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Hydropolis » Blog » Controlled Environment Agriculture
11.08.2022 Autor: Hydropolis

Controlled Environment Agriculture

Hydropolis » Blog » Controlled Environment Agriculture
Autor: Hydropolis

Does controlled cultivation technology sound like a phrase from science fiction movies? Today it is an increasingly common solution used in vertical farming. It helps reduce operational costs and creates the best growth conditions for plants.

Source: Hydropolis

Controlled Environment Agriculture Explained

Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is a method of growing produce inside isolated spaces while creating a specific ecosystem, which creates optimal growth conditions for plants. Such cultivation is possible inside a greenhouse, factory, warehouse, or empty, inhabited building. Usually it is controlled by a special software, which automatically sets the appropriate parameters in the cultivation area, such as the amount of the dosed nutrient solution, its recirculation, watering cycles, lighting, temperature, air humidity, and gas concentration. One of the most common farming methods used in CEA are hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics.

Using CEA methods guarantees healthy and reliable crop production but also ensures its high quality. The nutritional values of plants grown within a controlled environment are as good as their counterparts in field crops. If CEA works properly, it may have a better and healthier composition. In addition, it is not necessary to use plant protection products with this method, which benefits the health value of the products.

Farming within a controlled environment optimizes farm processes and reduces energy, water, space, and labor consumption. What are the other benefits of this solution? First, the crops are insulated and protected against harmful external factors, such as soil or air pollution and unpredictable weather conditions. In addition, plants are protected against the occurrence of pests or diseases caused by bacteria.

Source: Hydropolis

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Automation in Agriculture

Automation in agriculture is often referred to as smart farming. It is a variety of technological innovations used in farm and crop management. It is an indispensable element of controlled environment agriculture. The automation task is to control growing processes, prepare crops for harvesting and monitor the condition and state of crop production. Smart farming aims to increase the efficiency of food production, increase crop quality and reduce labor inputs. It’s common in modern farm automation to use artificial intelligence and robotics, which helps maximize crop yields and ensure more efficient and reliable food production.

Growing Food on Demand

Thanks to the use of automation and robotics in agriculture, most of the daily, repetitive activities are performed automatically. That significantly decreases the need for manual work. The farmer’s tasks are limited to operating automation, monitoring processes, and managing farm management software. That makes it a great solution for farmers facing labor shortages. Using robotics in planting, irrigation, harvesting, and crop management allows for reducing labor input. Moreover, using automation in vertical farming allows for year-round, local crops that are less harmful to the environment.

However, these are not all the benefits of automation. Thanks to the possibility of creating any indoor environment, the user is protected against excessive cold, limited sunlight, droughts, or floods. The seasons are no longer the limit to achieving fresh crops all year round. The use of automation can also make farming more profitable while reducing the carbon footprint.

Source: Hydropolis

Crop Management Software

At Hydropolis, we have developed crop management software suitable for vertical farming. Our technology combines elements of advanced engineering and automation, i.e., vertical farm installation, innovative HydroLED lamps, intelligent nutrient dosing systems, nursery stations, and sensors. The Grow Wizard software communicates with the automation in the cultivation area, thus ensuring the right conditions for plant growth. Thanks to intelligent algorithms, crop production can be remotely managed and optimized. Growing recipes for selected plant species are stored in the cloud. This creates a wide range of possibilities with varieties of growing plants.

The software, along with automation, is responsible for controlling the environment within the cultivation area, i.e., exposure, hydration, CO2 levels, temperature, humidity, etc. The application enables remote planning, monitoring, and management of daily operations. It collects and analyzes data on an ongoing basis, thanks to which the user has constant information about crop conditions. In addition, Grow Wizard detects and alerts about deviations from the norm, which allows for quick intervention in the event of irregularities or failures.

Source: Hydropolis

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What Goes into Automation?

What are the key components of automation? A nutrient solution mixer doses the nutrient solution automatically to the main tank and allows maintenance-free work of the set parameters, i.e., growing algorithms. The closed-circuit hydroponic system and the nutrient dosing system save water and reduce the use of fertilizers. The lighting control system includes HydroLed lamps, characterized by passive heat dissipation depending on the type and stage of the farming cycle. Specially selected spectra ensure fast and healthy plant growth. Another vital element is the daily reports, which allow a farmer to plan and monitor crops on an ongoing basis.

With our software, you can manage your farm with advanced technology. You don’t need education or special qualifications. We provide you with comprehensive training and all the necessary tools. Grow Wizard allows to have broad and precise cultivation of a different plant species at a specific time and place. An additional advantage is a reduction of required labor.

Looking to Automate Your Farm?

When designing our technology, we primarily focus on user comfort. Thanks to automation and access to remote control, the software significantly reduces the operational costs of farming. Feel free to write us at info@hydro-polis.com with any questions or inquiries!

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