Can Vertical Farms be Profitable Using LED Grow Lights?

Bruce Bugbee, professor of crop physiology at Utah State University, refers to the exclusive use of LEDs in closed indoor farms as electric light agriculture. He said no matter how efficient LEDs become, they are still competing with free photons from the sun. Photo by John Frey While controlled environment agriculture continues to expand, there […]

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Looking for reliable labor?

The current political climate in Washington, D.C., is not conducive for broad-based immigration, labor and workforce reform, which could help the horticulture and agricultural industries resolve worker shortages. The H-2A agricultural guest worker program may be an option—but it’s going to cost you. During the AmericanHort Impact Washington Summit in September, over 120 people from […]

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Where can you get accurate information about indoor farm production?

One of the major objectives of OptimIA project researchers was to establish an outreach program to engage with stakeholders in the indoor vertical farming community. Photo courtesy of Chris Higgins, Hort Americas OptimIA project members are sharing their indoor farm research findings with the controlled environment agriculture industry and the public through a variety of […]

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How can modeling help to grow a better indoor farm lettuce crop?

Research conducted in the University of Arizona UAg vertical farm using modeling and computer simulations showed vertical air flow compared to horizontal air flow was more effective at preventing lettuce tipburn. Photo courtesy of Murat Kacira, Univ. of Ariz. OptimIA researchers are using crop modeling to identify the most favorable environmental parameters for growth and […]

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Can leafy greens be profitably grown in indoor farms?

OptimIA economic researchers determined on average, a 1 percent increase in wages would reduce an indoor farm’s profit per square meter for a day of production by 6 cents. A 1 percent increase in the price of electricity would reduce profits by 5 cents per square meter per day. Photo courtesy of Murat Kacira, Univ. […]

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How do you overcome the environmental challenges of indoor farming?

Lettuce being grown as baby greens at Purdue University are harvested 15 days after planting seeds. Seeds are sown close together to minimize loss of photons between plants. Photo courtesy of Cary Mitchell, Purdue Univ. Researchers with the OptimIA project are working to solve the environmental control issues facing indoor farm growers. While some might […]

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What impact does light have on controlled environment leafy greens production?

Researchers at Michigan State University have used the Controlled-Environment Lighting Laboratory to study the effects of different colors of light on the growth of leafy greens. Photo courtesy of Erik Runkle, Mich. St. Univ. OptimIA researchers are studying the impact light and its interaction with other environmental parameters can have on indoor leafy greens production. […]

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How is OptimIA helping vertical farms grow more efficiently and economically?

The OptimIA project, which was funded by USDA in Sept. 2019, is focused on the study of the aerial environment and economics for producing indoor leafy greens. Photo by Rosemary Brandt, College of Ag and Life Sciences, Univ. of Ariz. OptimIA is a research and outreach project aimed at offering production and economic information that […]

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How important is the root zone environment in controlled environment hydroponic production?

As the water moves though a nutrient film technique (NFT) production system it is near saturation with oxygen because of mechanical aeration that is occurring from the water recirculation. Photo courtesy of Hort Americas The oxygen level and temperature in the root zone can have a major impact on rate of plant growth and inhibiting […]

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What technological advancements are being made in controlled environment agriculture?

During the International Meeting on Controlled Environment Technology and Use, Chris Higgins (left), president at Hort Americas, moderated a panel discussion on Indoor Agriculture Economic Viability. Photo courtesy of Hort Americas The International Meeting on Controlled Environment Technology and Use gave representatives from academia and the CEA industry an opportunity to discuss the advancements and […]

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How did Big Tex Urban Farms use hydroponics to achieve its Million Servings Mission?

Drew Demler, the State Fair of Texas director of horticulture and cofounder of Big Tex Urban Farms, and his staff were able to achieve the farm’s Million Servings Mission ahead of schedule using a variety of controlled environment hydroponic production systems. Photos by Jessie Wood, State Fair of Texas Big Tex Urban Farms announced in […]

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What is the “best” grow light for your controlled environment operation?

Growers who replace incandescent bulbs with screw-in LEDs to control photoperiod can reduce their energy consumption by as much as 85 percent. The LED bulbs could last up to 30 years. Photo courtesy of Southwest Perennials Depending on whether you are looking to control photoperiod or increase plant growth will determine the grow lights you […]

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What are your substrate options for containerized vegetable production?

The amount of leachate from cucumber plants grown in Dutch buckets can be significantly reduced with plant-based substrates when compared to perlite.Photos courtesy of Uttara Samarakoon, Ohio St. Univ., CFAES Wooster Growers using containers to produce vegetable crops have options when it comes to growing in plant-based substrates. Small- to medium-size growers of vining vegetable […]

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Have you considered growing greenhouse vegetables for a high-end clientele?

Serge Boon, founder of Boon Greenhouse Consultancy, said growers who are interested in selling to a high-end clientele, including resorts, restaurants and individuals, need to be able to offer exceptional quality produce. Photos courtesy of Brush Creek Ranch An increasing number of upscale resorts, restaurants and affluent individuals have begun operating their own greenhouses to […]

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