By Feature Editor Kim Hyung-dae
Rural Development Administration improves agricultural productivity using digital technology.
It is expected that digital technology that brings together technologies related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as big data and artificial intelligence, will be used in the agricultural field to greatly increase agricultural productivity.
The Rural Development Administration (led by Administrator Park Byung-Hong) announced that his Administration has selected 10 core tasks to implement digital agriculture in the agricultural field at an early stage.
Digital technology is accelerating digital transformation in all fields of society and economy.
Advanced agricultural countries are using big data in overall agriculture, and through this, they are promoting rapid economic development and agricultural innovation.
On the other hand, in Korea, despite the government's promotion of digital transformation, data are being used to a limited extent, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) being operated in some greenhouses.
In March 2021, the Rural Development Administration announced and is promoting the ‘Digital Agriculture Promotion Basic Plan’ to realize sustainable agriculture by realizing scientific farming based on data.
In order to accelerate the digital transformation of agriculture, the RAD announced that it would lead the innovation in the agricultural field by selecting 10 core tasks that utilize data and artificial intelligence technology in the agricultural field.
The 10 core tasks selected by the Rural Development Administration to lead digital agriculture are as follows.
1. Advanced 'Smart Farm Optimal Environment Control System' in which artificial intelligence controls the optimal environment by analyzing the environment, growth, and management data of the smart farm for horticulture
2. Outdoor agriculture Development of ‘open field precision farming system’ that recommends fertilizer usage according to optimal water management and soil nutrient conditions for each crop and growth stage
3. Development and commercialization of ‘autonomous driving agricultural machinery’ such as autonomous driving rice transplanters and tractors, and ‘agricultural robots’ that take the place of labor-intensive weed removal, harvest and transportation, control, and livestock manure treatment
4. Expansion of the ‘agricultural meteorological forecast and early warning service for meteorological disasters’ that subdivides the weather forecast issued by the Korea Meteorological Administration to each farm unit by using meteorological and soil data and topographical information around the farm.
5. Dissemination of ‘Artificial Intelligence Pest Diagnosis Service’ that enables unmanned control by diagnosing pests and physiological disorders at an early stage with deep learning technology using image data
6. Practical use of ‘livestock management and disease early detection service,’ which predicts diseases in real time by analyzing the activity of livestock and predicts breeding times such as heat and pregnancy for precise management of each individual
7. Establishment of a ‘digital breeding system’ that efficiently selects excellent strains by analyzing multiple omics information such as expression bodies and genomes
8. Implementation of a ‘data-based agricultural management diagnosis service’ that can diagnose the management status of farms, provide customized prescriptions, and increase profitability by formulating a product shipment strategy based on data
9. Developing and designing of a rural space regeneration plan based on data and develop a ‘digital-based rural space regeneration model’ that utilizes idle space based on a sharing economy platform.
10. Development of ‘agricultural technology guide chatbot service’ for interactive consultation to solve questions and difficulties while farming
To successfully perform the 10 core tasks, the following are needed, namely: (1) big data, (2) artificial intelligence, (3) robot/autonomous driving, (4) drone/satellite, and (5) metaverse/digital twin are required.
The big data sector plans to focus on data collection and openness.
The Rural Development Administration is opening 219 public data including soil information.
This year, the RDA plans to open a total of 240 public data by adding 21 data including fruit tree growth quality data.
Research data produced during the research process is also shared and opened to promote data research.
This year, the RDA plans to strengthen the big data analysis function by introducing additional supercomputers, and we plan to open it up to researchers at universities and the like.
In the field of artificial intelligence, data utilization and base expansion are promoted.
The RDA is nurturing artificial intelligence experts in various fields such as crop cultivation, pests and pests, and agricultural management, and we are also promoting cooperation with companies specializing in artificial intelligence.
An artificial intelligence farming contest using data opened by the Rural Development Administration will also be held.
In the field of robots/autonomous driving, the development of robots that can replace agricultural labor is focused on.
The RDA will expand the spread of self-driving rice transplanters and promote the commercialization of self-driving tractors.
Currently, the RDA is developing harvesting and transporting robots, orchard pesticide control robots, weeding robots, and livestock manure cleaning robots.
Agricultural robot competitions are also held to revitalize agricultural robots.
In the drone/satellite field, technology development and system improvement that can utilize drones in all fields of agriculture are promoted to reduce labor required for agricultural work and innovatively improve agricultural productivity.
The RDA will also focus on the development of drone-attached agricultural equipment that can be used for seeding, fertilizing, and pesticide application of major crops.
The RDA plans to develop a technology for diagnosing crop growth and predicting yields by reading images taken by drones, and based on this, we plan to develop a system that enables precise agricultural work in connection with ground agricultural machinery such as tractors.
The development of a medium-sized satellite payload for agriculture, which is scheduled to be launched in 2025, is also in progress.
In line with the launch of agricultural satellites, domestic and foreign crop diagnosis technology using satellite images is also being developed.
In order to respond to obstacles when using drones in the field, support policies for related industrial ecosystems, such as system improvement and reinforcement of education and training, are also planned to be pursued in parallel.
In the twin field of metaverse/digital areas, the RDA plans to actively discover and promote materials applicable to agriculture.
The RDA is developing a smart farm simulator that can grow tomatoes in a three-dimensional virtual space using data from real-world smart farm farms.
The farmers can experience a healing program at a virtual healing farm by using a VR device without visiting the countryside.
If the farmers use the tractor simulator, you can easily learn to drive or repair agricultural machinery themselves.
It can also be used to sell agricultural products by linking the real and virtual space.
The Rural Development Administration plans to invest 87.8 billion won this year to develop and disseminate digital agricultural technology, including 10 core tasks.
Administrator Park of the Rural Development Administration states, “The trend of the 4th industrial revolution is an undeniable reality. We will take the lead.”