technologies. The country urged agricultural entities and relevant service enterprises to develop precision farming based on key data concerning weather, soil and pests, thereby continuously improving the agricultural production efficiency.

Zhao Chunjiang, director of the National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture, said smart agriculture has turned into a major driving force for the development of modern agriculture. China should continue to promote the use of biotechnology, information technology and intelligent equipment in agricultural production and nurture more high-quality talent, he said.

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