Welcome to Smart Agriculture

Table of Content

    22 February 2019, Volume 1 Issue 1
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    Invited Article
    State-of-the-art and recommended developmental strategic objectivs of smart agriculture | Open Access
    Zhao Chunjiang
    2019, 1(1):  1-7.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201812-SA005
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    With the wide applications of modern information technology in agriculture, agricultural intelligent technology revolution with manifestation of smart agriculture is coming. Smart agriculture is an advanced stage in the development of agricultural informatization from digitalization to networking to intelligence, it forms a new way of agricultural production, i.e., taking information and knowledge as the core elements, and integrating modern information technology such as internet, internet of things (IoT), big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, intelligent equipment, and so on, to realize agricultural information perception, quantitative decision-making, intelligent control, precise input, and personalized service. Smart agriculture is a milestone in the development of agriculture and has become the development trend of modern agriculture in the world. In this article, the policies, measures, and programs for encouraging the development of smart agriculture issued by Japan, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and other countries and regions were summarized, the development history from 1.0 version to 4.0 version of agriculture and development status of smart agriculture in China were also analyzed: remarkable results has achieved, at the end of 2017, the proportion of internet access in administrative villages reached 96%, 204,000 villages established the AgroSciences Information Agency, the retail sales of rural networks reached RMB 1.25 trillion Yuan, 426 cost-effective agricultural IoT products and technologies have been formed by the implementation of IoT pilot project. Behind the rapid development, smart agriculture in China still faces the problems of lack of basic research and technology accumulation, technologies such as sensors for agriculture, animal and plant models with intelligent decision-making, intelligent and precise operation equipment are the main short-boards. The pilot construction projects for the application of smart agriculture have been carried out all over the country, however, the role of display was greater than the actual effect. In order to solving the problems and achieving development demand, the strategic objectives of breaking through the core technologies, realizing the three major changes of "machine replacing manpower", "computer replacing human brain", and "independent technology replacing imports", improving the agricultural production level of intelligence and management network, accelerating the popularization of information services, and reducing application cost, providing farmers with personalized and precise information services that are affordable, and well-used, greatly improving agricultural production efficiency, and guiding the development of modern agriculture were proposed. Based on the analysis above, finally, eight key tasks including developing agricultural sensors, large-load agricultural UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) protection systems, smart tractors, agricultural robots, agricultural big data, agricultural artificial intelligence, integrated applications and smart agricultural industry, and five policy recommendations including strengthening government support, formulating relevant subsidy policies, strengthening technical standards, and opening data sharing for the future development of smart agriculture in China were proposed.

    Overview Articles
    Original innovation of key technologies leading healthy development of smart agricultural | Open Access
    Gao Wanlin, Zhang Ganghong, Zhang Guofeng, Huang Feng, Wu Dehua, Tao Sha, Wang Minjuan
    2019, 1(1):  8-19.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201812-SA015
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    Smart agricultural is a new form of agriculture that makes full use of human wisdom to develop agriculture. It is a new stage, new model and new pattern of agricultural development. The development of agricultural information technology is an inevitable requirement for smart agricultural. The new generation of core information technology, such as agricultural big data, cloud computing, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, can enable the innovative development of smart agricultural. It can provide new technologies, new methods and new solutions for the healthy development of smart agricultural. Agricultural informationization standardization is the premise to guide the progress and innovation of agricultural science and technology. It can lead the progress of agricultural science and technology and standardize the process of agricultural production. It is an urgent need for the development of smart agricultural. Agricultural Internet of things and agricultural application-specific chip are the core technologies and equipment for the development of smart agricultural. The application demand of agricultural Internet of things can promote the development of agricultural application-specific chip technology. The technological innovation of agricultural application-specific chip will promote the technological upgrading of agricultural Internet of things. Agricultural big data and cloud computing are powerful technical support for massive and complex agricultural information processing. The computing requirements of big data algorithms can promote the innovation and development of cloud computing technology. The improvement of cloud computing capability is more convenient for the application of big data algorithms and applications. Agricultural information security and blockchain are the key to guarantee the security of agricultural information, agricultural product quality certification system and agricultural. Agricultural artificial intelligence is the inevitable choice to improve agricultural labor productivity, reduce resource consumption, and efficient production. The innovation and application of artificial intelligence algorithm is an effective measure to realize smart agricultural. Agricultural plasma technology provides a new technological means for smart agricultural to produce more safer and more reassuring green organic agricultural products. It can be used in different stages of agricultural production, includes before, during and after production, to protect the healthy development of the whole agricultural production chain. The original innovation and autonomous control of the key technologies of smart agricultural will surely lead the healthy development of smart agricultural.

