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THE RISE OF VERTICAL FARMING

As reported by Farmers Weekly magazine, vertical farming is seeing a growth in popularity in the UK.

What is vertical farming?

Vertical farming uses soil-free techniques to grow plants under closely controlled and monitored environments, often located in buildings or shipping containers, and even able to re-use abandoned tunnels and mine shafts.

A vertical farming system holds plants in trays stacked on specially designed racking that optimises the plants’ exposure to artificial lighting and climate-controlled air.

Vertical farming solutions also control two other elements essential to growth besides light and climate – irrigation and fertigation. Fertigation is the science of injecting water-soluble fertilisers into an irrigation system, which is how vertical farming solutions provide nutrients to plants grown in a soil-free environment.

What are the benefits of vertical farming?

Accustomed to the traditional image of agriculture being rolling, open fields, we may think of vertical farming as a highly industrialised, unnatural process. And yes, it is generally located in industrial buildings, or even makes use of disused or abandoned properties, tunnels or even mine shafts.

But vertical farming solutions bring benefits that traditional agriculture can’t.

More effective use of space

Because the plants are stacked in racking, a lower footprint is needed for the same yield. Vertical farming can also revive the usefulness of brown site and contaminated land.

Guaranteed control of climatic conditions

Farmers complaining about the weather are the stuff of legend, but the climate down among the vertical farming frames stays constant, controllable and optimised for high crop yields.

Closer control of agrochemicals

Because all chemicals used in the propagation of crops are contained within a closed system, their use can be more closely monitored for reduced, lower-waste usage and zero risk of environmental contamination.

Lower water usage

Recirculation of filtered water within a closed system also reduces the amount of water consumed in the production of a crop.

Protection from pest and disease

A controlled environment limits the plants’ exposure to damage caused by the pests and diseases that threaten outdoor-grown crops.

Fresh and healthy produce year-round

The ability to regulate crop production independently of the seasons means that consumers can buy fresh, healthy produce all year round and within hours of harvesting.

Carbon footprint reduction

By locating food production in or near the point of sale or consumption reduces the carbon footprint of the produce’s journey to the consumer.

How is Exporta supporting vertical farming?

Storage and racking systems experts Exporta Global have seen vertical farming’s growth potential. They offer a comprehensive range of Vertical Farming products designed specifically for this industry that includes:

  • Vertical farming frames and racking
  • Food grade tray and crate systems

Standard products are available for next day delivery, and Exporta bespoke solutions can create a system that’s perfectly suited to your needs and environment.

For more information on how Exporta can support your Vertical Framing operation, get in touch with one of the team today on 0800 294 4394, or get in touch with them team via email sales@exportaglobal.co.uk.

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16/05/2021

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