Sustainable Agriculture Continues to Grow
Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation provides reliable support for green, low- carbon and sustainable development of modern agriculture in the Beijing-tianjinHebei region.
Centring on the versatility, diversity, integration, high tech, reputation and practicability of Beijing's sustainable agriculture, Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation has increased its efforts in scientific and technological innovation and promotion, providing reliable support for the green, circular, low- carbon and sustainable development of Beijing and even the Beijing-tianjin-hebei region's modern agriculture.
The workstation innovates its technologies, products, concepts, services and working methods. Thanks to its innovation, the workstation has led the city's modern agriculture in a good direction.
Since 2007, Zhao Yongzhi has lead the workstation to promote technologies, test soils, improve fertilisers, upgrade methods, attract preferential policies, implement agricultural supply-side reform, and promote and sell produce with high quality at a reasonable price. After ten years, agriculture in suburban Beijing has significantly improved its soil fertility, reduced the amount of fertiliser applied, relieved non-point source pollution, upgraded the agricultural industry, guaranteed the high quality and reasonable price of local produce, and contributed to a healthy ecological environment.
Over the past decade, Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation has been innovative in investigating and studying proper working principles in its new situation—all the staff members are required to focus on public welfare and service, as well as basic, long-term and scientific work. They spare no effort to test soil constituents, upgrade their smart soil and fertilisers, and conduct in-depth research in technologies and fields.
The workstation has put forward a series of innovative concepts, such as “setting a minimum standard for farmland quality,” “developing low-carbon agriculture,” “soil and fertiliser technology coming first” and “creating a better future for agriculture with smart soil and fertiliser.” It has also innovated and promoted its science and technology of soil and fertiliser, created modern theories and models, such as ecological, digital and smart soil and fertiliser, and published studies, including Research and Practice of Smart Soil and Fertiliser and Theory and Practice of Ecological Fertilisation.
Aside from concept innovation, the workstation also pays attention to scientific and technological innovation. To serve Beijing's modern agriculture, the workstation has studied and developed many advanced, practical and efficient technologies and products to increase agricultural yield and efficiency, applied mobile Internet, big data, cloud computing and Internet of Things, and developed a series of intelligent products, including formula fertilisers, intelligent fertiliser preparation machines, soil testing and customised fertiliser system and fertilisation guidance app. According to a rough estimate, the promotion of soil and fertiliser technology can generate benefits of hundreds of millions yuan each year.
The scientific and technological innovation of smart soil and fertiliser has sparked a craze in Beijing, developing various efficient, ecological and secure products which have gone through rapid promotion and application in the BeijingTianjin-hebei region.
The principle of soil testing and customised fertilisation is simple—giving the soil what it lacks in terms of varieties and amounts, to achieve nutritional balance, meet the needs of crops, improve fertiliser efficiency, improve crop yield and quality, save on labour costs and increase income.
Beijing's soil testing and customised fertilisation project began in 2006, and covered the city's major crops in 2012, creating a miracle of agricultural technology promotion. Zhao Yongzhi and his team have achieved remarkable results in the city's agricultural industry.
To apply formula fertiliser in the farmland, Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation has integrated fertiliser production and sale enterprises to jointly promote soil testing and customised fertiliser technologies. It takes the lead in establishing a technological logistics network which integrates agricultural technology promotion system, manufacturing enterprises and circulation parties, combining farmers, fertiliser sellers and technology promotion agencies, as well as soil testing and customised fertiliser technology, and fertiliser production. Through innovation, the workstation fully mobilises farmers, enterprises and agricultural technology promotion agencies to create five service models in customised fertilisation: one-stop model, workstation-toenterprise model, chain distribution model, agricultural material-participation model and technology-to-farmer model. These measures help farmers apply soil testing and customised fertiliser technologies.
To better utilise soil testing and customised fertiliser technologies, Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation has established farmers' professional cooperatives, urban agriculture science and technology courtyards and intelligent fertiliser preparation stations. It has also established schools for farmers to promote soil testing and customised fertiliser technologies through cooperative events, expert consultation and precise technologies, creating a rapid application platform for scientific and technical achievements. From 2007 to 2016, the workstation applied technologies in over 2,741,826 hectares of land, with its technical coverage rate of over 85 percent; the crop yield was increased by 12.366 billion kilograms; the expenditure was cut by 3.752 billion yuan; the amount of fertiliser applied was reduced by 116,200 tons, a decrease of 30 percent, equal to reducing emissions by 429,700 tons of carbon dioxide.