    Advances in the development and applications of intelligent equipment and feeding technology for livestock production | Open Access
    Zhao Yiguang, Yang Liang, Zheng Shanshan, Xiong Benhai
    2019, 1(1):  20-31.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201812-SA017
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    Intelligent equipment for livestock production is one of the components of intelligent agricultural machinery equipment, and is the focus of technology development in international agricultural equipment industry. This paper reviewed the current situation and development trend of intelligent equipment for livestock production systems nationally and internationally, including electronic feeding stations, animal farming robots, and many supporting intelligent facilities within the animal house. The features and performance characteristics of the equipment were discussed. The development of intelligent equipment for livestock production systems mainly focused on pigs and dairy cows including electronic sow feeding station, lactating sow precision feeding system, electronic cattle feeding station, automatic cattle feeding system, cattle feed pusher and dairy cow milking robot. The development and application of intelligent livestock equipment such as the electronic feeding stations and feeding robots, have significantly increased the production efficiency and saved labor cost in both pig and dairy farms. In addition, it also contributed to improve both of the animal and farmer welfare. However, there is still considerable room to get the application of intelligent livestock equipment improved in practice. For example, the animals have to be trained to get used to the intelligent facilities. On the other hand, the intelligent facilities are also required to identify individual animal or animal organ more accurately in order to further increase the production efficiency. Therefore, the key features in the further development of intelligent livestock equipment would be smarter, more convenient, more reliable, and more economical. At the meantime, it should be a highly integrated and coordinated intelligent system including intelligent facilities, well trained staff, good animal welfare, and comfortable environment. Therefore, the industrial application of the intelligent livestock equipment should be integrated with the local farming practice and fitted with the layout of animal houses in order to increase the efficiency of the equipment, and consequently, to improve animal welfare. The systematical combination of intelligent facilities and animal physiology, animal growth, and animal behavior could contribute to the dynamic interactions between the equipment and animal. Finally, it was concluded that the development of intelligent equipment should be coordinated with the theory of animal production, the function of animal products and the innovation of farming practice. And it also should be continuously updated to promote the transformation and upgrading of animal husbandry industry.

    Technical demands for agricultural remote sensing satellites in China | Open Access
    Chen Zhongxin, Hao Pengyu, Liu Jia, An Meng, Han Bo
    2019, 1(1):  32-42.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201901-SA003
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    With the development of China's modern agriculture, information agriculture and smart agriculture, and the implementation of national rural revitalization strategy, there are very strong demands for timely and effective retrieving information for agricultural environment, production conditions, status, and procedure. Because of the inherent characteristics of agriculture, satellite remote sensing is one of the critical techniques in agricultural information acquisition. Based on the analysis of the applications of agricultural remote sensing satellites abroad and in China, the authors analyzed the technical demand and engineering demand of China's remote sensing satellites development according to the demand of modern agricultural development, in order to provide suggestions for the construction agricultural remote sensing satellite system in the national digital agriculture system. In developed economies, remote sensing satellites that can be used for agricultural applications have formed constellations or systems for integrative observation. Their designs of payloads and sensors onboard remote sensing satellites have taken full account of the demand for agricultural applications. Their technical innovation and information retrieval capability have been greatly enhanced in agricultural applications of satellite remote sensing. In contrast with that in the advanced foreign countries, the agricultural satellite remote sensing applications in China have quite a few problems and shortcomings. We rely mainly multi-spectral remote sensing systems, which leads to inadequate observation elements in agricultural remote sensing applications. Limited by the performance of remote sensing sensors and the inadequate ability of remote sensing satellite ground application system, there is a certain gap between quantitative remote sensing monitoring means in China and foreign developed countries. Based on a comprehensive analysis of the current and future demands of agricultural remote sensing applications in China, this paper suggests the agricultural requirements for the application capability and equipment of remote sensing satellites. It is suggested that a constellation system of agricultural satellites flying in a tandem sequence should be constructed. The constellation has multi-spectral, hyperspectral, infrared and microwave sensors, which can acquire the comprehensive features of the same objects in the same temporal phase, and thus obtain the data with high spatial-temporal consistency and consistency of solar illumination conditions. The precision of multi-source data fusion can comprehensively provide multi-scale remote sensing products with different bands, different polarization, active/passive, microwave/optical fusion. With help of this advanced agricultural remote sensing satellite system and national spatial infrastructure in China, it will enhance the capability to promote the rapid development of agricultural remote sensing technology and the integration of three-dimensional space-air-ground based digital agriculture in China.

