Welcome to Smart Agriculture

Table of Content

    30 December 2022, Volume 4 Issue 4
    Topic--Smart Farming of Field Crops
    State-of-the-art and Prospect of Research on Key Technical for Unmanned Farms of Field Corp | Open Access
    YIN Yanxin, MENG Zhijun, ZHAO Chunjiang, WANG Hao, WEN Changkai, CHEN Jingping, LI Liwei, DU Jingwei, WANG Pei, AN Xiaofei, SHANG Yehua, ZHANG Anqi, YAN Bingxin, WU Guangwei
    2022, 4(4):  1-25.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202212005
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    As one of the important way for constructing smart agriculture, unmanned farms are the most attractive in nowadays, and have been explored in many countries. Generally, data, knowledge and intelligent equipment are the core elements of unmanned farms. It deeply integrates modern information technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, edge computing, and artificial intelligence with agriculture to realize agricultural production information perception, quantitative decision-making, intelligent control, precise input and personalized services. In the paper, the overall technical architecture of unmanned farms is introduced, and five kinds of key technologies of unmanned farms are proposed, which include information perception and intelligent decision-making technology, precision control technology and key equipment for agriculture, automatic driving technology in agriculture, unmanned operation agricultural equipment, management and remote controlling system for unmanned farms. Furthermore, the latest research progress of the above technologies both worldwide are analyzed. Based on which, critical scientific and technological issues to be solved for developing unmanned farms in China are proposed, include unstructured environment perception of farmland, automatic drive for agriculture machinery in complex and changeable farmland environment, autonomous task assignment and path planning of unmanned agricultural machinery, autonomous cooperative operation control of unmanned agricultural machinery group. Those technologies are challenging and absolutely, and would be the most competitive commanding height in the future. The maize unmanned farm constructed in the city of Gongzhuling, Jilin province, China, was also introduced in detail. The unmanned farms is mainly composed of information perception system, unmanned agricultural equipment, management and controlling system. The perception system obtains and provides the farmland information, maize growth, pest and disease information of the farm. The unmanned agricultural machineries could complete the whole process of the maize mechanization under unattended conditions. The management and controlling system includes the basic GIS, remote controlling subsystem, precision operation management subsystem and working display system for unmanned agricultural machineries. The application of the maize unmanned farm has improved maize production efficiency (the harvesting efficiency has been increased by 3-4 times) and reduced labors. Finally, the paper summarizes the important role of the unmanned farm technology were summarized in solving the problems such as reduction of labors, analyzes the opportunities and challenges of developing unmanned farms in China, and put forward the strategic goals and ideas of developing unmanned farm in China.

    Goals, Key Technologies, and Regional Models of Smart Farming for Field Crops in China | Open Access
    LI Li, LI Minzan, LIU Gang, ZHANG Man, WANG Maohua
    2022, 4(4):  26-34.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202207003
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    Smart farming for field crops is a significant part of the smart agriculture. It aims at crop production, integrating modern sensing technology, new generation mobile communication technology, computer and network technology, Internet of Things(IoT), big data, cloud computing, blockchain and expert wisdom and knowledge. Deeply integrated application of biotechnology, engineering technology, information technology and management technology, it realizes accurate perception, quantitative decision-making, intelligent operation and intelligent service in the process of crop production, to significantly improve land output, resource utilization and labor productivity, comprehensively improves the quality, and promotes efficiency of agricultural products. In order to promote the sustainable development of the smart farming, through the analysis of the development process of smart agriculture, the overall objectives and key tasks of the development strategy were clarified, the key technologies in smart farming were condensed. Analysis and breakthrough of smart farming key technologies were crucial to the industrial development strategy. The main problems of the smart farming for field crops include: the lack of in-situ accurate measurement technology and special agricultural sensors, the large difference between crop model and actual production, the instantaneity, reliability, universality, and stability of the information transmission technologies, and the combination of intelligent agricultural equipment with agronomy. Based on the above analysis, five primary technologies and eighteen corresponding secondary technologies of smart farming for field crops were proposed, including: sensing technologies of environmental and biological information in field, agricultural IoT technologies and mobile internet, cloud computing and cloud service technologies in agriculture, big data analysis and decision-making technology in agriculture, and intelligent agricultural machinery and agricultural robots in fireld production. According to the characteristics of China's cropping region, the corresponding smart farming development strategies were proposed: large-scale smart production development zone in the Northeast region and Inner Mongolia region, smart urban agriculture and water-saving agriculture development zone in the region of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong, large-scale smart farming of cotton and smart dry farming green development comprehensive test zone in the Northwest arid region, smart farming of rice comprehensive development test zone in the Southeast coast region, and characteristic smart farming development zone in the Southwest mountain region. Finally, the suggestions were given from the perspective of infrastructure, key technology, talent and policy.

