Tech­nol­ogy tak­ing drudgery out of farm­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

Sun Xueyuan had trouble sum­mon­ing the strength to farm even 1 hectare of land 30 years ago. Now, thanks to agri­cul­tural tech­nol­ogy and bet­ter cul­ti­va­tion prac­tices, he can eas­ily han­dle 20 hectares.

Tend­ing fields is of­ten back­break­ing work, es­pe­cially in places where farm­ers de­pend on weather con­di­tions and their own two hands to en­sure good har­vests. This de­scribes the daily life of Sun, 65, from Yiyang, Hu­nan prov­ince, for decades.

Pre­par­ing rice seeds be­fore plant­ing is the most time-con­sum­ing task dur­ing spring sow­ing sea­son. Tra­di­tion­ally, farm­ers must first soak the seeds and cover them with straw, and then in­su­late the seeds to keep them warm. But they also have to wake up each night to check that the seeds are not over­heated.

“We sel­dom got a good night’s sleep dur­ing this pe­riod,” Sun said.

This year, Sun was able to sleep soundly ev­ery night thanks to mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. “Some­one else took care of the seeds for us, and they did an even bet­ter job,” he said.

All his seeds were sent to the nearby co­op­er­a­tive where pregermi­na­tion is done me­chan­i­cally.

“Our seedling nurs­ery can main­tain a sta­ble tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity, and it ef­fec­tively pro­motes seed growth,” said Liu Chuangye, the co­op­er­a­tive’s op­er­a­tor.

Sun said al­most all the farm­ers in his area now send their seeds there for pre-ger­mi­na­tion “as it’s cost ef­fec­tive”.

In the nearby town of Xieji­aWeChat. pu, Kuang Yongli sought help to plow his 20 hectares of land via The next day, he had three ro­totillers run­ning at full steam.

How­ever, when Kuang first took to farm­ing five years ago, he of­ten spent days look­ing for help to plow the land be­cause farm­ing ma­chin­ery was scarce.

The lo­cal co­op­er­a­tive set up the WeChat group so that ma­chin­ery ex­perts, farm­ers and farm ma­chin­ery providers could di­rectly com­mu­ni­cate with each other.

“Now we can re­serve the ma­chines in real time on WeChat, and each ro­totiller can plow al­most 3 hectares a day,” Kuang said. “The price is also very good, rang­ing from 1,500 to 1,800 yuan ($235 to 285) per hectare.”

Ac­cord­ing to Liu, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy has been ap­plied in ev­ery stage of farm­ing and is be­ing widely ac­cepted by farm­ers.

In nearby Huarong county, housewives are try­ing their hands at har­vest­ing veg­eta­bles and trans­plant­ing rice seedlings. La­bor short­ages used to be a big headache dur­ing spring plant­ing and fall har­vest­ing, but these stay-at-home women have be­come a ma­jor force in tack­ling the prob­lem.

About 50 women have been mo­bi­lized to work in the fields in the busy sea­sons, and more will join this year, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Ande, one of the or­ga­niz­ers.

“By work­ing to­gether and shar­ing re­sources, farm­ing has be­come much more ef­fi­cient and eas­ier,” added farmer Lu Qing­nian.

Our seedling nurs­ery can main­tain a sta­ble tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity, and it ef­fec­tively pro­motes seed growth.”

Liu Chuangye,

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