China is an agriculture-orientated country and has thousands years of history in agriculture. Unlike the western world which is based mostly on industry, most agricultural methods were developed hundreds years ago and inherited by the generations afterwards. Although some of them were quite smart, most of them are extremely inefficient and bring lots of environmental concerns. Mr. Zhang said that “The way that farmers treat crop straw is quite simple: just burn them. Although the ash generated by burning of crop straws could enhance soil fertility to certain degree, the associated air and water pollution can not be overlooked. Since rice and wheat are the main agriculture products in south China, this is indeed one of major pollution sources for these areas. The government issues several regulations trying to change the situation, but simply banning the burning is not feasible in current situation and what the Chinese farmers really need is an efficient machine to take the place of burning”.
Also, importing the hay baler from western countries could not solve the problem in China. Mr. Zhang said that “Unlike the US where each family owns a few acres of farming land, the total land size owned in China by each family is quite small and they are usually separately located in different locations, making the usage of large agricultural equipment unfeasible. It severely limits the usage of large equipment in agriculture industry. Therefore, most places need specialized solutions for agricultural problems”.
Moreover, he said that “As the labor is decreasing in China, an effective machine can help solve the problem of labor shortage in the following 15 years”. As inspired by these, Mr. Zhang used his knowledge in engineering and designed the hay baler that could be used by a family to better solve this long-standing problem in agriculture.