    Advances in Forage Crop Growth Monitoring by UAV Remote Sensing | Open Access
    ZHUO Yue, DING Feng, YAN Haijun, XU Jing
    2022, 4(4):  35-48.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202206004
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    Dynamic monitoring and quantitative estimation of forage crop growth are of great importance to the large-scale production of forage crop. UAV remote sensing has the advantages of high resolution, strong flexibility and low cost. In recent years, it has developed rapidly in the field of forage crop growth monitoring. In order to clarify the development status of forage crop growth monitoring and find the development direction, first, methods of UAV crop remote sensing monitoring were briefly described from two aspects of data acquisition and processing. Second, three key technologies of forage crop including canopy information extraction, spectral feature optimization and forage biomass estimation were described. Then the development trend of related research in recent years was analyzed, and it was pointed out that the number of papers published on UAV remote sensing forage crop monitoring showed an overall trend of rapidly increasing. With the rapid development of computer information technology and remote sensing technology, the application potential of UAV in the field of forage crop monitoring has been fully explored. Then, the research progress of UAV remote sensing in forage crop growth monitoring was described in five parts according to sensor types, i.e., visible, multispectral, hyperspectral, thermal infrared and LiDAR, and the research of each type of sensor were summarized and reviewed, pointing out that the current researches of hyperspectral, thermal infrared and LiDAR sensors in forage crop monitoring were less than that of visible and multispectral sensors. Finally, the future development directions were clarified according to the key technical problems that have not been solved in the research and application of UAV remote sensing forage crop growth monitoring: (1) Build a multi-temporal growth monitoring model based on the characteristics of different growth stages and different growth years of forage crops, carry out UAV remote sensing monitoring of forage crops around representative research areas to further improve the scope of application of the model. (2) Establish a multi-source database of UAV remote sensing, and carry out integrated collaborative monitoring combined with satellite remote sensing data, historical yield, soil conductivity and other data. (3) Develop an intelligent and user-friendly UAV remote sensing data analysis system, and shorten the data processing time through 5G communication network and edge computing devices. This paper could provide relevant technical references and directional guidelines for researchers in the field of forage crops and further promote the application and development of precision agriculture technology.

