5G for Smart Farms, a Step Further towards Agricultural Modernization

5G for Smart Farms, a Step Further towards Agricultural Modernization

Baked earth burns bare feet

Sunlight sets their backs ablaze

Too worn out to heed the heat

Grudging the shortness of the long summer day

— Bai Juyi

This is one of the poems vividly describing the hardships farmers have faced for thousands of years.

In the past, diligent farmers would only sleep for a little over five hours a day during the wheat harvest and started their harvest in the scorching heat. These days, hectares of wheat can be harvested just by pressing some buttons in an autonomous harvester. The advanced technologies in modern farms have completely transformed farming just like something from a science fiction movie.

Unmanned harvesting is one of the procedures of future farming.

Each grain in a bowl of rice is a result of hard labor. With the help of these technologies, we can now make farming easier.

Recently, China Mobile Zibo partnered with Huawei to deploy the first 5G site on the Hefeng Unmanned Farm in Linzi District of Zibo. The farm covers an area of about 33 hectares and was jointly established by Professor Lan Yubin of Shandong University of Technology and Zibo Hefeng Seed, a seed production company. It is a nation-leading showcase of how modern, high-efficiency farming can be integrated with the new generation of ICT technology.

China Mobile Zibo partnered with Huawei to deploy the first 5G site on the Hefeng Unmanned Farm

Hefeng Unmanned Farm

In the future, advanced technologies such as 5G, image recognition, satellite remote sensing, and big data, will be combined with comprehensive information management systems using an agriculture cloud platform. This will enable the automated operation of various unmanned agricultural machines to cover the ploughing, planting, and management phases of wheat and corn farming. The technology can be applied to equipment like crop protection drones, high-clearance crop protection machines, and other crop protection machines, as well as to rotary cultivators, corn planters, and sprinkler systems. The aim is to achieve secure, reliable, environmentally-friendly, and energy-efficient operations and also to make Hefeng Unmanned Farm an example of the possibilities of autonomous farming.

Applying advanced technologies to agriculture to get it closer to industrialization and scale-up is a must for becoming a modern society. It is also an important step in attaining self-sufficiency and large-scale production of crops.

Currently, agricultural big data is shifting its focus from technological innovation to application innovation. 5G, with its high bandwidth, low latency, and massive connection, will generate massive amounts of original data and let equipment and machines be controlled remotely; all of this is to facilitate the evolution of smart agriculture.

More and more new technologies are being applied to agriculture, such as mobile web, Internet of Things, image recognition, big data, and smart decision-making. Agriculture is moving towards lean and smart management as well as digitalization, with online agriculture beginning to emerge. Such applications of this technology have played an increasingly important role in improving land yield, resource usage, and productivity.