Bluelab's Future of Controlled Agriculture webinar series brings the best minds in CEA together to discuss the frontier of horticulture. The host, Caroline Nordahl, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer here at Bluelab, talks with plant scientists, top CEA researchers, and engineers for a unique lens on what they can expect in the future of CEA.
In this webinar episode, they talked with Dr. Matt Mickens, Chief Science Officer of Elevate Farms, and Derek Smith, Executive Director of the Resource Innovation Institute about how indoor farming operations can grow more crops with less water and energy.
To bring costs down, measure and aim to reduce water and energy use. Growers today are facing the daily issue of climate risk, as well as trying to figure out how to adopt technology to grow more productively and efficiently—all while maintaining excellent crop quality.
When it comes to Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), opting for vertical farming brings the benefits of water conservation, no pesticides, the ability for traceability, and energy efficiencies.
CEA isn't without its challenges, of course. Arguably, the biggest challenge in CEA is reducing energy costs, so Matt's immediate focus is on improving the efficiency of Elevate Farm's energy and water usage.
"We're all trying to figure out how much energy is being used in these indoor cultivation environments, how is that energy being used, how efficiently is it being used, and what are the KPIs to measure efficiency," said Dr. Matt Mickens, Chief Science Officer of Elevate Farms.
Light intensity—a vital metric to review for energy saving
LED lighting in controlled environments tends to grow crops really fast. Therefore, Matt and Derek highly recommend measuring light intensity to ensure your plants are not getting too much or too little light, which will directly affect yields and energy consumption.
In addition to light intensity, both Matt and Derek reinforce that oxygen content and pathogens in water are other key metrics to analyze for optimal growth.
Read the complete article at www.bluelab.com.