The “Farm Man Yum” pilot demonstration of lingzhi mushroom farming will use connectivity solutions to improve yields and profits for Thai farmers
5 November 2020 – dtac together with the Chaipattana Foundation and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) signed a memorandum of understanding on a pilot farm of lingzhi mushrooms in Fang, Chiang Mai. The highland agricultural research and development project will feature dtac’s Farm Man Yum smart farming solutions using IoT technology and the dtac Cloud Service Mobile Application. The solution will enable produce harvests in green houses independent of seasons. It will also contribute to creating agricultural knowledge for neighboring communities where farmers can learn to produce high-value produce.
Mr. Boonchai Bencharongkul, Chairman of Total Access Communication PCL or dtac, said, “This collaboration stems from dtac’s commitment to use mobile connectivity, innovation, knowledge and resources to improve the Thai society. Digital innovation can reducing economic disparity and develop businesses in Thailand. Agriculture is one sector that dtac has long focused on, with the dtac Smart Farmer community project in collaboration with Rak Ban Kerd Foundation. The project has empowered farmers with information technology providing real-time weather and pricing information via SMS or the Farmer Info smartphone app. dtac’s latest Farm Man Yum pilot farming solution features IoT technology to improve productivity, reduce costs and enhance farming produce quality. The project is currently introduced to 30 farms in 23 provinces nationwide.”
Lingzhi mushroom – The High Value Produce and Farm Man Yum Solution
The join project began on 1 May 2019 with a feasibility study, followed by the implementation of IoT sensors to monitor the environment in late 2019. The research project is made up of three greenhouses: control, experimental and standard for comparative study. The Chaipattana Foundation identified lingzhi mushrooms as a high-value export product with current buying prices at tens of thousands of Baht per kilogram. One greenhouse can produce a 100,000 Baht harvest.
Traditionally, lingzhi cultivation has been limited to only two seasons: Thailand’s summer (March to April) and rainy season (May to October). Winter, with temperatures in the province as low as 7-10 degrees Celsius, is too cold for the mushrooms to grow as they thrive at 15-28 degrees. Another challenge is that greenhouses are easily contaminated by other spores or pests which can ruin an entire harvest. To better understand these risks, a video surveillance system now monitors the progress of cultivation and signs of pests. The video system also helps farmers and researchers better understand lingzhi cultivation.
While the Chaipattana Foundation oversees the lingzhi mushroom production. the data on revenue, active chemicals, production costs, equipment costs, infrastructure costs and maintenance costs are shared with NECTEC for analysis.
Dr. Chai Wutiwiwatchai, Director of the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center or NECTEC (under NSTDA) said, “NECTEC aims to use the knowledge gained from this lingzhi mushroom smart farming research project as a model for local farmers to learn and reproduce. Within this collaboration between the Chaipattana Foundation, dtac and NECTEC, the role of NECTEC is to study the sensor system in the agricultural and a greenhouse automation system. It can analyze and control the environment for optimal lingzhi production, especially in winter. The Chaipattana Foundation supports the study with its deep knowledge of lingzhi cultivation, as well as conducting joint-testing and data collection. dtac supports the project with internet connectivity for IoT sensors, enabling data to be read via mobile apps for collaborative analyses.”
The automatic climate control system using IR heaters has been designed and installed for optimal and consistent distribution of heat throughout the greenhouse, delivering promising results to increase the number of harvest and their yields.
The research team is due to conduct further research on climate control this coming winter to compare against previous production data. All data in the project is collected by IoT sensors, stored online and accessible via mobile app. The staff of Chaipattana Foundation at Pong Nam Ron sub district, Fang district of Chiang Mai province have also been trained to use the app. Trilateral progress meetings are held quarterly. And the knowledge from this lingzhi mushroom production research will be reproduced and transferred to farmers and other stakeholders, contributing to increased earnings and sustainability for the country.
About Farm Man Yum solution
Farm Man Yum comprises of IoT devices and various sensors to monitor humidity and temperature of the air and soil in smart farms and greenhouses. The devices are remotely and wirelessly controlled via mobile device app allowing the farmer to monitor the produce from anywhere in the world. The farmer has the power of real-time environmental information on the app to make timely, informed decisions. Using Farm Man Yum solution in the long term will contribute to reduction in costs. Systematic keeping and access to data on environmental variables over the entire property contribute to improved agricultural efficiency and productivity. Hence improving the quality of life of Thai farmers sustainably.