Thanks to its knowledge of production control systems and process improvements, Toyota is to help rice farmers in Japan manage their workload with a new IT tool.
The Japanese government is backing the project by Toyota and large-scale tests of the cloud-based system are to begin this month. The project aims to create advanced agricultural management models in order to support the expanding numbers of farmers and landowners.
These small-scale farmers and landowners then entrust the cultivation of their land to large co-operatives. Toyota, for example, has been working with rice growers in Aichi prefecture since 2011 to help them improve their cultivation and productivity.
Previous work by Toyota has included testing trials for the product in 2012, and it has since gone through major improvements, including making the software accessible for the labourers to use.
Toyota’s IT tool will be used to organise data gathered from individual field workers in a central database, so that work across independent rice farms can be managed more efficiently.
The tool encompasses a number of rice paddies over a large area and it is used to distribute daily work plans to labourers across the farms.
It can also be used after the initial growing period to obtain information during the drying and refining phases in the paddies.
The Toyota-developed technology can also be used to collect information about harvest quantity and quality, which will be helpful to farmers as they can analyse the data to grow better-tasting crops.
At the moment, the system is available as a support for major crops, including rice, wheat and soya, but Toyota is keen to grow its development across other products. By doing this the manufacturer hopes it will be able to help revitalise Japanese agriculture.
Overall, the technology has been created by Toyota as a helpful tool, which will see landowners in Japan capable of running their farms more efficiently and with a better end product.