    Infield Corn Kernel Detection and Counting Based on Multiple Deep Learning Networks | Open Access
    LIU Xiaohang, ZHANG Zhao, LIU Jiaying, ZHANG Man, LI Han, FLORES Paulo, HAN Xiongzhe
    2022, 4(4):  49-60.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202207004
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    Machine vision has been increasingly used for agricultural sensing tasks. The detection method based on deep learning for infield corn kernels can improve the detection accuracy. In order to obtain the number of lost corn kernels quickly and accurately after the corn harvest, and evaluate the corn harvest combine performance on grain loss, the method of directly using deep learning technology to count corn kernels in the field was developed and evaluated. Firstly, an RGB camera was used to collect image with different backgrounds and illuminations, and the datasets were generated. Secondly, different target detection networks for kernel recognition were constructed, including Mask R-CNN, EfficientDet-D5, YOLOv5-L and YOLOX-L, and the collected 420 effective images were used to train, verify and test each model. The number of images in train, verify and test datasets were 200, 40 and 180, respectively. Finally, the counting performances of different models were evaluated and compared according to the recognition results of test set images. The experimental results showed that among the four models, YOLOv5-L had overall the best performance, and could reliably identify corn kernels under different scenes and light conditions. The average precision (AP) value of the model for the image detection of the test set was 78.3%, and the size of the model was 89.3 MB. The correct rate of kernel count detection in four scenes of non-occlusion, surface mid-level-occlusion, surface severe-occlusion and aggregation were 98.2%, 95.5%, 76.1% and 83.3%, respectively, and F1 values were 94.7%, 93.8%, 82.8% and 87%, respectively. The overall detection correct rate and F1 value of the test set were 90.7% and 91.1%, respectively. The frame rate was 55.55 f/s, and the detection and counting performance were better than Mask R-CNN, EfficientDet-D5 and YOLOX-L networks. The detection accuracy was improved by about 5% compared with the second best performance of Mask R-CNN. With good precision, high throughput, and proven generalization, YOLOv5-L can realize real-time monitoring of corn harvest loss in practical operation.

    Machine Learning Inversion Model of Soil Salinity in the Yellow River Delta Based on Field Hyperspectral and UAV Multispectral Data | Open Access
    FAN Chengzhi, WANG Ziwen, YANG Xingchao, LUO Yongkai, XU Xuexin, GUO Bin, LI Zhenhai
    2022, 4(4):  61-73.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202212001
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    Soil salinization in the Yellow River Delta is a difficult and miscellaneous disease to restrict the development of agricultural economy, and further hinders agricultural production. To explore the retrieval of soil salt content from remote sensing images under the condition of no vegetation coverage, the typical area of the Yellow River Delta was taken as the study area to obtain the hyperspectral of surface features, the multispectral of UAVs and the soil salt content of sample points. Three representative experimental areas with flat terrain and obvious soil salinization characteristics were set up in the study area, and 90 samples were collected in total. By optimizing the sensitive spectral parameters, machine learning algorithms of partial least squares regression (PLSR) and random forest (RF) for inversion of soil salt content were used in the study area. The results showed that: (1) Hyperspectral band of 1972 nm had the highest sensitivity to soil salt content, with correlation r of -0.31. The optimized spectral parameters of shortwave infrared can improve the accuracy of estimating soil salt content. (2) RF model optimized by two different data sources had better stability than PLSR model. RF model performed well in terms of generalization ability and balance error, but it had some over-fitting problems. (3) RF model based on ground feature hyperspectral (R2 =0.54, verified RMSE=3.30 g/kg) was superior to the random forest model based on UAV multispectral (R2 =0.54, verified RMSE=3.35 g/kg). The combination of image texture features improved the estimation accuracy of multispectral model, but the verification accuracy was still lower than that of hyperspectral model. (4) Soil salt content based on UAV multi-spectral imageries and RF model was mapped in the study area. This study demonstrates that the level of soil salinization in the Yellow River Delta region is significantly different in geographical location. The cultivated land in the study area is mainly light and moderate salinized soil with has certain restrictions on crop cultivation. Areas with low soil salt content are suitable for planting crops in low salinity fields, and farmland with high soil salt content is suitable for planting crops with high salinity tolerance. This study constructed and compared the soil salinity inversion models of the Yellow River Delta from two different sources of data, optimized them based on the advantages of each data source, explored the inversion of soil salinity content without vegetation coverage, and can provide a reference for more accurate inversion of land salinization.

