Exploring the rumors: There are no people in Xinjiang’s cotton fields, and two people have to manage 3000 acres

As soon as autumn came in Yuli County, Xinjiang, cotton began to rush to mature.

People pass by rows of golden white poplar trees to the vast white cotton fields, where cotton spit spreads to the ground like clouds and waves, rippling with the happiness of Xinjiang farmers’ harvest.

However, this kind of happiness has become extremely outrageous some time ago.

In order to understand the story of Xinjiang cotton, we want to start with cotton sowing and see how everything happened.

As the leader in the field of agricultural science and technology, Jifei Technology launched the country's first unmanned cotton rural project in Yuli County last week.

They contracted a piece of land by themselves, and let the two post-90s manage 3,000 mu of cotton fields here, proving that unmanned management is enough to make large-scale planting a simple matter.

This also uses facts to directly show that some rumors about Xinjiang are purely nonsense.

Ai Faner also went to the scene to explore this vast cotton field, and entered the Xinjiang cotton factory to observe the whole process of cotton from cotton batting to cotton products.

In this small county, a "cotton empire" innovation is being launched.

Walking from cotton field to cotton factory, watching "unmanned" change Xinjiang cotton

Xinjiang is my country’s largest commercial cotton production base and one of the world’s three largest cotton-producing regions. Xinjiang’s cotton production accounts for about 87% of the country’s cotton production.

Faced with huge demand, huge production capacity is also needed.

In the early days, when people were going to go down in the cotton fields, they faced the loess with their backs to the sky, sweated down the soil every day, and suffered pesticide damage to the human body. Even if they had a tractor, there was inevitably a yawning man on it. The driver.

▲Precious images of farmers who went down to the soil in early history to fight medicine for cotton fields

And now, data in 2020 show that the mechanical recovery rate of cotton in Xinjiang has reached 69.83%, 40% in southern Xinjiang, and more than 95% in northern Xinjiang . A large number of cotton pickers densely clothed cotton fields has long been the history in old photos. Now the 3,000 mu cotton field does not require much manpower at all, because only 30-40 long-term workers are used to manage the field inspection.

This time, there are only two young people to manage this cotton field.

The two born in the 90s, named Ai Haipeng and Ling Lei, were pilots who piloted plant protection drones and later became researchers in cotton planting technology. ​They intend to use a series of "unmanned" tools and techniques to show the whole process of planting large-scale cotton fields. If they can, so can more young people.

And April is the best time for cotton planting.

When we walked into the 3000 acres of cotton field managed by the two post-90s, we could only see a barren yellow land, sand and gravel dancing frantically on the ground, and a few rows of sparse poplar trees standing proudly in the distance. The boundary of this vast land.

How wide is 3000 acres? If you have no idea, it is about the size of 280 standard football fields.

The first thing these two people have to do is to use the soil monitor to determine the most suitable date for cotton sowing. Whether this date is early or late, it will affect the harvest.

The co-founder of Jifei Technology Gong Qin told us that some villagers planted cotton seeds in advance in order to be the first to sell cotton. Unexpectedly, it suddenly snowed in Urumqi later, and all the cotton seeds planted in advance died.

Now, the soil detector can detect 40 cm from the surface to the bottom of the ground, and then in the background can estimate the most suitable date for planting based on the temperature, and then start the planter to work.

When entering more than 30 kilometers south of Korla, Xinjiang-the entrance to the 3000 acres of cotton fields, the most conspicuous among them is the few unmanned planters that drive back and forth on the land. They are already working non-stop.

▲ Farmers are monitoring on the vehicle at the moment, and the unmanned planter can also act by themselves​

"Unmanned" can be realized because the planter is equipped with a Jifei agricultural machinery autopilot, which can make the planter automatically go out of a straight line and sow cotton seeds on a large scale, so that mechanical harvesting is more convenient. .

The results of sowing seeds will be recorded in real-time in the cloud, and the scene can be viewed remotely on the mobile phone, so that one person can manage many agricultural machinery.

About 20 days after sowing, the cotton will sprout one after another.

After this, most of the management process has also been "unmanned." We also visited local farmers and asked about their experience of growing cotton in the past two years.

Next, came the use of remote sensing drones.

