In recent years, the establishment of Hainan Free Trade Port has attracted many high-end researchers to work in the agriculture sector of the island. One of them is Prof. Yang Ranbing, who is specialised in the research and development of mechanisation of field breeding experiments.
After he came to work in Hainan University in November 2021, he threw himself into the development and optimisation of agricultural mechanical equipments suitable for tropical environment. Last year, the project led by him to build a research and test base for the whole-process mechanisation of Nanfan breeding got the green light and the Key Laboratory of Smart Equipments for High-efficient Tropical Agriculture, jointly built by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Hainan province, was unveiled, for which he is the person in charge.
A tropical island, Hainan has an optimal climate and unique sandy soil for sweet potato to grow. But the cost and quality of locally produced sweet potato were not competitive due to the lack of appropriate mechanical equipments, while the high temperature and high humidity hindered manual operation. This problem has now been solved thanks to Prof. Yang’s team, who developed twelve types of smart and mechanical equipments to be used in the whole-process of growing sweet potato in local sandy soil and set up a smart and mechanical production base of sweet potato, the first of its kind in China.
When educating postgraduates majored in agricultural mechanisation, Yang places special emphasis on field-based teaching. He encourages students to take part in the production of mechanical equipments in partner companies, so as to identify the needs of companies and transform theories into professional skills through hands-on experience. “To write out papers suitable for use in farmlands, it is not enough to just focus on learning theories. Students got to conduct fieldwork, applying scholarship to practice,” he said.
“Up to now, we have made some research achievements and technical breakthroughs in the mechanisation of high-efficient tropical agriculture. Currently, we are writing a textbook based on the new technical findings and cases found by us from research,” added him.
In the future, Prof. Yang says he will continue to focus on the needs of the agricultural mechanical equipment industry and integration of latest research findings into teaching to cultivate more innovative, practical, and versatile talents in this field.