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Vertical farming: A big leap towards sustainable farming

The vertical farming reduces the dependency and cost of skilled labourers, weather conditions, soil fertility or high water usage.Nearly 30% profitability can be obtained through this technique.

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vertical farming
Vertical Farming. Image source: Industrytap.com
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What Is Vertical Farming?

Vertical farming is the technique of producing food in stacked layers or on vertically inclined surfaces which comprises of new automated farms. It requires less natural dependency and helps in reducing the dependency and cost of skilled labourers, weather conditions, soil fertility or high water usage.

What Vertical Farming Does?

  • Modern day vertical farming includes controlled environment agriculture technology i.e. CEA technology. All other environmental factors can be controlled using this technique. Techniques such as augmentation of sunlight by artificial lightning and by metal reflectors are also used for producing a similar greenhouse-like effect.
  • Vertical farms is a pesticide-free technique which requires much less input than traditional farming methods and gives much more output.
  • Farms embedded with this technique uses artificial lighting systems that facilitate enhanced photosynthesis. LEDs are placed near plants to impart specific wavelengths of lights for more photosynthesis. This enhances productivity.
  • Aeroponic mist’ is another technique used which helps in supplying the proper amount of oxygen and other soil nutrients. This makes the nature of growth more robust.

Advantages & Benefits of vertical farming techniques are as follows:

  • Vertical farming enables Reliable harvest. With it, the term ‘seasonal crops’ becomes obsolete. Irrespective of sunlight, pests or extreme temperature, these farms can easily meet the demand of contractors anytime.
  • Minimum overheads – Nearly 30% profitability can be obtained through this growing technique.
    • Low energy usage – Use of computerized LEDs by giving proper wavelength reduces energy to a great extent.
    • Low labour costs – Fully automated technique so no skilled labours are required.
    • Low water usage – Controlled transpiration technique are used. It requires only 10% of the water usage of traditional technique.
    • Reduced washing and processing – No pests control required. Reduces the cost of damage washing.
    • Reduced transportation costs – Can be established in any location. This reduces the cost of transportation and usage.
  • Increased growing area – Enables cost effective farming and provides nearly 8 times more productivity.
  • Maximum crop yield – Irrespective of other geographic factors Vertical Farming technique gives maximum yield.
  • A wide range of crops – Growth of crop are maintained by an intensive database which enables them to grow a wide range of crops such as Baby spinach, Baby rocket, Basil, Tatsoi, Leaf lettuce.
  • Fully integrated technology – All environmental factors are closely monitored and are maintained in an optimal range.
    • Optimum air quality
    • Optimum nutrient and mineral quality
    • Optimum water quality
    • Optimum light quality

All these technologies used leads to a dramatic shift in plant growth rates and their yields.

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Prepared by Pritam. Twitter handle @pritam_gogreen

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Farmers To Grow Modified Cotton With Its Seed Edible

Many of the world’s roughly 80 cotton-producing countries, especially in Asia and Africa, have populations that face malnutrition that could be addressed with the new plant

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Cotton
An experimental cotton plant is shown at a Texas A&M research facility in this handout image provided by the Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in College Station, Texas, U.S. VOA

U.S. regulators have cleared the way for farmers to grow a cotton plant genetically modified to make the cottonseed edible for people, a protein-packed potential new food source that could be especially useful in cotton-growing countries beset with malnutrition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Tuesday lifted the regulatory prohibition on cultivation by farmers of the cotton plant, which was developed by Texas A&M University scientists. The plant’s cottonseed cannot be used as food for people or as animal feed yet in the United States because it lacks Food and Drug Administration approval.

Cotton
Cotton plant. pixabay

Cotton is widely grown around the world, with its fiber used to make textiles and the cottonseed used among other things to feed animals such as cattle and sheep that have multiple stomach chambers. Ordinary cottonseed is unfit for humans and many animals to eat because it contains high levels of gossypol, a toxic chemical.

With financial help from a cotton industry group, scientists led by Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant biotechnologist Keerti Rathore used so-called RNAi, or RNA interference, technology to “silence” a gene, virtually eliminating gossypol from the cottonseed. They left gossypol at natural levels in the rest of the plant because it guards against insects and disease.

“To me, personally, it tastes somewhat like chickpea and it could easily be used to make a tasty hummus,” Rathore said of gossypol-free cottonseed.

After cottonseed oil, which can be used for cooking, is extracted, the remaining high-protein meal from the new cotton plant can find many uses, Rathore said.

Cotton
If all of the cottonseed currently produced worldwide were used for human nutrition, it could meet the daily protein requirements of about 575 million people. Pixabay

It can be turned into flour for use in breads, tortillas and other baked goods and used in protein bars, while whole cottonseed kernels, roasted and salted, can be consumed as a snack or to create a peanut butter type of paste, Rathore added.

If all of the cottonseed currently produced worldwide were used for human nutrition, it could meet the daily protein requirements of about 575 million people, Rathore said.

Other countries would have to give regulatory approval for the new cotton plant to be grown, though U.S. regulatory action often is taken into consideration.

Also Read: Food Cooked on The Barbecue Can Impair Your Lungs

The new cottonseed’s biggest commercial use may be as feed for poultry, swine and farmed aquatic species like fish and shrimp, Rathore said.

Many of the world’s roughly 80 cotton-producing countries, especially in Asia and Africa, have populations that face malnutrition that could be addressed with the new plant, Rathore added. (VOA)