It is not like a person who has to sleep and rest, but can fly on the cotton ground for 24 hours, and then shoot high-definition digital maps of the cotton field. The drone using RTK technology (Real-time kinematic, real-time dynamic difference technology) can achieve positioning accuracy. cm.

These pictures will be uploaded to the intelligent agricultural management system behind Jifei, and the system can analyze the basic cotton seedlings through AI and give suggestions for repairs.

In the past, the labor cost of cotton fields was too high, and the production management was also very extensive, but now farmers can quickly find out where the seedlings are lacking by looking at real-time pictures and intelligent results, and then go to repopulate and improve them in time.

After more than a month, the longer and higher the cotton, Jifei's agricultural drones and agricultural unmanned vehicles, they will be fully autonomously spraying medicine and fertilizer.

In the past, manual pesticide spraying was time-consuming and labor-intensive, and pesticides could easily cause harm to the human body. Although later tractor spraying was automated, it was crushed into high-density cotton fields, which could easily reduce cotton production.

Now drones can spray in the air, not only will not damage any cotton, but the spraying is also more uniform and accurate, and the efficiency is higher.

At the same time, farmers can directly use mobile phones or computers at home to directly watch and judge whether pesticides have been accurately sprayed, whether cotton has been attacked by pests, and whether there are weeds that rob the cotton of nutrients.

What is established here is a set of agricultural Internet of Things equipment that manages from the field to the back.

It includes smart cameras, weather stations, detectors, etc., just like a smart scarecrow that can move. It collects cotton images, weather, and soil data in real time within 140 days from the sowing of cotton to the harvest of cotton, and then informs the "owner" "The growth status of cotton, standing guard for the cotton fields throughout the day.

On the day we went to see the cotton sowing, a strong wind happened to blow, dry sand and dust blew on the yellow soil, and many farmers were busy inspecting and handling the disaster-stricken farmland.

At this time, the Internet of Things equipment built in the farmland can also detect the disaster, and then prescribe the right medicine.

After the growth period, to the most critical autumn harvest season, farmers will also use autonomous agricultural drones to spray defoliants to ensure maximum cotton harvesting productivity.

The defoliant can make the cotton leaves mature and fall off quickly, and then the machine can concentrate on harvesting. It can also make the cotton more "pure" without excessive leaves and other impurities.

It can be seen that in the past few months, people can see what is happening in the cotton field without having to go to the ground in person, and then manage symptomatically; without manual calculation and judgment, the system will intelligently analyze and give decision-making recommendations—— Farmers are only used as people who maintain the system.

In the entire process of cotton from seeding to production, the manual part has been scarce, and the output and quality of agricultural products are getting higher and higher.

▲ Last year's cotton picked up by Jifei Xinjiang Operation Center

When the cotton is harvested, they will be sent to the cotton factory.

We went to a cotton factory on the second day of our trip to Xinjiang. This year’s new cotton has just been sown, and the workers are processing last year’s cotton.

Surprisingly, the entire factory area did not see all the workers in the memory who were neatly aligned, with apathetic eyes and repeated the same actions in their hands. In each factory, there were probably 3-5 workers. Their main job was Supervision and inspection.

These people shuttled between large machinery and small aisles. Different types of machines are running at high speed. We are also witnessing the process of cotton from batting to cotton thread——

First, loosen the cotton into uniform cotton threads, then combine them to remove dust, remove cotton seeds and debris, and then the fluffy cotton will fall on the carding machine and be carded into slivers;

Then these slivers are combined together for further combing, the short fibers are removed to make the thickness of the cotton yarn consistent, and finally the drawing is carried out, that is, the slivers are connected together and compressed into roving and fine yarn. These yarns will become different Fabric.

This is just part of the "mission" that Cotton has accomplished.

We haven't visited all the factories that produce cotton products, but we can also see the popularity of "automation" in cotton factories here.

By the fall of this year, the two young people from Jifei will also send cotton from 3,000 acres of cotton fields to the cotton factory.

Ai Faner also planted a handful of seeds here. We will go to Xinjiang again in September to verify the actual results of this land.

This is the change that technology has brought to the cotton industry, and it is also the change that technology has brought to people.