The Soil Testing and Customised Fertiliser Technology Promotion Project was awarded the First Prize of Beijing's Agricultural Technology Promotion and the First Harvest Prize by the Ministry of Agriculture. Through years of practice, soil testing and customised fertilisation not only achieves remarkable results in cultivating high- end agricultural products, but also plays a major role in controlling non-point source pollution in the northern section of the Beijing–hangzhou Grand Canal and developing low- carbon agriculture.
In the meantime, the Soil Testing and Customised Fertiliser Technology Promotion Project helps the workstation establish four major innovation systems, namely soil testing and customised fertiliser technology system, soil resource management information system, farmland nutrient resource comprehensive management technology system, and integrated service system. The four major innovation systems have promoted the concept “digital, ecological and smart soil and fertiliser.”
After testing nutrients of the city's cultivated land and soil, the workstation has found out the soil quality and fertility status in suburban Beijing, formulating specific fertilisation plans for grains, vegetables, fruit trees and major crops, and developing soil testing and a customised fertilisation expert recommendation system. Thanks to Beijing's soil and fertiliser database, farmers can log onto www.bjtf.org to obtain an electronic prescription of soil testing, achieving precise management of soils and fertilisers, and avoiding arable land degradation, food pollution, ecological crisis and global warming caused by traditional extensive management.
The database covers soil spatial distribution regularities, types, areas, organic matters and ph values. The user just needs to type the code of land or the name of village in a search to obtain detailed information of relevant farmland and soil. The information and data are updated from time to time.
In addition, the database also stores soil boundaries, soil types, landforms, drainage and irrigation systems, soil testing results from the past 30 years, fertilisers and annual yield in suburban Beijing. After analysing the
data, experts can locate farmland with low yield, compare relevant factors, discover the main factors affecting the growth of crops, and customise a precise fertilisation plan for land and crops. Backed by the digitisation and precision of soil testing and customised fertilisation, smart soil and fertiliser guarantee precise fertilisation.
Smart soil and fertiliser utilise information technology to achieve intelligent perception, early warnings, analysis and expert guidance in the soil and fertiliser production environment, promote the precise soil, fertiliser and water management, strengthen monitoring over farmland quality and fertility, promote intelligent supervision of soil and fertiliser, and improve service of smart soil and fertiliser. As the smart soil and fertiliser scientific and technological innovation activities develop rapidly, many efficient, eco-friendly and secure technologies and products have advanced its rapid promotion and application in the Beijing-tianjin-hebei region.
The application of smart soil and fertiliser is more than precise. Staff members of Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation work to deepen reform, stick to ideas in smart soil and fertilisers, lead technological innovation and development, and implement an Internet plus concept. Based on the construction of ecological parks, they carry out pilot application of integrated water and fertiliser control technologies to create an intelligent supply and control that meets the demands of crops for water and fertiliser and achieves smart nutrient supply. They also create online and offline agricultural technology service models to promote precise services of soil and fertiliser technology. Based on the BeijingTianjin-hebei soil and fertiliser big data platform, a comprehensive, accurate, dynamic, open and orderly data system has been built to further promote industry development through digitisation, informationisation and artificial intelligence.
To adapt to the development of modern agriculture and a new socialist countryside, Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation has made innovations in technology promotion services. At the same time, to speed up the transformation and promotion of scientific and technological achievements, the workstation continues to innovate cooperation models, such as the workstation–institute, workstation– enterprise, workstation– county and workstation–town cooperation models. These measures expand the cooperation space and channels among agricultural research, teaching and promotion units, achieving resource sharing, complementary advantages, and beneficial results.
The workstation upholds its development concept “soil and fertiliser technology leads green, circular, low-carbon and sustainable modern agriculture,” promotes advanced agricultural technologies, publicises favourable policies and services, mobilises social participation, customises water-soluble fertiliser, establishes fertiliser-reduction parks, carries out village-level promotion, and contributes to standardising, promoting and applying technologies, as well as reducing amount of fertiliser used.
These innovative models have helped to promote and apply advanced technologies since 2010, improving the quality of Beijing's farmland by nearly 20 percent, reducing the fertiliser applied by 30 percent, increasing agricultural waste utilisation rate from less than 20 percent to 60 percent or more, increasing the qualification rate of organic fertiliser from less than 20 percent to 90 percent or more, contributing to Beijing's efficient, ecological and low- carbon agriculture.
