Indoor farming is the production of any type of plant in a controlled environment. Examples of these are vertical farms, greenhouses, container farms or polytunnel installations. This has been a solution for food shortages worldwide and for shortening the supply chain, allowing communities to grow more locally. That being said, it still has room for improvement such as optimizing energy costs, especially during this ongoing energy crisis. If you are planning to start your own indoor farm or are currently running one, here are multiple ways indoor farms can be improved
- Optimize energy use. – Synchronize the or set the timing of the usage of your grow lights to when photosynthesis is occurring. This can be done by tracking your crop’s photosynthetic activity, when the plants are currently using the available light to photosynthesize. Only use what you need to cut the unnecessary added costs.
- Leverage tools for early disease detection. – Utilize tools that notify you of any crop anomalies and disease symptoms before the human eye is able to see it. Indoor farms equipped with environmental sensors gather data in the farm continuously. When certain values deviate from the norm or ideal growing conditions, this may result in events that lead to loss of crops and spread of infection. Over time, your staff or AgriTech tools may get to know your farm better, with this you are more likely to get the most out of this decision support system that will help eliminate the anomalies from happening all together, providing a safety net for potential losses.
- Recreate the best growing spots throughout your entire farm. – Indoor farming provides a higher level of control of the growing environment. Some types of indoor farms however, have areas where some crops grow better or at a different pace. This can be said for greenhouses that utilize natural light or certain vertical farms that use or experiment with different environmental parameters in some grow beds. When you get a full view on what’s going on, both in each section of your farm and how the in it plants react, you are able to replicate these ideal conditions since indoor farms allow you to have nearly full control of the environment.
- Utilize harvest management tools – Invest in a harvest management tool that help your farm reduce unnecessary waste that have the potential to be turned into income. Eliminate the need for buffer crops, pest control measures and optimize decision time. With a full view on your crop health and its surroundings you are able to track the exact time and where exactly to harvest.
- Increase sales and create your own unique crop recipes – How does the products of your farm stand out? With many of the same types of crops on the market, now you are able to develop distinct qualities unique to your crops such as taste, size, shape etc. Utilizing the capabilities of controlled environment agriculture, you can experiment with different environmental parameters, fertilizers etc. and keep track of the different results they produce.