    High Quality Ramie Resource Screening Based on UAV Remote Sensing Phenotype Monitoring | Open Access
    FU Hongyu, WANG Wei, LIAO Ao, YUE Yunkai, XU Mingzhi, WANG Ziwei, CHEN Jianfu, SHE Wei, CUI Guoxian
    2022, 4(4):  74-83.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202209001
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    Ramie is an important fiber crop. Due to the shortage of land resources and the promotion of excellent varieties, the genetic variation and diversity of ramie decreased, which increased the need for investigation and protection of the ramie germplasm resources diversity. The crop phenotype measurement method based on UAV remote sensing can conduct frequent, rapid, non-destructive and accurate monitoring of different genotypes, which can fulfill the investigation of crop germplasm resources and screen specific and high-quality varieties. In order to realize efficient comprehensive evaluation of ramie germplasm phenotype and assist in screening of dominant ramie varieties, a method for monitoring and screening ramie germplasm phenotype was proposed based on UAV remote sensing images. Firstly, based on UAV remote sensing images, the digital surface model (DSM) and orthophoto of the test area were generated by Pix4dmapper. Then, the key phenotypic parameters (plant height, plant number, leaf area index, leaf chlorophyll content and water content) of ramie germplasm resources were estimated. The subtraction method was used to extract ramie plant height based on DSM, while the target detection algorithm was applied to extract ramie plant number based on orthographic images, and four machine learning methods were used to estimate the leaf area index (LAI), leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD value) and water content. Finally, according to the extracted remote sensing phenotypic parameters, the genetic diversity of ramie germplasm was analyzed by using variability analysis and principal component analysis. The results showed that: (1) The ramie phenotype estimation based on UAV remote sensing was effective, with the fitting accuracy of plant height 0.93, and the root mean square error (RMSE) 5.654 cm. The fitting indexes of SPAD value, water content and LAI were 0.66, 0.79 and 0.74, respectively, and RMSE were 2.03, 2.21 and 0.63, respectively; (2) The remote sensing phenotypes of ramie germplasm were significantly different, as the coefficients of variation of LAI, plant height and plant number reached 20.82%, 24.61% and 35.48%, respectively; (3) Principal component analysis was used to cluster the remote sensing phenotypes into factor 1 (plant height and LAI) and factor 2 (LAI and SPAD value), factor 1 can be used to evaluate the structural characteristics of ramie germplasm resources, and factor 2 can be used as the screening index of high-light efficiency ramie resources. This study could provide references for crop germplasm phenotypic monitoring and breeding correlation analysis.

    Multi-Class on-Tree Peach Detection Using Improved YOLOv5s and Multi-Modal Images | Open Access
    LUO Qing, RAO Yuan, JIN Xiu, JIANG Zhaohui, WANG Tan, WANG Fengyi, ZHANG Wu
    2022, 4(4):  84-104.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202210004
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    Accurate peach detection is a prerequisite for automated agronomic management, e.g., peach mechanical harvesting. However, due to uneven illumination and ubiquitous occlusion, it is challenging to detect the peaches, especially when the peaches are bagged in orchards. To this end, an accurate multi-class peach detection method was proposed by means of improving YOLOv5s and using multi-modal visual data for mechanical harvesting in this paper. RGB-D dataset with multi-class annotations of naked and bagging peach was proposed, including 4127 multi-modal images of corresponding pixel-aligned color, depth, and infrared images acquired with consumer-level RGB-D camera. Subsequently, an improved lightweight YOLOv5s (small depth) model was put forward by introducing a direction-aware and position-sensitive attention mechanism, which could capture long-range dependencies along one spatial direction and preserve precise positional information along the other spatial direction, helping the networks accurately detect peach targets. Meanwhile, the depthwise separable convolution was employed to reduce the model computation by decomposing the convolution operation into convolution in the depth direction and convolution in the width and height directions, which helped to speed up the training and inference of the network while maintaining accuracy. The comparison experimental results demonstrated that the improved YOLOv5s using multi-modal visual data recorded the detection mAP of 98.6% and 88.9% on the naked and bagging peach with 5.05 M model parameters in complex illumination and severe occlusion environment, increasing by 5.3% and 16.5% than only using RGB images, as well as by 2.8% and 6.2% when compared to YOLOv5s. As compared with other networks in detecting bagging peaches, the improved YOLOv5s performed best in terms of mAP, which was 16.3%, 8.1% and 4.5% higher than YOLOX-Nano, PP-YOLO-Tiny, and EfficientDet-D0, respectively. In addition, the proposed improved YOLOv5s model offered better results in different degrees than other methods in detecting Fuji apple and Hayward kiwifruit, verified the effectiveness on different fruit detection tasks. Further investigation revealed the contribution of each imaging modality, as well as the proposed improvement in YOLOv5s, to favorable detection results of both naked and bagging peaches in natural orchards. Additionally, on the popular mobile hardware platform, it was found out that the improved YOLOv5s model could implement 19 times detection per second with the considered five-channel multi-modal images, offering real-time peach detection. These promising results demonstrated the potential of the improved YOLOv5s and multi-modal visual data with multi-class annotations to achieve visual intelligence of automated fruit harvesting systems.

