It is really strange that I cannot find anyone in the fields of Aksu, the area of the No.1 Division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), during such a rush season of winter irrigation. What is even stranger is that I see water quietly flowing in the channels and then it automatically shuts off after irrigation is complete.
Water dispatcher Zhang Liang said, “I don’t need to go to the field in person. All I need to do is sit in the office and click a mouse to control the irrigation system.”
Zhang told me that the regiment installed infrared monitoring equipment at 22 drain gates. These devices can automatically collect information on temperature, wind speed, evaporation, daily sunshine radiation, and water content of the land. It can indicate when it is time to water the crops and how much water is needed. Once irrigation is completed, the computer issues a command to shut down the water irrigation system. In this way, 4,700 mu of cotton fields can be watered each day.
Agricultural No.1 Division No. 3 Regiment not only developed the informationization of irrigation, but also introduced advanced technology in growing cottons. “By using advanced technology, the value of output per mu increased by at least 400 yuan. The area of land managed by one person increased from 40 mu to 200 mu. Labor productivity was enhanced by 25 times.”