It has changed not only the urban residents holding their mobile phones every day, but also the farmers who had to work their lives in the fields.

More and more young people will join the "Cotton Army"

If the 3,000 mu cotton field goes well, Gong Zuoqin, the co-founder of Jifei Technology, said that more than 900 tons of high-quality Xinjiang cotton can be harvested from this land this year, with an expected income of more than 2 million yuan.

Therefore, the two post-90s can each get the first bucket of "1 million" in their lives.

For most young people, earning 1 million in a short period of time is indeed an exciting return.

Now, the degree of mechanization of cotton cultivation, planting, and harvesting in Xinjiang has become higher and higher, and the popularity of machine-picking cotton has also increased the income of cotton growers.

Jifei's activity this time is also like a future experiment. They plan to let the two young people try to see if the unmanned farm model can be replicated and promoted.

Although the answer for 3,000 mu will be announced in autumn, this process has already been seen by more young people. Without the need for farming experience, people can use unmanned technology to efficiently farm and manage the fields scientifically, and they can also gain richness. income.

Internationally, my country's plant protection drones are "outstanding". The country's plant protection drones have more than 80,000 units, and they have actually become the world's first in terms of total equipment and operating area.

Jifei has always been at the forefront of agricultural science and technology, and has a great appeal in this regard.

They began to take root in the cotton field in September 2013. From the very beginning of the drone company, they have now become an intelligent technology company with agricultural drones, agricultural unmanned vehicles, agricultural autopilots, agricultural Internet of Things and smart agriculture. A series of agricultural technology products such as management systems.

At the same time, Jifei also put forward the concept of "new farmers", hoping that technology will make farmers one of the coolest professions, and also hope that more young people can return to their hometowns to start businesses and revitalize their hometowns.

It is said that after the employees of Jifei last year mastered the skills of growing cotton, 1/4 of them went to "farm".

As for how young people manage the "unmanned" cotton fields, Haipeng introduced to us at that time that the two of them manage 3000 acres of land, and the four main abilities they must possess are:

  • Rich knowledge of crop science
  • Selective outsourcing services
  • High-efficiency automation equipment
  • Intelligent agricultural AI

When Ai Faner asked Gong Juqin whether this is a simple job for young graduates, and how can it be easier to get started, Gong Juqin smiled and said, "In fact, it is better to find a partner."

Then he added seriously: If AI "grows up", then you don't need a partner anymore.

He mentioned that on the four major crops in China that are now extremely powerful, the crop model has been perfected to control various variables in real time according to regional conditions, but there are still more than 300 variable factors. Currently, the variables that can be identified and made decisions are probably 10-20 kinds.

"If all the more than 300 variables are completed, then there is really nothing to do in farming," Gong Yanqin said.

We are not to be a more efficient tool, but to replace people.

Although Jifei agricultural drones are used in 75% of the machine-picked cotton fields in Xinjiang, the degree of mechanization of farmland is already very high, but in fact, China's agriculture is still weak in terms of automation management.

In addition to farming, planting, and harvesting, "management" is also a crucial link.

In turn, the mechanical level of cotton farming and harvesting can reach 100%. The mechanization rate of the sowing link including mulching, drilling, and sowing is 80%, and the management link includes field inspection, weeding, spraying, watering, Fertilization and topping, the mechanical rate of this part is only 20%.

Together with the more than 300 million yuan C++ round of financing just obtained in March, Jifei has become the company that has received the largest financing in the field of agricultural science and technology in China. In the future, they will have more moves. This also reveals the digitalization of agriculture. Business prospects.

Not only Jifei, but also many companies are eyeing the digitalization of agriculture.

For example, Huawei proposed the "Internet Farm", Alibaba established the Digital Agriculture Division, the Smart Agriculture Community in Jingdong City, and DJI also continued to make efforts on smart agricultural machines. They are all vying to make the whole process of agricultural planting become "unmanned."化".

In the process of making unmanned agriculture progress together, more young people are also needed to participate, so that the future of 100% unmanned farms will come as soon as possible.

They will see that the current countryside is no longer full of heavy and inefficient coolies, and it is not all the comfort of returning to the garden. The wave of the latest technology is also surging here.

Some pictures in the article are from Jifei Technology

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