Smart farmers

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Precision farming to resurge Japanese agriculture

Japan aims to make farming more profitable and appealing to young people with the help of smart farming.

Smart farming, or precision agriculture, using robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), should lead to an “agricultural resurgence” in Japan, reports The Japan News.

Graying farmers

At the moment, Japan is faced with a nation of graying farmers, while at the same time not many young people are eager to become a farmer. The Japanse government, together with some major agricultural machinery makers, set out to change that.

Smart farming experiments at 50 Japanse farms

The answer, they believe, lies in smart farming. While Japanse machinery manufacturers are investing heavily in new equipment, such as autonomous vehicles, the government of Japan tries to stimulate smart farming with experiments to test self-driving tractors and other “smart” technologies at about 50 Japanse farms.

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A ‘swarm’ of Yanmar tractors working as an autonomous team at Hokkaido University, Japan. The government of Japan tries to stimulate smart farming with experiments to test self-driving tractors and other "smart" technologies at about 50 Japanse farms.
A ‘swarm’ of Yanmar tractors working as an autonomous team at Hokkaido University, Japan. The government of Japan tries to stimulate smart farming with experiments to test self-driving tractors and other "smart" technologies at about 50 Japanse farms.

“In the future, we will achieve ‘unmanned farming,’ in which AI will comprehensively analyze satellite, meteorological and other data so robot farm machines can operate automatically,” Yuji Tomiyama, a Kubota managing executive officer, told The Japan News.

Also read: Hokkaido University creates this autonomous tractor swarm

Farming more profitable

The Japanese government aims to make farming more appealing and more profitable, such as by aiming to increase the value of produce by at least 10 percent. At the same time, production costs should be reduced by at least 20 percent.

“Smart technology has the potential to dramatically change farming,” Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Takamori Yoshikawa told The Japan News.

Too expensive

However, according to the article, farmers feel a mix of both hope and anxiety. “Farm work gets harder every year and automation could probably relieve a lot of that burden,” said a 68-year-old farmer who grows mainly rice on about 4 hectares in Daisen, Akita Prefecture. “But things like self-driving tractors are too expensive. It doesn’t pay for small farmers to buy them.”

Also read: Japanese firms in race to develop driverless tractors

One comment

  • ???? Britania

    北海道以外のprovinceでは価格が高すぎて、
    平均的な米農家はこのような先端機器は手が出ないでしょう。
    日本の全国平均の一経営体当たり経営耕地面積は約3haで、北海道は約29haとなっており、GPS関連機器の90%は北海道で使用されています。
    米農家の収益は非常に低く、大抵は会社員として働き、植え付けと収穫の時期に農業を行う、兼業農家が一般的なので、国からの補助金を頼りには立ち行かない儲からない農業経営に投資し辛い現状があります。

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