Hydroponics systems are today considered as the flagship endeavors in the field of modern farming. It's easy to see, why the hydroponics farming is becoming a global phenomenon day by day. The answer is attributing not only with the growing ambitions among the farmers to achieve more, but also the admission arising within the community about the uncertainty of weather having the increasing effects on their crop.
As the public grows more environmentally conscious, the 'locally grown' food sources are getting preference over the products with more 'road miles' with them. Hydroponics systems provide not only an efficient option for growing crop, but are in sync with the conversational sentiment of the public.
And it is profitable in terms of cost, as the farmers have more freedom to try out the combinations of inputs with every cycle, preserving resources such as water and nutrients.
A commercial grower will certainly look for the maximum utilization of the resources, in order to prevent any waste. This concept is employed in every aspect, whether it's the growth medium or the nutrients.
Growth medium: Being an essentially soil-less culture, an array of growth media are being used in commercial hydroponics systems. Rockwool, Coconut fiber, Perlite, Clay pebbles are some of the examples for the same. However, in more advanced types, roots are kept in air suspension to increase the nutrients absorption altogether eliminating the middle man altogether.
Water: Used in conglomeration with various nutrient solutions, water serves as the reservoir at best. Automated pumps are often employed to force the water through the medium or the roots directly. Systems such as Ebb & flow and NFT, recollect the processed nutrient solutions so as to recycle the water again.
Nutrients: More nutrients formulae targeted for the massive commercial projects are available in market today than ever. Apart from the basic nutrient solutions, formulae targeted at increased quantity And quality are being manufactured. These solutions even come with their own pH stabilizing factors, so the hassles of regular monitoring and control of pH in nutrient solutions are thus mitigated.
Light: A commercial hydroponic setting is essentially built in consideration with light availability. Although a large scale greenhouse must be supported by at least 6 hrs of sunlight, conditions such as this sometimes becomes quite difficult to conjure. Artificial grow lights are employed in such conditions, such as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) pr Metal Halide (MH). Grow lights with capacity of 600 - 1000 watts, providing enough illumination for healthy growth are not uncommon. Equipments such as ballasts and refractors help the grower to efficiently use every photon of light thus reducing the waste.
Air: An indoor hydroponics setting such as a grow room or a greenhouse still need control on factors such as temperature and humidity. Often large scale air conditioning units are used to maintain the optimal temperature around 700F. This scenario changes in the presence of HPS or MH grow light, as heat spewing from bulbs needs much consideration. Humidifiers are used in case dry conditions keeping the air much humid as per the plants needs. Dehumidifier is employed in contrasting conditions.
Diseases: Hydroponics systems have found many admirers due to its usefulness when it comes to preventing pests in general. Though the system is largely maintained clear of any pests, any sign of disease is something to look for nevertheless.
With a hydroponic system, a commercial grower ensures maximum control over the result. With a certain bigger initial cost, the system helps to minimize the cost, by allowing shorter grow cycles for a crop. An automated system of provision requires regular checkup to ensure accidental failure, thus forcing few detrimental effects on the entire crop.
Working through these obstacles, hydroponics systems has proved itself to be an efficient farming technique still, as around 20,000 to 25,000 hectares of land in world are under hydroponic farming raking up 6-8 billion dollars worth of production.
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