Hydroponic farming is the future of food production. As global food demand and food security requirements skyrocket, producing nutritious crops in a sustainable manner has become quite necessary. Hydroponics, aeroponics, and vertical farms are all becoming popular ways to grow such nutrient-rich crops in a controlled environment. This type of farming enables growers to cultivate tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, and many more crops inside closed rooms. This means that the produce can be grown throughout the year without any soil, which helps in maximising yields.
The first and most important facet of hydroponic farming management is choosing the right crop to cultivate. Growers must select a crop that is in line with the objectives of their agribusiness for maximum returns. Establishing and maintaining appropriate climatic conditions is also necessary to grow healthy crops hydroponically.
Hydroponic farming management requires growers to maintain the optimum pH level of nutrient solution. This is necessary to ensure that crop outcomes are of the desired quality. Furthermore, taking adequate precautionary measures and using agrochemicals in apt quantities is also necessary to protect your hydroponic farms from pests and diseases. Here are the best tips that you can follow in order to set up and manage your hydroponics farm.
Select a Crop Well-suited to Your Agribusiness Needs
As compared to traditional outdoor farming, hydroponics is quite an expensive and complicated process. However, the complexity and production cycles associated with hydroponic farm management varies from crop to crop. Choosing the right crop for cultivation is thus essential so as to drive maximum returns for your hydroponic farming practices.
With hydroponics involving advanced technologies for production, the maintenance costs for this type of farming is already quite high. Hence, agribusinesses must focus on growing low-maintenance and high-yielding crop varieties for better profits.
Herbs and small vegetable plants like lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, etc with low cost of production and high nutritional values can be a great choice. Opting for fast-growing crops or crops with a short harvesting period can also be beneficial for hydroponic farm management. This is because it enables hydroponic farm businesses to monitor and control the end-to-end production cycle efficiently.
Create Conducive Farm Environment With Automated Controls
The environment in a hydroponic farm comprises the chief factors of light, temperature and humidity. Gaining control over these facets can help you enhance your hydroponic farm management and grow good quality crops effectively. Using technology in hydroponics farming can help in maintaining ideal conditions inside your indoor farms and ensure faster growth of quality crops.
The intensity and duration of the light supplied to hydroponic plants has a tremendous influence on their growth. Growers can use automated controls to maintain the perfect lighting schedule for their hydroponic farms. This can help in ensuring that sufficient light is being provided to each and every plant.
Automated fan speed controllers can be very handy when it comes to regulating the temperature inside grow rooms or indoor farms. This controller can ensure that the grow room temperature never increases beyond the specified setpoint. Similarly, installing an exhaust fan can also enhance your hydroponic farm management efforts by reducing excessive humidity inside the grow room.
Measure and Maintain Proper pH Levels of Nutrient Solutions
It is necessary to know how acidic or basic your nutrient solution is as it has an impact on the nutrient availability of your hydroponic crops. Improper pH levels can prevent nutrient uptake and result in severe deficiencies. Moreover, pH fluctuations are a common aspect of every hydroponic farming system.
In hydroponics, it is important for growers to constantly monitor and adjust the pH levels of the nutrient solutions for high-quality crop outputs. The most important step in achieving this is testing. You can use test strips to measure the pH levels of your nutrient solution on a regular basis. The ideal pH level range varies for every crop, but most plants grow well in a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
Further, the nutrient solution needs to be altered in order to adjust its pH level depending upon the test results. This ensures that your crop is being provided with the appropriate conditions to thrive. Thus, maintaining adequate pH levels of nutrient solutions can help you manage hydroponic farms and grow high-quality crops effectively.
Minimise Pest Infestations With Smart Farm Management
Every hydroponic growing system, irrespective of the crop and growing conditions, is bound to be affected by pests at some stage. Pests such as spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, etc frequently invade grow rooms and hydroponic crops. Taking adequate precautionary measures is essential to control pests and improve your hydroponic farm management.
One of the tried and tested methods to prevent pests is using suitable agrochemicals in appropriate quantities. You can also install moving fans and ensure proper ventilation in the hydroponic plants grow rooms. This helps in considerably reducing the growth and spread of pests or mould.
For effective hydroponic farm management, it is important to wear protective clothes, gloves and shoes to prevent cross-contamination of pathogens. They should clean their farm equipment with antiseptic agents after use to curb the spread of bacteria or fungi from one crop to another. Maintaining cleanliness in hydroponic farming not only helps in combating diseases but also enhances the healthy growth of plants.
Do you wish to manage your hydroponic farms in an efficient manner and drive better returns for your agribusiness? FarmERP’s hydroponics pack can help you to optimise and gain complete control over your indoor farm operations. Get our farm management software to know how we can assist you in carrying out controlled-environment agriculture successfully. Contact us to grow a wide variety of crops hydroponically.