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Faculty of Agriculture

Using advanced technology to support rich rice paddy agriculture in the future

Professor of Crop Production Science

Hiroshi Fujii

A camera mounted on a drone identifies variations in rice paddies which appear to be cultivated uniformly when viewed with the naked eye.

Using drones in joint research with corporations

Currently, the Yamagata University Faculty of Agriculture is conducting joint research with private corporations (Konica Minolta, Yanmar Heli & Agri, Ito Electronic) in which we used a drone to take photographs from 30 meters above agriculture land. We then used the photographs to analyze cultivation conditions and create a "farm field variability map." We are now developing an automatic dispersion system in which unmanned helicopters will disperse an appropriate amount of fertilizer based on variability.

Thermal images for analyzing the condition of rice. Temperature differences in the rice are indicated by color.

Technological support for future agriculture and Japanese rice paddy culture

The technological development introduced here will enable detailed measures for low-labor low-cost agriculture by reducing the labor burden for large-scale farms formed by the aggregation of farmland, for coping with the retirement of hardworking farmers, for response to an increase in meteorological disasters, and for promotion of agriculture based on environmental protection. Furthermore, these technological developments have the potential to contribute to stable harvests and better-tasting crops. We also aim to contribute to the protection of rice paddies which provide a variety of benefits to people and are part of the countryside scenery which is beloved by Japanese people, to the protection of food supplies, and to the preservation of Japan's unique culture of living in harmony with nature.

Taking advantage of the outstanding environment to cultivate professionals who are skilled at field work.

A broad target including overseas agricultural support

In the future, in addition to the current leaf-color diagnosis for rice paddies, we plan to apply a variety of sensing technologies in order to develop a diagnosis for all cultivation processes. Ultimately, we seek to move beyond rice paddies and apply this diagnosis method to all crops. We aim to contribute to the future of agriculture both in Japan and overseas.