    Overview Article
    Agricultural Intelligent Knowledge Service: Overview and Future Perspectives | Open Access
    ZHAO Ruixue, YANG Chenxue, ZHENG Jianhua, LI Jiao, WANG Jian
    2022, 4(4):  105-125.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202207009
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    The wide application of advanced information technologies such as big data, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence in agriculture has promoted the modernization of agriculture in rural areas and the development of smart agriculture. This trend has also led to the boost of demands for technology and knowledge from a large amount of agricultural business entities. Faced with problems such as dispersiveness of knowledges, hysteric knowledge update, inadequate agricultural information service and prominent contradiction between supply and demand of knowledge, the agricultural knowledge service has become an important engine for the transformation, upgrading and high-quality development of agriculture. To better facilitate the agriculture modernization in China, the research and application perspectives of agricultural knowledge services were summarized and analyzed. According to the whole life cycle of agricultural data, based on the whole agricultural industry chain, a systematic framework for the construction of agricultural intelligent knowledge service systems towards the requirement of agricultural business entities was proposed. Three layers of techniques in necessity were designed, ranging from AIoT-based agricultural situation perception to big data aggregation and governance, and from agricultural knowledge organization to computation/mining based on knowledge graph and then to multi-scenario-based agricultural intelligent knowledge service. A wide range of key technologies with comprehensive discussion on their applications in agricultural intelligent knowledge service were summarized, including the aerial and ground integrated Artificial Intelligence & Internet-of-Things (AIoT) full-dimensional of agricultural condition perception, multi-source heterogeneous agricultural big data aggregation/governance, knowledge modeling, knowledge extraction, knowledge fusion, knowledge reasoning, cross-media retrieval, intelligent question answering, personalized recommendation, decision support. At the end, the future development trends and countermeasures were discussed, from the aspects of agricultural data acquisition, model construction, knowledge organization, intelligent knowledge service technology and application promotion. It can be concluded that the agricultural intelligent knowledge service is the key to resolve the contradiction between supply and demand of agricultural knowledge service, can provide support in the realization of the advance from agricultural cross-media data analytics to knowledge reasoning, and promote the upgrade of agricultural knowledge service to be more personalized, more precise and more intelligent. Agricultural knowledge service is also an important support for agricultural science and technologies to be more self-reliance, modernized, and facilitates substantial development and upgrading of them in a more effective manner.