    Information Perception and Acquisition
    Development and performance evaluation of a multi-rotor unmanned aircraft system for agricultural monitoring | Open Access
    Zhu Jiangpeng, Cen Haiyan, He Liwen, He Yong
    2019, 1(1):  43-52.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201812-SA011
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    In modern agriculture production, to obtain real-time, accurate and comprehensive information of the farmlands is necessary for farmers. Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is one of the most popular platforms for agricultural information monitoring, especially the multi-rotor aircraft due to its simplicity of operation. It is easy to control the speed and altitude of multi-rotor aircraft, even at low altitude. The above features enable multi-rotor UAS to acquire high-resolution images at low altitudes by integrating different imaging sensors. The aim of this work was to develop an octocopter UAS for agricultural information monitoring. In order to obtain the high-resolution aerial images of the entire experimental field, the Sony Nex-7 camera was attached to the aircraft. According to the real-time position of the aircraft got from global position system (GPS) and inertial measurement unit (IMU), the flight control system of the aircraft will send signals to control the camera to capture images at desired locations. Besides, position and orientation system (POS) and an illuminance sensor were loaded on the aircraft to get the location, shooting angle and ambient illumination information of each image. The system can be used to collect the remote sensing data of a field, and the performance was comprehensively evaluated in the field of oilseed rape experimental station in Zhuji, Zhejiang Province, China. The result shows that the system can keep the camera optical axis perpendicular to the ground during the operation. Because the effective communication was established between the mission equipment and the flight control system, the UAS can accurately acquire the images at the pre-defined locations, which improved the operation efficiency of the system. The images collected by the system can be mosaicked into an image of the whole field. In summary, the system can satisfy the demand for the agricultural information collection.

    Information Processing and Decision Making
    Research on key technologies of crop growth process simulation model and morphological 3D visualization | Open Access
    Zhu Yeping, Li Shijuan, Li Shuqin
    2019, 1(1):  53-66.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201901-SA005
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    According to the demand of digitized analysis and visualization representation of crop yield formation and variety adaptability analysis, aiming at improving the timeliness, coordination and sense of reality of crop simulation model, key technologies of crop growth process simulation model and morphological 3D visualization were studied in this research. The internet of things technology was applied to collect the field data. The multi-agent technology was used to study the co-simulation method and design crop model framework. Winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was taken as an example to conducted filed test, the 3D morphology visualization system was developed and validated. Taking three wheat varieties, Hengguan35 (Hg35), Jimai22 (Jm22) and Heng4399 (H4399) as research objects, logistic equation was constructed to simulate the change of leaf length, maximum leaf width, leaf height and plant height. Parametric modeling method and 3D graphics library (OpenGL) were used to build wheat organ geometry model so as to draw wheat morphological structure model. The R2 values of leaf length, maximum leaf width, leaf height and plant height were between 0.772-0.999, indicating that the model has high fitting degree. F values (between 10.153-4359.236) of regression equation and Sig. values (under 0.05) show that the model has good significance. Taking wheat as example, this research combined wheat growth model and structure model effectively in order to realize the 3D morphology visualization of crop growth processes under different conditions, it will provide references for developing the crop simulation visualization system, the method and related technologies are suitable for other field crops such as corn and rice, etc.

    Framework design and application prospect of agricultural product information blockchain | Open Access
    Liang Hao, Liu Sichen, Zhang Yinuo, Lv Ke
    2019, 1(1):  67-75.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201812-SA020
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    Agriculture of China is a typical agricultural system of small producer and large market. Producers are too scattered. Agricultural foundation remains weak in the vast rural areas, especially poverty-stricken areas. All of the above have built up a hedge for the high input of information industry and been a serious impediment to agricultural informationalization. As the underlying technology of electronic tokens, blockchain has become the current research hotspot, and been applied in finance, logistics, electronic commerce, information traceability and so on. Blockchain is a distributed storage and computation system, which is decentralized, so it is highly compatible with the distributed economic system. It will be a comprehensive solution to the agricultural status that is "scattered, small and weak". The book China Blockchain Technology and Application Development Whitepaper 2016 gives guidance suggestions for the application of blockchain in different industries including agriculture. This article is proposed by combining the specific status of Chinese agriculture and the technical characteristics of the block chain. Blockchain will play a very important rule in information gathering, resource integrating, profits sharing and backtracking information. Framework of blockchain for agricultural product with 7 levels of information gathering layer, data layer, network layer, consensus layer, excitation layer, contract layer and application layer was designed based on generalized blockchain according to actual situation of agriculture in China. The function of information gathering layer and data layer weve used to storage encrypted information that is acquired by IoT node in a distributed way. The Network layer was designed with a semi-distributed topological structure based on the original Peer-to-Peer distributed network structure in the blockchain by adding the supper notes. In the consensus layer, the DPOS was implied install of POW, therefore, there is no need for intensive computing. Due to the use of smart contact in the contract layer, transactions can be completed automatically in the absence of intermediaries. Furthermore, members of the Blockchain Union can also get repay by participating in the consensus with the smart contracts. The application layer was designed to provide the interface for application of government, bank, enterprise, producer and consumers. This framework can provide flexible mechanism of distributed storage, complete information consensus system, reliable information tamper-proof function and practical incentive reward measures. Subsequently, the above functions have been explained in the agricultural products quality safety traceability and application for the agricultural product market information transparency in more detail. However, the application of block chain in the field of agriculture is still in the stage of exploration, the technology is far from mature, and still need to be perfected in the process of application gradually.

