These Indian subsistence farmers know just what to do: Pull out their smartphones and take their picture. The farmers then upload the images with GPS locations to a cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) app named Plantix. The app identifies the crop type in the image and spits out a diagnosis of a disease, pest or nutrient deficiency. Plantix also aids farmers by recommending targeted biological or chemical treatments for ailing plants, reducing the volume of agrochemicals in groundwater and waterways that can result from overuse or incorrect application of herbicides and pesticides.
Japanese farmers are testing a new drone that can hover above paddy fields and perform backbreaking tasks in a fraction of the time it takes a labourer. The drone applies pesticides and fertilizer to a rice field in 15 minutes - a job that takes more than an hour by hand and requires farmers to lug around heavy tanks. Developers of the new agricultural drone say it offers high-tech relief for rural communities facing a shortage of labour as young people leave for the cities. Pictured is a farmer in Japan's Tome region trialling the new technology'Our ultimate goal is to lower rice farming costs to one-fourth of what it is now,' Hiroshi Yanagishita, President of Nileworks, the Tokyo drone start-up behind the technology, told reporters Thursday. Nile-T18 was recently tested in Japan's Tome area – a region that has supplied rice to Tokyo since the 17th century.
Environmental author Wendell Berry might shudder at this comparison, but farmers are like data scientists. To make decisions, they ferret out meaning from a sea of data. That data just happens to be related to environmental conditions like temperature, rainfall, salinity, nitrogen, pests, commodity prices, and other variables. What that data often shows is trouble: increasingly costly or scarce water supplies, new and more voracious pests, herbicide-resistant weeds, and extreme weather. All of this can result in lower farm yields and higher costs.
SHANGHAI - An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China's Jiangsu province has killed 44 people and injured more than 600, state media said Friday, the latest casualties in a series of industrial accidents that has angered the public. The blast occurred Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, and the fire was finally brought under control at 3 a.m. Survivors were taken to 16 hospitals with 640 people being treated for injuries. Thirty-two of them were critically injured, it said. The fire, at a plant owned by the Tianjiayi Chemical Co., spread to neighboring factories.