In conventional arable systems, large amounts of water are lost into the soil or through evaporation. Hydroponic environments grow crops in a nutrient rich solution without soil, significantly reducing water use by making efficient use of resources with the potential for application in climates with limited water availability.
In hydroponic conditions, crops are grown without soil and plants roots are instead exposed to a nutrient rich liquid solution. This method increases growth rates as the plant requires smaller root systems to utilise nutrients compared to conventional soil-grown crops.
Crops can be grown all year round in indoor farms as environments can be controlled to maintain optimal growing conditions, establishing a large advantage over conventional arable farms which are dependent on weather conditions for plant growth and harvest.
Hydroponic methods require no soil to grow crops and make efficient use of resources such as water and fertiliser. Lack of soil reduces instances of transmission of pests and disease, ultimately limiting the need for pesticide applications.
Crops are grown in tailored nutrient-rich liquid solutions, ensuring that plant health and growth are maximised at all times. Plant roots are constantly exposed to the solution which increases growth rates, leading to faster and higher yielding crops.
Constant supplies of nutrient-rich solutions to the plant roots ensures that water and nutrient requirements are always met. Environmental factors such as light, temperature and humidity can be continuously monitored by sensors and machine learning allows growing environments to be controlled and optimised.
In controlled environments, plants are grown in optimised environments and are not exposed to changeable weather conditions or pests. Hydroponic conditions allow plants to have constant access to nutrients, reducing the requirement for large root systems and ultimately, increasing growth rates.
In hydroponic systems, tailored nutrients and controlled growing conditions enable yields to be improved and harvest times shortened when compared to conventional methods.
Environmental benefits of hydroponic growing methods include the use of fewer resources such as water, fertiliser and pesticides. Produce can be grown all year round and previously derelict buildings can be modified to easily accommodate indoor growing environments that supply high yielding produce.