How can aeroponics increase productivity in greenhouses?

How can aeroponics increase productivity in greenhouses?

Greenhouses and polytunnels neatly bridge the gap between outdoor and indoor farming. The levels of control can vary greatly depending on the system: some use LED lights to compliment natural sunlight, deliver nutrients as part of the irrigation process, and sustain warm enough temperatures to grow crops out of season. All these conditions will go some way to protect growers and their produce from the ever-increasing threat of climate change.

Harvesting crops throughout the year with the lowered threat of pests, disease or extreme weather can make greenhouses vastly more productive than land outdoors. With retailers increasingly turning to CEA to help them achieve their sustainability goals, it’s no wonder the commercial greenhouse market size is predicted to grow to $49.26 billion by 2027.

But the reality is that commercial greenhouse growers still see threats to their productivity, especially with extortionate energy costs eating up a healthy chunk of profits. A year on from the start of the Russian war on Ukraine, and parliamentary figures are still working at odds with potential solutions to the energy crisis, leaving individuals and businesses alike struggling to keep afloat. Due to the breadth and scale of their operation, greenhouse growers in particular face a unique set of challenges - and can see their productivity being capped. 

If greenhouse growers are to see an improvement in profits, their operational efficiency and productivity must be improved.

The big picture

Productivity comes down to one core aspect: crop yields. Powering lights alone can make up to 30% of a greenhouses outgoing costs, with labour and operational costs that come with producing and distributing crops at scale eating into potential profits too. Simply turning the lighting off and relying on natural sunlight is one option - but this will only lead to a further drop in productivity, especially in the winter months. If a greenhouse facility is already automated, and is running with minimal staff and a mix of cost-effective energy sources, increasing crop yields is going to be the most effective way to improve profitability. 

Continue reading.

Photo Courtesy of LettUsGROW



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