The benefits of hydroponic farming provide many solutions to the challenges of traditional field farming. Standard field farming practices have seen a lot of negative press in recent years, from concerns about soil erosion and massive water consumption to severe food-borne illness breakouts. Recent developments in hydroponic farming promise to address many of these concerns.
10 Benefits of Hydroponic Farming
Hydroponic systems grow nutrient-rich produce with soil-less, water-based farming processes. Rather than using soil for plant nutrition, crops are fed a nutrient-rich solution, negating some of the challenges of soil-based methods. Below, we outline 10 key benefits of hydroponic farming.
1. Compact Crops
Plants grown in soil need to spread their roots to find water and the nutrients they need to survive. This means they must be planted a certain distance apart from each other. In hydroponic systems, roots don’t need to spread because water and nutrients are brought to them. As a result, hydroponic systems can grow more plants in the same amount of space as soil-based systems.
2. Water Conservation
Did you know that farms worldwide account for 70% of all water consumed annually? Of that, 40% is completely lost due to poor water management. Water evaporates, rolls away, and puddles, making much of it unusable. That’s a lot of waste!
One of the benefits of hydroponic farming is that it uses about 10 times less water than traditional methods. Farmers can deliver their nutrient solution with control at every step of the process. They can reduce water waste with minimal effort by regularly recirculating the nutrient solution through the system.
3. Fewer Chemicals and Pests
While hydroponic systems don’t eradicate pest issues, they can lower the potential of an infestation when compared with traditional agriculture. That means less need for pesticides and herbicides that can negatively impact farmers and consumers alike.
Hydroponic systems are indoor and secure, so, there’s no risk of weeds taking over your garden. As a result, there’s no need for herbicides to interfere with your growing operation.
4. Hydroponic Farming Means Faster Growth
Another stunning benefit of hydroponic farming is that plants grown in these systems grow 30% to 50% faster than those in soil. Crops grow faster in hydroponic systems because they receive an ideal amount of nutrients. If these are grown indoors, they’ll have less environmentally induced stress from weather and pests. Some species grow faster than others. For example, leafy greens like lettuce and thirsty fruits like tomatoes grow faster in hydroponics.
5. Nutrient Control
In hydroponics, plants are fed a nutrient solution mixed with water. This gives the farmer better control over what nutrients are absorbed. Cultivars that are produced in soil may need additional fertilizers to survive. But in hydroponics, the plants already receive all the support they need and the right amount. With research and accurate measurements, your nutrient solution will provide everything your plants need to flourish.
6. Grow Indoors with Hydroponic Farming
Another advantage of hydroponic farming is that it makes it easier to grow indoors. Growing indoors has many benefits: Easier temperature and climate control, year-round growing and fewer pests. Hydroponic systems are usually implemented indoors because of the environmental management it offers. With near-perfect growing conditions, plants can grow stronger and faster.
7. Healthier Plants
Another one of the benefits of hydroponic farming is that plants grow healthier than in soil. For one thing, soil-borne diseases aren’t an issue in hydroponics because there isn’t soil for disease to spread. Additionally, plants don’t have to spread their roots in search of nutrients, allowing them to conserve energy for growth.
8. Bigger Yields with Hydroponic Farming
More plants can be grown in small spaces with hydroponic farming than soil farming. Hydroponic systems typically yield more per square foot than other methods. Additionally, plants are healthier and grow faster, generating more produce. Indoor conditions also allow for year-round growing, regardless of weather or season, so plants may continue to produce after their first harvest.
9. No Soil Erosion
Industrial agriculture practices have eroded half of Earth’s topsoil in the last 150 years, decreasing the availability of arable land. Since farmers began tilling and watering the land of the American Midwest, more than 55 billion metric tons of topsoil have eroded.
Because of this, farmers have noticed that maintaining the quality of their soil is getting more and more difficult every year. Intensive tilling and lacking cover crops can quickly thin the quality of even the strongest soils, but the problem of soil degradation is challenging to solve. Even farmers who hope to restore soil quality have a long road ahead.
Hydroponic systems don’t use soil. No soil means no soil erosion. It’s that simple. This allows hydroponic farms to produce fruit and vegetables in more locations than traditional farms.
10. No Weeds
Hydroponic systems are not ideal environments for the same nuisance that can be a traditional farming operation killer — weeds. Weeds need the same things as other plants to sprout, but you don’t typically sow seeds in hydroponic systems.
You can tailor the system to the growing phase rather than germination. Since the seeds can’t start germinating, weeds won’t take root and steal your crops’ precious nutrients.
Some people have come to understand that standard farming practices present many challenges for the modern farmer. Many people see a downside to techniques that waste large amounts of water or destroy the life of our soil. However, the benefits of hydroponic farming are becoming more pronounced. From the gulf states of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to Singapore and the United States, farmers realize that if they want to grow a large amount of produce in a compact space just about anywhere on the planet, hydroponics is the way to go.
Now that you know the benefits of hydroponic farming, it’s time to start. Contact us today for more information.
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