Tomato plants in the Dezhou Kaisheng Haofeng Smart Farm are truly towering. Some plants are more than 20 meters tall. Not only, as also their production volumes are huge. Each can carry more than 20 clutches. That is 5-6 times more than in your usual greenhouse plantations. The production volume per square meter can be as much as 40-50 kg.
The Dezhou Kaisheng Haofeng smart greenhouse is located in Shandong and is the largest monomer plastic greenhouse in Asia with a surface area of 25 hectares, or roughly the equivalent of 600 standard basketball courts. Photo taken by Li Yunfeng
Real-time observation of tomato growth
The monomer plastic greenhouse covers an area of 25 hectares, which is entirely devoted to tomato cultivation. A technical engineer is assigned to each greenhouse section and tasked with controlling that tomatos stay healthy. Every plant is registered when the seed sprouts and their weekly development is recorded. Moreover, the growing environment and irrigation are adjusted to meet the specific needs of each tomato plant.
This quantified approach to tomato cultivation is also applied to track and trace of agricultural products. This method clarifies the origin of each tomato and can even determine their genealogy.
The buzzing wings of a bumblebee are the most natural form of pollination for tomato plants. Photo taken by Li Yunfeng
Individual customization: make your own flavor come true
"We don't grow and eat random tomato varieties. In fact, we first think of the flavors and taste we'd like to savor, and then we grow those tomato varieties that match that." That is according to technical engineer Fu Wenqi. Data-monitoring allows for real-time adjustments in fertilizer, which affects the flavor. If clients prefer tart tomatoes, then the smart farm grows tart tomatoes, and if they prefer sweet, then the smart farm grows sweet tomatoes.
The tomatoes are examined and filtered on the fully automated selection line. Tomatoes with bruises, black spots, split skin, or scars are all filtered out. In addition to offline retail, the selected tomatoes are also packaged well and brought to the front door of customers via express delivery platforms such as Pinduoduo.
The Green Walker Fresh flagship store joined the Pinduoduo '10 Billion Yuan Agricultural Initiative' in June and their sales volume already reached 100,000. Photo taken by Li Yunfeng
Dezhou Kaisheng Haofeng opened a flagship store on e-commerce platform Pinduoduo. And they joined the Pinduoduo '10 Billion Yuan Agricultural Initiative' in June. The sales volume of the Green Walker Fresh flagship store already reached 100,000.
Quantified agriculture: farmers no longer have to 'eat what the weather dictates'
"Our smart greenhouse permanently takes the 'eat what the weather dictates' out of the equation," said technical engineer Fu Wenqi. The greenhouse tomatoes are grown in a coconut fiber substrate. Under suitable temperature conditions, the tomato plants sprout in September and grow until July.
The smart greenhouse stood out in the semi-finals of the second 'Great Agricultural Research Competition'. Photo taken by Peng Lai
The 'Great Agricultural Research Competition' is organized by Pinduoduo as one of their many projects that help modernize China's agricultural industry and revive China's rural communities. In August Pinduoduo invested 10 billion yuan [1.57 billion USD] in a dedicated 'Agricultural Research Fund'. That fund is directed at the most important needs in the agricultural industry and in rural communities. In this way, Pinduoduo helps innovate agricultural science and technology and spread the benefits to rural communities throughout the country.