SenseCAP LoRaWAN Deployed in Outdoor Triticale Farm, Empowering Precision Agriculture in Dingzhou, Hebei Province, Northern China

Located in the North China Plain, the small city of Dingzhou has a strong focus on agriculture, with the gross agricultural production surpassing 50% of the city’s total output value. And in recent years, the local governments and farmers in Beishao Village in Dingzhou formed a co-op named Beishao Collective Share Cooperative to collectively invest in a crop with higher economic benefits.

(triticale farm in Beishao Village, Dingzhou City)

They chose triticale, a cross between wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale), to be grown in Beishao Village’s collective farms of 1258mu (83.87ha). Because taking care of the farms requires a lot of time and manpower, they are looking for tech solutions to achieve efficiency, traceability, and optimal and sustainable applications of resources at a pilot triticale farm.

(Deploying SenseCAP in the triticale farm)

Seeed partnered with Beishao Co-Op and a Beijing-based system integrator for agriculture, to deploy smart agriculture solutions in one triticale farm. The solution consists of the following: an auto-irrigation system, video/image monitoring system, a remote-control platform, and an environmental data monitoring system that collects 12 different measurements of environmental data that affect the growth of triticale.

(SenseCAP deployed in Triticale farm in Dingzhou)
  • Soil pH
  • Soil electrical conductivity
  • Soil moisture
  • Soil temperature
  • Wind speed
  • Wind direction
  • Light intensity
  • Rainfall volume
  • Photosynthetically active radiation
  • Barometric pressure
  • Air temperature
  • Air humidity
(environment monitoring and data display platform)

The following LoRa gateway and IoT sensors are adopted in this project:

(SenseCAP System Architecture)

By integrating the collected data with control systems, the farmers can manage the farm much more precisely according to the crop‘s needs in a more efficient way with lower labor input yet for a higher yield.

  • When the soil moisture is lower than the preset level, the water pump will be triggered to irrigate automatically. Or the farmers can simply click a button on the web platform to turn the switch on or off. A smart irrigation system is installed to save labor costs and water.
  • Combining the data collected by agriculture sensors and the images and videos captured by the HD cameras, farmers can get better insights of the farm to take actions for pest control or to predict harvest time, etc.
(screenshot of the video captured by the HD camera)

After the IoT Application was fully set up to put into action, the farmers gave us feedback: “It’s really helpful to have this solution. It helps reduce manpower and improve efficiency. Now we do not need to go to the locations of the pumps to turn them on or off manually. So convenient!”

At the same time, Beishao Co-Op has been using social media platforms such as Douyin (Tik Tok), WeChat and Toutiao to promote its local produce: the grains, flour, and noodles made from triticale. The data and images/videos help customers understand triticale’s growing environment. This will eventually strengthen customers’ trust and help promote the Beishao triticale brand.

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

Partners:

  • Beishao Co-Op

Update April 2020: SenseCAP LoRaWAN series products have been deployed at the triticale farm for 1 year and the products still work soundly, albeit after enduring sharp temperature differences in summer and winter. In this past year, Dingzhou’s highest temperature is 39℃ (102.2℉), and the lowest is -15℃ (5℉). There is also a big temperature difference between day and night.

(This chart shows you the temperature difference between day & night in Dingzhou)

About Triticale

Triticale (known as black wheat in China) is a hybrid of wheat and rye. It contains rich nutritional elements, with a higher percentage of minerals, lysine, amino acid, and protein than normal wheat. In China, the wholesale price for triticale is 8RMB/kg, while the normal wheat is 2.4RMB/kg, with yield per mu (0.067ha) at 400kg and 500kg respectively. This means farmers can earn an extra of 2000RMB per mu when growing triticale.

*Mu is a Chinese unit of land measurement, equalling approximately 0.067 hectares or 666.67 square meters.

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.

Updates 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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