    Agricultural Metaverse: Key Technologies, Application Scenarios, Challenges and Prospects | Open Access
    CHEN Feng, SUN Chuanheng, XING Bin, LUO Na, LIU Haishen
    2022, 4(4):  126-137.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202206006
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    As an emerging concept, metaverse has attracted extensive attention from industry, academia and scientific research field. The combination of agriculture and metaverse will greatly promote the development of agricultural informatization and agricultural intelligence, provide new impetus for the transformation and upgrading of agricultural intelligence. Firstly, to expound feasibility of the application research of metaverse in agriculture, the basic principle and key technologies of agriculture metaverse were briefly described, such as blockchain, non-fungible token, 5G/6G, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, 3D reconstruction, cloud computing, edge computing, augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, brain computer interface, digital twins and parallel system. Then, the main scenarios of three agricultural applications of metaverse in the fields of virtual farm, agricultural teaching system and agricultural product traceability system were discussed. Among them, virtual farm is one of the most important applications of agricultural metaverse. Agricultural metaverse can help the growth of crops and the raising of livestock and poultry in the field of agricultural production, provide a three-dimensional and visual virtual leisure agricultural experience, provide virtual characters in the field of agricultural product promotion. The agricultural metaverse teaching system can provide virtual agricultural teaching similar to natural scenes, save training time and improve training efficiency by means of fragmentation. Traceability of agricultural products can let consumers know the production information of agricultural products and feel more confident about enterprises and products. Finally, the challenges in the development of agricultural metaverse were summarized in the aspects of difficulties in establishing agricultural metaverse system, weak communication foundation of agricultural metaverse, immature agricultural metaverse hardware equipment and uncertain agricultural meta universe operation, and the future development directions of agricultural metaverse were prospected. In the future, researches on the application of metaverse, agricultural growth mechanism, and low power wireless communication technologies are suggested to be carried out. A rural broadband network covering households can be established. The industrialization application of agricultural meta universe can be promoted. This review can provide theoretical references and technical supports for the development of metaverse in the field of agriculture.

    Technological Revolution, Disruptive Technology and Smart Agriculture | Open Access
    HU Ruifa, LIU Wanjiawen
    2022, 4(4):  138-143.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202205002
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    This paper described the concept and basic satisfaction of scientific and technological revolution, defines the endogenous and exogenous agricultural disruptive technology. The revolution of agricultural science and technology refers to the process in which the key disruptive core technology innovation applied to agricultural production drives a series of technological innovations adopted in production. Endogenous disruptive technology in agriculture refers to technology indicators that can fundamentally change the original technology, such as productivity improvement, overturn the economic or social necessity of the adoption of the original technology, and completely replace the original technology. Particularly the paper puts forwards the concept of the transboundary technology and demonstrates its endogenous application and impacts on the development of agricultural industry. The transboundary technology for exogenous application refers to the technology whose original invention and innovation are applied in non-agricultural fields and has nothing to do with agricultural industry. Focusing on smart agriculture and the typical transboundary technology, the paper analyzed the characteristics of the smart agriculture, discussed its impacts on the traditional agricultural production and rural transformation. Smart agriculture technology will be the disruptive core technology to promote a new round of technological and industrial revolution and rural transformation. It will fundamentally change the production mode of traditional agriculture, realize factory production and promote the revolutionary transformation of rural areas. The production and application of smart agricultural technology in China has shown good economic and social benefits and great potential for production and application. However, the application of intelligent agricultural technology based on artificial intelligence technology is still in the exploratory stage. As an agricultural application of transboundary technology, the smart agricultural technology with intelligent sensing technology as the core is not dominated by agricultural scientists like agricultural machinery technology revolution, chemical technology revolution and green revolution technology. At present, the application smart agriculture technology in China is only in its infancy. Hence, policy recommendations of strengthening key disruptive technology development, reforming agricultural higher education system, promoting the agricultural industry development of the transboundary technology, and pushing the application of smart agriculture technology to be implemented in high standard farmland and large-scale farms of agricultural production, etc., were proposed to promote the development of smart agriculture.

