Why is greenhouse automation important?
Greenhouse automation refers to a process where an added external control system is used to monitor and measure certain specific aspects of a greenhouse. A greenhouse provides plants with a high degree of protection against unwanted pests and pathogens, adverse weather conditions and external factors that disrupt plant growth. The external factors directly affect how the conditions inside the greenhouse should be adjusted and maintained to provide the exact micro climate for plant growth.
There are optimum conditions in which plants thrive and creating that right environment can be tricky due to the various environmental variables like light, thermal energy, wind, humidity, rain, perspiration etc.
Advantages of greenhouse automation?
There are innumerable benefits to automating a greenhouse that can be summarized as follows:
- Creating conducive environments- Crops often need an exact environment to thrive in. automating a greenhouse can help in easily creating the exact micro environment that will not on maintain but also boost the plant growth process. This will help in avoiding unwanted influences that may directly jeopardize the crop yield.
- Reduction in labor costs- Automating a greenhouse directly reduces the amount of manual work to be practiced which reduces labor cost and gives the workers a chance to focus on other areas of importance. This is extremely beneficial if farmers are trying to expand the greenhouse or add new crops to the same.
- Irrigation without disturbance- Automating a greenhouse will ensure that an accurate amount of water is provided to the crops at the right time. Problems relating to over watering and under watering are tackled by automation as a good schedule is created and stuck to ensure there are no inconsistencies. Automation also gives farmers to adjust any fluctuations that can occur with little to no manual labor based on the type of crop and external climatic situations.
- Accuracy- Making decisions based on knowing exactly what the conditions within the greenhouse is reduces the number of assumptions that are made and gives farmers an opportunity to take fully informed decisions for the greenhouse.
- Measuring run-off- Automating a greenhouse includes adding sensors that help in measuring and monitoring any run off from the greenhouse. This information is extremely helpful to ensure that the greenhouse is in accordance with the rules and regulations of the locality.
- Reduces energy costs- Automating a greenhouse helps in reducing the overall production costs for the crop cycles. While the instillation of the automation procedures may be termed as a capital cost, its benefits can be observed in the long run as operating costs are drastically reduced.
- Increase in yield and quality- Automating a greenhouse gives farmers the boost to search for better qualities of inputs which can be measured and compared with past performances. Learning from previous crop cycles will enable the farmers to get a better return on investment and increase the quality and quantity of produce.
- Reduces uncertainty- Since the process of automation takes out all the guess work as compared to a manually operated greenhouse, the climate can be remotely monitored and altered without any problems or lengthy procedures. This reduces the unknow variables and can often provide and accurate yield quantity.
What can be automated in a greenhouse?
The level of automation in a greenhouse id often dependent on various factors such as the size of the greenhouse, structure of the greenhouse and average external affecting factors for the greenhouse. Various automations can be done in the following areas:
• Heating systems
• Cooling systems
• Ventilation systems
• Temperature monitoring
• Lighting systems
• Humidity control
• Carbon di oxide levels
• Irrigation systems
• Vents and roof systems
Complete control in a greenhouse helps in achieving the perfect conditions for plant growth that will help farmers reach their target quantities and quality. Farmers can rely on greenhouse automation equipment to reach the desired artificial micro environment. Its best to get in touch with a profession who can help in finding the right automation tools that will boost the greenhouse instead of being a liability and added expense to the farmers.
Most common greenhouse automation options:
- Irrigation and fertilization systems- This refers to an automation in managing and monitoring the micro climate with regard to the fertilization process. This helps in irrigating large greenhouses and drastically reduces the risk of crop failure on large scale operations. It increases the efficiency in irrigation as water is evenly distributed at regular intervals of time. Indoor farming can be automated with drip irrigation systems that can be operated and controlled remotely and incorporate any natural changes in the environment.
The set-up process for automated irrigation requires professional expertise and can be accurately installed by a team of experts to reduce operating costs and minimize water wastage.
- Climate control systems- This refers to the automation in a greenhouse with respect to the temperature, lighting, carbon di oxide levels and humidity. All these factors together form the artificial micro climate for the plants to grown in. each plant requires a unique growing system and automating these factors can help in easily meeting the fluctuations that are linked with software’s to help provide the right training and updates in the automation process. Automating these factors will also help in creating a precise environment that can adapt to any changes with little to no manual labor. It helps in saving labor cost and groom the environment on a day-to-day basis. The remote access systems also come with sensors that provide an added layer of security to alert the farmers if the indoor climatic conditions do not match the pre set ones.
Regardless of the level of automation, greenhouses have already proved to be extremely profitable across the globe. Adding automation to the greenhouse cultivations boosts the profit margins and gives room for farmers to learn about the latest technology and innovations in their fields. The automation process adds value to a greenhouse and ensures that there is no wastage but maximum utilization of resources with the greenhouse.