High Quality, Reasonable Price
The Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation has always adhered to a concept of high-end, efficient and distinctive development can help urban agriculture boom. After 10 years of exploration and with the help of soil and fertiliser technologies, the workstation has significantly improved the quality of Beijing's produce, cultivated several distinctive local brands, such as Yanqing's grapes and Daxing's watermelons, and showcased suburban Beijing's high-end, diversified and leading agriculture. Many of these technologies have now been introduced to other provinces and municipalities and improved both the quality and efficiency of local agriculture.
Beijing will further promote soil testing and customised fertilisation in modern agriculture so as to improve soil, and achieve a high quality and yield of agricultural products.
Smart soil and fertiliser will adjust the taste and quality of agricultural products, laying the foundation for more reasonable prices of agricultural products.
On January 1, 2016, the Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation announced 10 typical cases of high quality and reasonable price, including Changping Xinchengyuan Professional Fruit Cooperative (strawberry) and Yanqing Jinli Professional Planting Cooperative (grape). In the past 10 years, the quality of cultivated land in suburban Beijing has been significantly improved, and agricultural products have embarked on cost-effective, high-quality, competitive and sustainable development.
Beijing's soil and fertiliser work conforms to the coordinated development of the BeijingTianjin-hebei region, gradually achieving anintegrative growth in the region. Two years ago, the Beijing-tianjin-hebei Soil, Fertiliser and Water Coordinated Development and Innovation Alliance was established to advance smart soil and fertiliser, promote efficient fertilisation and irrigation, redeem polluted soil, better utilise soil, fertiliser and water resources, apply the Internet of Things, and increase regional land yield, resource utilisation, technology contribution rate and labour productivity.
On July 27, 2017, the Five-year Plan for the Coordinated Development of Soil, Fertiliser and Water in the Beijing-tianjin-hebei Region (2016–2020) was released. It makes it clear to advance smart soil and fertiliser, improve the fertility of regional cultivated land by 0.5 levels or more, increase the utilisation rates of fertiliser and water conservancy by 40 percent and 10 percent respectively, and establish an example for the efficient utilisation of soil, fertiliser and water for the rest of China.
To better implement the plan, develop regional green agriculture, and promote the efficient utilisation of soil, fertiliser and water in the three places, Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation has been committed to several key tasks, including building 100 soil, fertiliser and water demonstration parks, controlling non-point source pollution, improving regional ecology, and creating a precise management system for regional smart soil and fertiliser.
Relying on the Beijing-tianjin-hebei smart soil and fertiliser big data platform, the three areas will promote regional Internet plus soil and fertiliser services, to achieve new development in the soil, fertiliser and water industry. Sharing business data helps these three areas integrate soil and fertiliser resources, improve regional agriculture and ecology, and promote regional development with digital and intelligent services.
In the past ten years, Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation have been awarded 57 national, provincial and ministerial science and technology awards, published more than 200 academic papers and 30 monographs, and received 28 patents. To strengthen its talent team and achieve crossregional cooperation and exchange, the workstation has cooperated with agricultural research institutes, agricultural enterprises, government departments and agricultural promotion agencies, and gradually formed comprehensive cooperation models.
In recent years, over 60 staff members of the workstation have gone to Europe, the US and other places for academic exchanges. The People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, Economic Daily, Science and Technology Daily, Farmers’ Daily, Beijing Daily and other newspapers and mainstream media have reported on the workstation many times. The stories of Beijing's soil and fertiliser innovation have even been reported by international media.
Led by Zhao Yongzhi, staff members of Beijing Municipal Soil and Fertiliser Workstation firmly believe that innovative ideas lead to green agriculture. They adhere to the green development concept of production, ecology and life, give priority to improving the quality of agricultural products, and strive to improve the agricultural ecological environment and provide people with leisure and tourism. Scientific and technological innovation helps them save resources, improve resource utilisation efficiency and achieve high quality and reasonable price of agricultural products. They also innovate policies, develop green, circular and low-carbon agriculture, and provide comprehensive services for modern agriculture to ensure its healthy and sustainable development.
Zhao Yongzhi (left) introduces about strawberries grown cultivation technology.
A temperature humidity meter in a strawberry greenhouse