It has become important to develop advanced farm technologies for feeding the rapidly increasing population. The incorporation of technology in agriculture has helped to increase the efficiency of farming techniques. This aided to increase productivity and reduce labor. Therefore, with the help of technology, the agricultural sector has become more efficient.
As the population is increasing at a fast rate, most of the agricultural land is being utilized for meeting the housing requirements of the people. Hence, the availability of agricultural land has reduced considerably. This led to the development of agricultural technologies that require only less space. One of such technologies is – soilless farming. It is now being widely used in different countries across the world. This new farming technology has helped to increase productivity even when the availability of agricultural land is low.
Soilless farming technologies can provide a large number of benefits when compared to traditional farming techniques. The following are some of the important benefits of soilless farming.
Soil-based farming has brought a lot of challenges including low availability of land, soil-borne diseases, drainage, and nematodes, etc. Hence, a lot of advanced farm technologies have been introduced in the agricultural sector for overcoming these limitations, and soilless farming is one among them.
Plants do not need soil for growing, they need it for absorbing nutrients, and soilless cultivation uses this principle. Soilless cultivation has become possible with the help of advanced technologies. This farming technique can be used for cultivating a wide range of crops, especially horticultural crops.
Soilless cultivation uses other media for growing plants instead of soil. Some of the common techniques used in soilless farming include substrate culture (which uses substrates for cultivating plants) and water culture (that uses aerated nutrient solution).
Benefits Of Soilless Culture
Soilless culture has many benefits when compared to different traditional farming methods. Some of them are mentioned below:
In soilless culture, the plants will be cultivated in optimized conditions which can facilitate faster growth. Hence, it can include more growth cycles per year, better yield, and more food.
Extreme Reduction In The Use Of Water And Nutrients
When plants are grown using soilless culture, the amount of water and fertilizers needed will be very low when compared to soil-based cultivation. When you use traditional cultivation methods, a huge portion of the water and nutrients applied will be wasted, as only a small portion of them will reach the roots.
Soilless culture uses a controlled environment for cultivating crops. It optimizes different factors including temperature, airflow, humidity, and light within the growing environment of the farm. Farmers who utilize soilless farming techniques will be able to maintain optimal conditions all-round the year anywhere in the world. These methods use greenhouses or vertical farms for growing crops. Growing plants in a controlled environment can help with enhancing the ability to accurately predict crop timing, together with cultivating high-quality plants after ensuring high food safety standards.
These farming techniques also use integrated pest management to effectively control the attack of pests. Here, weather changes will not affect the ability of the farm to produce yield. However, energy consumption can be high when compared to traditional farms because of the need for optimizing different factors like lighting, heating, and ventilation, etc.
If the farms are closer to the end consumers, then it can help to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the delivery of the products. In addition to this, the products will remain fresh when it is delivered to the customers. As soilless cultivation is not dependent on soil fertility, the farms can be set up anywhere. This can help facilitate easy and fast delivery of the products to consumers.
Less Space Is Required
When compared to traditional farming, soilless farming needs less space, especially when stacked or vertical systems are used. This can help to grow enough food for satisfying the needs of the growing population without expanding the farmlands into forests, wetlands, or other significant natural ecosystems.
Types Of Soilless Farming
There are different techniques used for cultivating plants in soilless culture. Some of them are listed below:
Deep Water Culture
It includes floating plants on recirculating water. The plants roots will be suspended in 6-18 inches of the oxygenated nutrient solution until they are gathered. This technique is great for short-statured leafy vegetables as well as herbs.
Here, the plants will be suspended in the air along with hydroponic solutions. It is very precise in delivering nutrients and water. This can be a great option for you to cultivate plants without using soil.
It refers to the combination of hydroponics as well as aquaculture. It creates a loop between growing plants and fish.
Soilless culture is one of the advanced farm technologies that helped to increase the efficiency of the agricultural sector. This can be beneficial for increasing productivity thereby meeting the needs of the growing population.