Artificial intelligence tech boosting smart agriculture

Artificial intelligence (AI) came to the farm, helping to ensure the growth of crop yields.

As the old saying goes, agriculture is a trade, "which depends solely on the sky."

Most livestock and field crops depend largely on the weather for their comfort and provision with water and energy. But more than 1.3 billion people in China, a growing number of whom are middle-income workers, are increasing their appetite that farmers have to change the way they grow and sell food.

To transform the ancient business, which was mainly used by intuition, the modern answer is technology. Artificial intelligence came to the farm, helping to ensure a growing number of crops in the country.

This applies to Van Deguen and his company Tequ Group, a large pig farm in Sichuan province of Southwest China. The company seeks to multiply 10 million animals by 2020, while Wang said it was "a scale that no conventional automation system could handle, let alone a human system."

The winning recipe is in a vast array of solutions for AI, offered by the cloud computing division of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Using intelligent sensors and data analytics, Alibaba Cloud can help the Tequ farm monitor the activity of each pig and record their health status in real time,

Called the ET Agricultural Brain, this is the same technology that the technology giant uses to optimize urban transport and smoother use of e-commerce platforms. Now Alibaba Cloud is preparing its views on agriculture in order to provide effective and technically advanced approaches to farm management.

By replacing RFID tags that require a lot of time for control, the last decision is to use computer vision technology, tracking animals using upper cameras that identify the numbers inflicted by tattoos on their bodies.

At a basic level, this system will be able to count animals, but Alibaba also offers more sophisticated analysis. Visual real-time environmental recognition and monitoring were deployed on a platform to collect individual data on the daily movements of each pig, as well as analysis of growth rates, pregnancies and other health-related issues.

Intelligent sensors warn farm operators if the body temperature of animals requires medical attention, that is, farmers can detect sick animals before the disease spreads or becomes fatal.

The system can even ensure that animals are not just alive, but also healthy. It automatically charts exercise mode for pigs on a daily basis and tracks their mileage, duration and speed. those who have not fulfilled their daily tasks will be separated and deprived of the right to rest until they reach a minimum distance.

This technology follows Chinese consumers who jump on healthy food, as buyers and visitors usually require better and safer meat as part of a healthier lifestyle.

Consulting Mintel Group Ltd discovered last year a study according to which the Chinese prefer meat products that carry QR codes on the package. This allows customers to scan the code to learn more about processing animals and other related information.

"We want the animal to run 200 kilometers instead of weighing 200 kilograms," said Simon Hu, president of Alibaba Cloud.

Wang advertised technology that helps to realize the "true industrialization" of such an economy. He said that he brings a new level of interactive automation and improves the entire supply chain, especially sales and logistics.

"Agriculture and livestock are a strategic sector, and this affects billions of lives in China," Hu said. "The Agricultural Brain GT can be adopted in many other sectors, including forestry and fisheries, helping enterprises and individual producers improve efficiency and improve product quality, and provide more environmentally friendly and healthier options for consumers."

Early adopters of the ET brain farm include the Haisheng Group, a provincial agricultural firm in Shaanxi Province, which manages almost 40 gardens, each of which exceeds 2.667 hectares.

Details related to the production of apples, oranges, berries and cherries can be recorded digitally using the management application installed on the smartphone. Each fruit tree will soon receive a unique QR code, which farmers can scan and track their inputs, including water, fertilizers and pesticides.

Based on the algorithms, ET Agricultural Brain can provide optimal fertilizer application options by creating a database, and determining the ideal locations for each type of fruit tree, depending on their different soil and climatic requirements.

According to estimates, the system estimates savings of 200 yuan (US $ 29.40) per mu (about 667 square meters) for farmers, which led to an annual reduction in spending of more than 20 million yuan for the Haisheng group, Alibaba said.

"Technology is being used to develop solutions for the extended global food supply," said Jenny Zegler, global analyst for food and beverage products at Mintel.

"The technological revolution is developing in the manufacturing industry, as some prospective companies are developing solutions using scientifically developed ingredients," Zegler said. "This will help brands and retailers create more personalized relationships with customers."

Editor's Note

This is an edited version of the story that appeared on the China Daily website.

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