    Intelligent Management and Control
    Evaluation of fish feeding intensity in aquaculture based on near-infrared machine vision | Open Access
    Zhou Chao, Xu Daming, Lin Kai, Chen Lan, Zhang Song, Sun Chuanheng, Yang Xinting
    2019, 1(1):  76-84.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201812-SA016
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    In aquaculture, feeding intensity can directly reflect the appetite of fish, which is of great significance for guiding feeding and productive practice. However, most of the existing fish feeding intensity evaluation methods have problems of low observation efficiency and low objectivity. In this study, a fish feeding intensity evaluation method based on near-infrared machine vision was proposed to achieve an automatic objective evaluation of fish appetite. Firstly, a near-infrared image acquisition system was built by using near-infrared industrial camera. After a series of image processing steps, the gray level co-occurrence matrix was used to extract the texture feature variable information of the image, including contrast, energy, correlation, inverse gap and entropy. Then the data set were constructed by using these five feature variables as input vectors, and the support vector machine classifier was trained. Among them, the optimal penalty coefficient c and kernel function parameter g were selected by grid search. Finally, the trained images were used to classify the feeding images of fish. And ultimately, the evaluation of fish feeding intensity was realized. The results show that the accuracy of the evaluation could reach 87.78%. In addition, this method does not need to consider the impact of reflections, sprays and other factors on image processing results, so it has strong adaptability and can be used for automatic and objective evaluation of fish appetite, thus provide theoretical basis and methodological support for subsequent feeding decisions.

    Intelligent Equipment and Systems
    Development and test of a flexible manipulator based on 3D printing | Open Access
    Gao Guohua, Dong Zengya, Sun Xiaona, Wang Hao
    2019, 1(1):  85-95.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.2019.1.1.201812-SA012
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    With the development of computer and automation control technology, robots have gradually entered the field of agricultural production. The application of agricultural robots can improve labor productivity, product quality and working conditions, solve the problem of labor shortage, and promote the intellectualization of agricultural production process. Fruit harvesting is the most time-consuming and laborious part of agricultural production. Since the skin of fruit is relatively fragile, it is easy to cause damage in the process of grasping. Therefore, some flexibility is necessary for the grasping device. As the end of the picking, robot directly acts on the part of the grasping object, the manipulator has attracted more and more attention of scientific researchers because of its light weight, small size, low energy consumption, high flexibility and low cost. Manipulator is the core component of robot, which is installed on the end of picking robot and acting on the object directly. In order to improve universality and flexibility, reduce the damage to the fruits, and shorten the design cycle, the flexible manipulator with simple structure and self-adaptive function was designed to achieve favorable grasp of fruits. The manipulator developed based on 3D printing has the advantages of rapid prototyping, low experimental cost and easy to assemble, etc. Flexible manipulator consists of flexible finger, wrist, base and pneumatic components. Its general action process is opening, grasping, moveing and putting down. However, flexible manipulator combines the two processes of moving and putting down into swallowing, which reduces the execution of the motion and improves the grasping performance and efficiency of the manipulator. Pneumatic components and wrist were printed from flexible materials and the material is thermoplastic urethane and polylactic acid respectively. The wrist is an integral part with flexibility. The use of pneumatic components can achieve the wrist bending, driving flexible fingers self-adaptive deformation to grasp the fruit. The manipulator is placed on the vertical sliding platform of the four-wheel platform, which can move up and down, and the four-wheel platform can move freely in all directions. The single wrist has two rotational degrees of freedom. The kinematics model of single wrist was established by combining constant curvature deformation and D-H coordinate method. On this basis, the functional validation test and safety test of flexible manipulator were carried out. In the safety test, the thin pressure sensor was used as the detection element of the contact force signal between the finger and the grasping object. The experiment results show that the pneumatic components of the flexible manipulator meet the design requirements and the driving wrist is flexible. The manipulator has certain flexibility, and can adapt to the shape of the fruit for self-adaptive grasping. The self-adaptive grasping effect of the manipulator is remarkable, and the fruit skin is intact. Moreover, the flexible manipulator has a favorable self-adaptive function based on the structural design and the complexity of the control system is deduced. In addition, it will provide reference for the design of the flexible grasping mechanism.