Saturday, January 14, 2012

No. 410: A state-of-the-art farmland combined with IT and robotics for higher productivity (January 14, 2012)

Business trend
The government will create a large-scale and state-of-the-art farmland in the coastal area of the disaster-stricken prefecture in the Tohoku district. The farmland will have an area of 200-250 ha, and the project will be participated by such IT-related companies as Fujitsu and Hitachi. They will increase agricultural productivity using IT and robotics. The government and the participating companies will make a total investment of 10 billion yen for six years starting this year. They will entrust agricultural corporations with the management of the farmland. Agricultural production will start as soon as the salt of the field is removed.

In the farmland, fruits and vegetables besides rice, wheat, and beans will be cultivated with the help of IT-based advanced technologies. They include a sensor system to monitor the growth of agricultural products and the conditions of farmland conditions like moisture and amount of fertilizers, a system to operate robots to load crops into containers, a system to irradiate LEDs to prevent disease and pest damage for the reduction of agrichemical consumption, and a system to run unmanned tractors to break ground. A research center to be built inside the farmland will collect and gather information and data. In addition data and information analysis, it will also work on the system to control the water level of paddies for the purpose of cultivating several kinds of farm products in the same farmland, the system to accelerate photosynthesis using carbon dioxide generated by in-house power generation, and the know-how on production management based on delivery date.

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