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KUBOTA and NEC begin smart farming trials for sugar cane cultivation

March 2, 2022 - KUBOTA Corporation (KUBOTA) has begun smart farming trials on sugar cane cultivation at Tokunoshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, with NEC Corporation (NEC), Nansei Cane Sugar Mfg. Co.,Ltd., Nansei Services, Ltd., and the Tokunoshima Office, Kagoshima Prefectural Office, Agri Dissemination Division (Agri Dissemination Division).

Harvesting Process
Installed Sensor

1. Background and objective

The cultivated acreage of Tokunoshima Island, the largest of the Amami Islands, reaches about 7,000 hectares, covering about 28% of the island's area. Since the quality of sugar, which is the core crop of Tokunoshima, drops over time after harvesting, it is necessary to perform immediate sugar manufacturing work after harvesting, and there is a need to reflect the status of harvesting work in the operation plan at the sugar manufacturing plant.

Since the status of current harvesting operations cannot be controlled and shared in a timely fashion, it is difficult to predict the amount of sugar cane collection for a sugar plant. This has influenced such factors as requiring longer operation times from day to day, and longer waiting times until the sugar cane can be collected. This demonstration experiment is being carried out in collaboration with Nansei Service, which manages approximately 3,000 ha of sugar cane farmland, where sugar cane harvesters transmit operation information to KUBOTA's KSAS farming support system. The trials will also verify the position of agricultural machinery, all of which will help to understand the progress of harvesting operations.

In order to improve the yields of sugar cane, it is necessary to quickly and accurately understand the conditions at the beginning of growth and to carry out additional operations such as complementary planting. At present, the growth status of crops is being checked visually, which requires a great deal of time and effort. In this demonstration experiment, NEC's CropScope farming ICT platform will be used to understand initial growth conditions and predict yields by AI analysis of images taken with satellites and drones.

Through these trials, data necessary for solving the challenges of sugar cane producers and sugar producers will be collected and accumulated, and the next generation of sugar cane cultivation will be established using data to help stabilize yield and quality and to optimize the operation of sugar factories.

2. Outline of the trials

Duration Two years, starting from February 2022
Content (KUBOTA)
Tracking the progress of harvesting using the farming support system ”KSAS”
Understand initial growth conditions and forecast yields using the agriculture ICT-platform “CropScope”
Location Tokunoshima-cho, Oshima-gun, Kagoshima Prefecture
Target area 40ha

3. Main Role Sharing

Company name and
organization name
Address Main Roles
NEC Minato-ku, Tokyo Analyzing data using CropScope
Nansei Cane Sugar Mfg. Co.,Ltd. Amagi-cho, Oshima-gun, Kagoshima Prefecture Examination of optimization methods for the operation of sugar plants in conjunction with the progress of harvesting
Nansei Service, Ltd. Amagi-cho, Oshima-gun, Kagoshima Prefecture Confirmation and farming in experimental fields and information entry into KSAS
Farm Dissemination Division Tokunoshima-cho, Oshima-gun,
Kagoshima Prefecture
Farming guidance for local farmers
KUBOTA Corporation/
Naniwa-ku, Osaka/
Kirishima, Kagoshima
Planning and developing functions to automatically track the progress of harvesting using KSAS


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