Welcome to Smart Agriculture

Smart Agriculture ›› 2024, Vol. 6 ›› Issue (2): 1-13.doi: 10.12133/j.smartag.SA202403015

• Special Issue--Agricultural Information Perception and Models •     Next Articles

Big Models in Agriculture: Key Technologies, Application and Future Directions

GUO Wang1,2,3, YANG Yusen1,4, WU Huarui1,2,3(), ZHU Huaji1,2,3, MIAO Yisheng1,2,3, GU Jingqiu1,2,3   

  1. 1. National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture, Beijing 100097, China
    2. Information Technology Research Center, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Beijing 100097, China
    3. Key Laboratory of Digital Village Technology, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Beijing 100097, China
    4. Collage of Design and Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117583, Singapore
  • Received:2024-03-13 Online:2024-03-30
  • corresponding author:
    WU Huarui, E-mail:
  • About author:

    GUO Wang, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Innovation 2030 Major S&T Projects of China(2021ZD0113604); China Agriculture Research System of MOF and MARA Grant(CARS-23-D07); Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences: Innovation Capacity Building Project(KJCX20230219)


[Significance] Big Models, or Foundation Models, have offered a new paradigm in smart agriculture. These models, built on the Transformer architecture, incorporate numerous parameters and have undergone extensive training, often showing excellent performance and adaptability, making them effective in addressing agricultural issues where data is limited. Integrating big models in agriculture promises to pave the way for a more comprehensive form of agricultural intelligence, capable of processing diverse inputs, making informed decisions, and potentially overseeing entire farming systems autonomously. [Progress] The fundamental concepts and core technologies of big models are initially elaborated from five aspects: the generation and core principles of the Transformer architecture, scaling laws of extending big models, large-scale self-supervised learning, the general capabilities and adaptions of big models, and the emerging capabilities of big models. Subsequently, the possible application scenarios of the big model in the agricultural field are analyzed in detail, the development status of big models is described based on three types of the models: Large language models (LLMs), large vision models (LVMs), and large multi-modal models (LMMs). The progress of applying big models in agriculture is discussed, and the achievements are presented. [Conclusions and Prospects] The challenges and key tasks of applying big models technology in agriculture are analyzed. Firstly, the current datasets used for agricultural big models are somewhat limited, and the process of constructing these datasets can be both expensive and potentially problematic in terms of copyright issues. There is a call for creating more extensive, more openly accessible datasets to facilitate future advancements. Secondly, the complexity of big models, due to their extensive parameter counts, poses significant challenges in terms of training and deployment. However, there is optimism that future methodological improvements will streamline these processes by optimizing memory and computational efficiency, thereby enhancing the performance of big models in agriculture. Thirdly, these advanced models demonstrate strong proficiency in analyzing image and text data, suggesting potential future applications in integrating real-time data from IoT devices and the Internet to make informed decisions, manage multi-modal data, and potentially operate machinery within autonomous agricultural systems. Finally, the dissemination and implementation of these big models in the public agricultural sphere are deemed crucial. The public availability of these models is expected to refine their capabilities through user feedback and alleviate the workload on humans by providing sophisticated and accurate agricultural advice, which could revolutionize agricultural practices.

Key words: artificial intelligence generated content (AIGC), big models, agricultural knowledge services, machine learning, autonomous decision-making, multi-modality, deep learning