    Information Processing and Decision Making
    Automatic Measurement of Multi-Posture Beef Cattle Body Size Based on Depth Image | Open Access
    YE Wenshuai, KANG Xi, HE Zhijiang, LI Mengfei, LIU Gang
    2022, 4(4):  144-155.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA202210001
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    Beef cattle in the farm are active, which leads the collection of posture of the beef cattle changeable, so it is difficult to automatically measure the body size of the beef cattle. Aiming at the above problems, an automatic measurement method for beef cattle's body size under multi-pose was proposed by analyzing the skeleton features of beef cattle head and the edge contour features of beef cattle images. Firstly, the consumer-grade depth camera Azure Kinect DK was used to collect the top-view depth video data directly above the beef cattle and the video data were divided into frames to obtain the original depth image. Secondly, the original depth image was processed by shadow interpolation, normalization, image segmentation and connected domain to remove the complex background and obtain the target image containing only beef cattle. Thirdly, the Zhang-Suen algorithm was used to extract the beef cattle skeleton of the target image, and calculated the intersection points and endpoints of the skeleton, so as to analyze the characteristics of the beef cattle head to determine the head removal point, and to remove the beef cattle head information from the image. Finally, the curvature curve of the beef cattle profile was obtained by the improved U-chord curvature method. The body measurement points were determined according to the curvature value and converted into three-dimensional spaces to calculate the body size parameters. In this paper, the postures of beef cattle, which were analyzed by a large amount of depth image data, were divided into left crooked, right crooked, correct posture, head down and head up, respectively. The test results showed that the head removal method proposed based on the skeleton in multiple postures hads head removel success rate higher than 92% in the five postures. Using the body measurement point extraction method based on the improved U-chord curvature proposed, the average absolute error of body length measurement was 2.73 cm, the average absolute error of body height measurement was 2.07 cm, and the average absolute error of belly width measurement was 1.47 cm. The method provides a better way to achieve the automatic measurement of beef cattle body size in multiple poses.

    Corn and Soybean Futures Price Intelligent Forecasting Based on Deep Learning | Open Access
    XU Yulin, KANG Mengzhen, WANG Xiujuan, HUA Jing, WANG Haoyu, SHEN Zhen
    2022, 4(4):  156-163.  doi:10.12133/j.smartag.SA20220712
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    Corn and soybean are upland grain in the same season, and the contradiction of scrambling for land between corn and soybean is prominent in China, so it is necessary to explore the price relations between corn and soybean. In addition, agricultural futures have the function of price discovery compared with the spot. Therefore, the analysis and prediction of corn and soybean futures prices are of great significance for the management department to adjust the planting structure and for farmers to select the crop varieties. In this study, the correlation between corn and soybean futures prices was analyzed, and it was found that the corn and soybean futures prices have a strong correlation by correlation test, and soybean futures price is the Granger reason of corn futures price by Granger causality test. Then, the corn and soybean futures prices were predicted using a long short-term memory (LSTM) model. To optimize the futures price prediction model performance, Attention mechanism was introduced as Attention-LSTM to assign weights to the outputs of the LSTM model at different times. Specifically, LSTM model was used to process the input sequence of futures prices, the Attention layer assign different weights to the outputs, and then the model output the prediction results after a layer of linearity. The experimental results showed that Attention-LSTM model could significantly improve the prediction performance of both corn and soybean futures prices compared to autoregressive integrated moving average model (ARIMA), support vector regression model (SVR), and LSTM. For example, mean absolute error (MAE) was improved by 3.8% and 3.3%, root mean square error (RMSE) was improved by 0.6% and 1.8% and mean absolute error percentage (MAPE) was improved by 4.8% and 2.9% compared with a single LSTM, respectively. Finally, the corn futures prices were forecasted using historical corn and soybean futures prices together. Specifically, two LSTM models were used to process the input sequences of corn futures prices and soybean futures prices respectively, two parameters were trained to perform a weighted summation of the output of two LSTM models, and the prediction results were output by the model after a layer of linearity. The experimental results showed that MAE was improved by 6.9%, RMSE was improved by 1.1% and MAPE was improved by 5.3% compared with the LSTM model using only corn futures prices. The results verify the strong correlation between corn and soybean futures prices at the same time. In conclusion, the results verify the Attention-LSTM model can improve the performances of soybean and corn futures price forecasting compared with the general prediction model, and the combination of related agricultural futures price data can improve the prediction performances of agricultural product futures forecasting model.