Smart Agriculture in Mengding Mountain to Monitor Key Environmental Data with SenseCAP LoRaWAN for Increasing Efficiency and Customer Trust

SenseCAP LoRaWAN products deployed in high-mountain tea plantations in Sichuan province, helping tea farmers increase efficiency and customer trust.

location of the tea plantation where IoT wireless sensors are deployed

While tea growing has enjoyed a long history in China, the new generation of tea farmers finds it a tough task to carry on their family legacy in traditional ways. Deng is a millennial farmer who has taken over his family’s 3.3-hectare tea plantation, situated at 1100 meters above sea level in Mengding Mountain near Ya’an City, Sichuan Province in Southwest China.

The high-mountain tea plantation where IoT sensors are deployed

Deng has encountered the following problems:

  • low planting density, with high management cost
  • uneven budding, with a low yield
  • difficulty in demonstrating the tea’s organic environment in the high mountains, thus making it difficult to get a good price or recognition for his brand, YI YE SHENG.
Millennial farmer Deng in his high-mountain tea plantation where IoT sensors are deployed

To tackle these problems, Deng was willing to embrace smart farming technology. He was immediately an ideal candidate when we began searching for a pilot farm to test Seeed’s SenseCAP, the wireless IoT sensor network solution. The smart agriculture solution, which is wittily named “IoTea” for this pilot tea project, was deployed in Deng’s plantation in the high-altitude Mengding Mountain in 2018.

SenseCAP LoRaWAN wireless sensors deployed in the tea plantation
(SenseCAP LoRaWAN wireless sensors deployed in Deng’s high-mountain tea plantation)

The IoT application consists of LoRa gateways and sensor nodes:

the architecture shows how the data is collected at the tea plantation and transmitted to the cloud

With the solution deployed in the tea plantation, Deng is able to monitor the following environmental data which are crucial to tea quality. Among these data, air humidity, temperature, and atmospheric pressure are the main parameters proving the tea’s high-mountain environment.

real-time environmental data collected by the LoRaWAN wireless sensors
(IoTea Real-time Data)
  • Air Temperature
  • Air Humidity
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Light Intensity
  • CO2
  • Soil Moisture
  • Soil Temperature
historical environmental data collected by the LoRaWAN wireless sensors
(IoTea historical data)

The environmental data collected provides insights for Deng to manage the farm more efficiently, and with lower labor cost.

More importantly, the historical and real-time environmental data of the farm where their tea is from is made available to end customers, who simply scan the QR code on the tea’s packaging to access the webpage containing the data in graphs. Thus, the tea-growing environment is traceable by the customers, proving the green tea they are enjoying is in fact from the high mountains.

In this way, Deng can gradually build up his brand with loyal customers, and supply to end-users directly with a better price, instead of only selling to large tea companies who dominate the market.

The high-mountain tea harvested from Deng's tea plantation, with a QR Code to see the real-time & historical data

This project also helps contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals.

SenseCAP wireless Sensors contribute to SDGSs

About High-mountain Tea

High-mountain tea refers to teas grown in high mountains that are higher than 1000 meters above sea level. Due to the large temperature difference between night and day, the high air humidity and the thick mist, the teas grown in this environment usually contain a higher chlorophyll and amino acids in the tea leaves, which are responsible for the tea quality including its color and taste. The high-mountain tea leaves feature thickness in texture, fresh green in color, and density in trichomes, resulting in rich milky flavors and pleasant floral aromas.

Partners: Yi Ye Sheng

Update April 2020

Here are some photos taken at the tea plantation in late March. And you can see the weatherbeaten SenseCAP still works like a charm after being deployed at Mr. Deng’s tea plantation at Mengding Mountain (1000meters above sea level) for almost 2 years!

What is SenseCAP?

SenseCAP is a series of industrial IoT products. Its LoRaWAN version is based on LoRaWAN protocol and deployable worldwide with multiple ISM bands. SenseCAP is encapsulated in an IP66 enclosure, making it applicable in outdoor remote sensing scenarios such as Smart Farming, Smart City, and other IoT applications that need low-power, long-distance and long-term data collection.

Update May 2020: SenseCAP LoRaWAN sensors and gateways are currently available for purchase. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here, email us (iot[at]seeed[dot].cc), or join the discussion at Seeed Forum.

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December 2019