Smart Farming- Farmers Using Technology

By Jia-Jheng Yeh

What comes into your mind when you think about farmers? At present, there have been many young farmers in Taiwan that integrate their know-how and technology into farming!

“With self-made farm equipment, Maker’s spirit can be seen everywhere in farming”- Xing-Yan Chen

Xing-Yan Chen, who majored in computer science and information engineering, settled in Yilan after graduation. To improving work efficiency, Chen joined Open Source Ecology founded by physicist Marcin Jakubowski, hoping to record the weather or automate human tasks. Chen found that there were many problems in the farmland that could have been solved with simple self-made software and hardware. For instance, there are electric lawn mowers composed of waste materials and electronic parts as well as sensors built with monitoring systems that record daily sun exposure, wind speed, and rainfall. There are also sluice gates that turn farming into exact science by recording the water level, water temperature, and soil temperature.

Xing-Yan Chen, who builds farm equipment with his own hands (Source: YouTube)

“Farming can be sustainable once you put in your domain knowledge”- You-Ren Hsu

You-Ren Hsu graduated from National Tsing Hua University with a Ph.D. degree. However, instead of making the average annual income of a million dollars from working at Hsinchu Science Park, Hsu founded Yuan-Pei Farm, a social enterprise that features microbial technology, technology agriculture, and sustainable farming. In 2017, Yuan-Pei Farm joined hands with Universe Circular Technology, an energy company, in using earthworms and microbial fermentation to convert biogas residues and agricultural wastes into bio-compost, which is an entirely new way to dispose of agricultural wastes and food wastes. In 2020, there is another project that initiates a contract farming of rice for patients with special needs. At present, there have been 16 farmers with the same vision in sustainable farming joining the project.

Building sustainable farming with technology (Source: YouTube)

“Let AI do the farming and the harvest can be done with a mobile phone”- Wen-Yaw Chung

Wen-Yaw Chung, who has worked for Academia Sinica and technology companies, both domestic and foreign, saw the damage done to our environment by the high-tech manufacturing industry. For that reason, since 2012, Chung and his students have been working to combine traditional agriculture with technology in electronics. The purpose is to collect common environmental parameters in daily life for analysis using big data in the cloud. These experiments facilitate farming in irrigation and light supplementary. In addition, farming conditions are monitored by automatic systems that analyze a large amount of data, which allows farmers to remotely monitor the growth environment and build a complete product portfolio. Chung also grows crops in greenhouses, monitoring the crop quality with the farm management system based on technology in electronics. With simply a mobile phone or a computer, farmers can manage the crops with ease.

Farmland monitoring using cell phones (Source: YouTube)

Conclusion

With the development of smart farming, there have been many farmers who study and develop various systems for farm automation and small self-made farm equipment. This not only makes it easier for the older generation of farmers to manage their farmland but also attracts young farmers to join the rank in improving farming efficiency.

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