4 Technological Innovations That Are Shaping the Future of Greenhouse Horticulture
Greenhouse horticulture refers to the practice of growing crops under controlled environment conditions in transparent frames that offer favorable growing climates. This technique uses less energy and is highly sustainable due to some automated technologies like instant irrigation systems that reuse and recirculate the water, cooling technology for proper air circulation, pH sensors for real-time temperature monitoring, etc.
The food crops are mostly grown in open fields in huge mass to meet the growing demands of the population. But there’s a small percentage of cash crops that are grown under controlled environment conditions for a harvest that can be accurately estimated. Covered with transparent frames that have inflated structures, large sets of crops are cultivated under favorable micro-climates that accelerate crop production throughout the year or part of the year as per requirement.
Now let’s explore the types of greenhouse horticulture based on cost and sustainability and some technological advancements that are boosting greenhouse crop production.
Types of Greenhouse Horticulture Based on Cost
Based on sustainability and cost, greenhouse horticulture is fragmented into 3 types:
- Low-tech Greenhouse
Low-tech or low-cost greenhouse is a simple structure that is constructed with local materials like timber, bamboo, etc. The UV film is used as cladding and unlike a hi-tech greenhouse, no environmental parameter control device is used. However, simple techniques are utilized to adjust humidity and temperature. Additionally, the light intensity can also be reduced by using nets and other shading materials. Low-tech greenhouses are highly suitable for cold climatic areas.
- Medium-tech Greenhouse
Medium-tech greenhouses incorporate semi-automatic control arrangements due to minimum investment and are typically constructed with galvanized iron pipes. The complete structure is fixed to the ground to withstand wind disturbances and exhaust fans with thermostats are used for controlling the temperature. Moreover, misting arrangements and evaporative cooling pads are also used in such greenhouses to maintain favorable humidity. This type of greenhouse is more suitable for composite and dry climatic areas.
- Hi-tech Greenhouse
Unlike medium-tech greenhouses, hi-tech ones use a fully automatic environmental parameter controlling device to overcome the difficulties in the other types.
Furthermore, as per an extensive report published by Research Dive, the global greenhouse horticulture market is expected to garner a revenue of $64,973.80 million and grow at a 7.8% CAGR during the 2022-2030 forecast period. Since the market is here to stay for a significant period, let’s explore some technological innovations that are propelling greenhouse crop production.
4 Technological Innovations that are Beneficial for Greenhouse Crop Production
- Self-sufficient Water Systems for Reuse
Every greenhouse can become self-sufficient and sustainable if the right rainwater harvesting system is installed. In addition, automatic irrigation systems can reuse the water where it’s most. Moreover, greenhouses can also collect internal condensation and recirculating water from the already irrigated crops to ensure no wastage of water.
- Wireless Sensors for Real-time Monitoring
Besides automated irrigation systems, greenhouses can also be equipped with climate control software and wireless pH sensors to monitor real-time temperatures for maintaining a favorable growing environment.
- Cooling Technology for Air Circulation
Although this technology is rarely used by greenhouse growers, some deploy instant cooling systems for optimum air circulation that creates a suitable growing environment for crops.
- Light Spectrums for Boosting Plant Growth
Light is the most crucial factor for indoor growing and instead of investing in automated lighting systems, most greenhouse growers rely on sunlight to reduce investment costs. Besides the intensity of the light, one should also consider including different light spectrums for plant growth that influence different factors like plant rooting, crop speed, taste, etc.
Greenhouse horticulture is undoubtedly booming with breakneck speed to meet the continuous food demand of the growing population. This intensive method can use more technologies and advanced cultivation techniques than those mentioned above for successful production in a globally competitive environment.
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