Technology taking drudgery out of farming
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.”