Driving the Future of Smart Farming: How a Young Rice Grower Harnessed Precision Tech for Award-Winning Success in Japan

When 21-year-old Takehiro Mada won the prestigious gold medal of "Your Choice of Japan's Most Delicious Rice Contest" in 2023, his breakout success was a testament not only to his farming prowess, but also to the power of advanced agricultural technology. Just two years into taking over his family's 16-hectare rice and soybean operation in Mirai farm, Tottori Prefecture, Japan, Mada has rapidly made a name for himself as a leader in smart farming around his regions, thanks in large part to his leverage of the AT1 autosteering system from FJDynamics, a global brand in smart robotic devices.

Your Choice of Japan's Most Delicious Rice Contest

Unleashing the Transformative Power of Autosteer
"The AT1 has made a world of difference in my farming business," Mada said. "It reduced my physical fatigue. I can now work more productive and complete tasks with greater accuracy and efficiency."

Mada first learned about the AT1 when he attended a demonstration organized by Fukudanouki (Farm Sky Technologies), an authorized dealer of FJDynamics in his neighborhood. In addition to prompt technical help received from the dealer on site, he was immediately impressed by the system's ease of use and its potential for precision farming operations.

"Driving a tractor precisely is a real big challenge, especially during our busiest times of year," he explained. "It's quite nerve-wracking, and a lot of people around me are not good at it. But the AT1's autosteering takes that burden off my hands, so I can focus on other aspects of my operation."

Streamlining Everyday Operations
Mada estimates that the AT1 has enabled him to reduce the working time per acreage by 10-20% while also cutting his fuel costs. Some of his favorite features include saving guidance line settings for future reuse, adjusting overlap width, and "Smart Approaching", a new function that automatically aligns the tractor with the guidance line.

"These smart capabilities have streamlined my everyday operations in a big way," he said. "I don't have to constantly redraw lines any more, looking back and forth to check and maintain perfect straight passes. The system takes care of all of that."

Overcoming the Challenges of New Farmers
Mada's path to success wasn't always easy, though. When he first took over his family farm in 2021, he admittedly faced some steep learning curves. "The FY2022 White Paper on Food, Agriculture, and Rural Areas listed 'learning farming techniques' as one of the biggest challenges facing new farmers," he explained. "Driving a tractor, in particular, was a big challenge for me at first."

Fortunately, Mada's secret weapon in this was his father, who had been an early adopter of smart farming technologies. Back in 2021, the elder Mada had already implemented drones and the FJD autosteering system on the family's operation. This secret weapon gave Mada a head start, allowing him to explore the potential of these technologies even further and take the lead in their integration into the farming process.

"Because of my father's forward-thinking approach, farming has been made easier for me when I started out," Mada said. "I'm basically a 'pioneer of smart agriculture' in my region." While drones and autosteer systems are becoming more popular among vegetable growers in Tottori, Mada notes that they are still relatively rare around his neighborhood. This has given him a distinct competitive advantage.

"The AT1 has allowed me to work much faster and more precisely than my neighbors," he said. "And the fact that it's constantly being upgraded with new features at no additional cost is a huge bonus."

Pushing the Boundaries with Continuous Innovation
The AT1 has undergone significant enhancements since its debut in Japan in 2020. In January of this year, a major upgrade brought the system's functionality in line with the newer AT2 model, including an improved operator interface.

Pushing the Boundaries with Continuous Innovation

Mada is particularly fond of the "Smart Approaching" feature, which he said has saved him substantial time and effort. "As long as the tractor is within 90 degrees of the line, the system can automatically steer it into the correct position," he explained. "No more tedious manual adjustments."

"Smart farming has the magic to shake up our industry," he said. "Not only does it make the work much more productive, but it also brings in a new era of innovation to encourage the younger generation farmers like me who might have previously been deterred by the realities of traditional farming."

Guidance Line Translation" feature, which he said has saved him substantial time and effort.

Envisioning the Future of Autonomous Farming
As Mada looks to the future, he envisions a time when farming practices are empowered with more automation—characterized by more autonomous, precise, and data-driven operations "To put it bluntly, I'd love to see a tractor with an autosteer system that can work independently in a rice field, almost like a self-driving car," he said. "I think that would be incredibly exciting and meaningful for the future of Japanese agriculture." Mada believes that as smart devices become more prevalent on farms, the public perception of agriculture will shift from traditional "coolie" labor to futuristic "cool" adventure.

For Mada, the AT1 autosteer system has been a game-changer that has unlocked new levels of precision, productivity, and profitability on his family's farm. As he continues to keep a close eye on the latest advancements in smart farming, he's optimistic that the FJD system will play a crucial role in shaping the future of Japanese agriculture.

"This is the kind of innovation that will capture the imagination of the next generation of farmers," he said. "The AT1 frees our hands, boosts our efficiency, and makes precision farming accessible. It's an invaluable tool that I'm proud to have in my arsenal as I work to feed Japan and showcase the incredible potential of smart agriculture."

Hands-Free and More Productive
FJD AT1 Autosteering Kit uses GNSS and RTK to navigate tractors along straight lines, curves, or concentric circles with sub-inch (2.5cm) accuracy. This auto steer works with a wide array of tractors, harvesters, and other agricultural machines.

The AT2 auto steer system is an advanced GPS-guided steering technology that automates a tractor's steering, increasing agricultural efficiency and precision while reducing operator fatigue and fuel consumption.precision farming.what is precision agriculture.

Learn more about other autosteering system.

AT2 Auto Steer System

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