Have you ever considered using a container farm for scientific testing? They might be more useful than you think.
Container farms are growing in popularity with commercial growers, traditional farmers and more. They can save water, reduce dependence on chemical pesticides and herbicides, and shrink the distance between food producers and consumers.
However, the hydroponics industry is still in its infancy, developing alongside traditional soil-based farming methods. Because of this, there’s a lot of interest in nascent technology. From United Nations humanitarian efforts in Namibia to commercial production bringing local vegetable cultivation to new markets, container farms are gaining attention from the scientific community.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the ways a container farm provides scientists with a controlled environment that can yield accurate results. The knowledge gained from container farm testing can help the global community better understand plant development, nutrient intake and much more.
Why Test Crops in a Container Farm?
A container farm provides a secure testing environment for growing crops hydroponically. Because containers are already wind and weather-tight, they offer a great starting-point for scientists that need to have a controlled growing environment. In fact, containers have a wide variety of weatherproof qualities.
While a container farm testing facility would likely need modifications to ensure a perfect seal, it will be more cost-effective than building something from scratch. Depending on your needs, containers can be easily transformed, while still being cost-effective compared to other secure options.
Containers are well-designed to serve as an enclosed, secure space. They’ve been used to explore plants’ nutrient requirements, as well as the toxicity of certain plant species. Scientists can use the precise control offered by a container paired with a strong air conditioner unit to get accurate test results.
Container farms use controlled environment agriculture technology, which makes them useful for container farm testing. This technology includes heating, air conditioning, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, grow lights and more that can be set and controlled automatically to suit specific study requirements.
Even if your study doesn’t require specific humidity levels, the controlled environment inside a container farm can help you create inside conditions that are radically different from what outside conditions are.
Tests That Work Well in Container Farms
While the study parameters that scientists test in container farms may differ depending on the research project, there are several areas of study that have drawn the attention of researchers. Here are just a few of the problems that researchers need to further examine regarding global agriculture.
Studying Crop Viability in New Environments
Research has found that changing global ecosystems may reduce the yields of rice, wheat and maize if global surface temperature increases. While adopting new cropping techniques may help, they aren’t the whole solution. Incremental adaptation isn’t expected to keep up with the rising risks that affect the agriculture industry.
Considering this, scientists are looking into new crop varieties that can fill that gap. Container farms can help scientists discover plants are better suited for differing climate environments. Container farms’ climate control features are very useful for studies like this.
Future projections can be simulated inside a container farm, and because the system is so precise, you can be assured that the system will keep climate conditions stable.
Developing New Crops/Cropping Systems
A lot of research has been conducted into the effects of climate on crop production, but specific research into future crop viability is less available. Cost benefit analyses can also be conducted into different cropping techniques, especially those relating to hydroponic production.
While these analyses are heavily reliant on future forecasts, and therefore susceptible to change, they can still provide necessary information to farmers growing produce in high-risk areas.
Testing Plants Outside of Soil
Hydroponics offers a unique testing area for non-soil grown crops. Because plants only receive nutrients and water from the circulating nutrient solution, it’s easier to isolate the effects of essential nutrients than it would be in a soil-based study.
For one, many plants have sensitive root systems with fragile structures like lateral roots, adventitious roots and root hairs. Hydroponic systems allow for a precise separation of these structures for research, while traditional methods may end up affecting the results of the study due to damage.
Additionally, crops in soil are residing in a complex microbiome of nutrients. The makeup of soil might not be evenly distributed, while in a hydroponic system the hydroponic solution is uniform and can easily be replaced or changed if the study demands.
Custom Container Farms for Research
At Pure Greens, we have the skills and experience to design and fabricate a container farm testing lab that will help you control the growing environment and adjust to climate factors. If you need separate rooms to ensure the testing environment remains sterile, we can add vestibules that separate the entryway from the testing area.
Container farms provide the precise control needed to study nutrient requirements, plant toxicity and plant adaptation ensuring accurate results for researchers. They are especially valuable for observing crops in new environments, developing new cropping systems and testing hydroponically grown crops.
Interested in a Pure Greens Container Farm for your testing? We offer custom container farms with various hydroponic systems to facilitate scientific research. By harnessing the potential of container farms, you can contribute to advancements in agriculture, better understand plant growth, and address critical global challenges.
Get in contact with us today, and we can discuss how we can help you explore the exciting possibilities that container farms offer to scientists and researchers.