Agri-tech innovators, Fischer Farms revealed their first trial of growing wheat has been highly successful, making them the first vertical farm in the UK to cultivate the crop in a biosecure, controlled environment.
Initial results have shown a seed-to-harvest cycle time capable of delivering five crop cycles per year. Fischer Farms can grow the equivalent of 273 acres of conventionally grown wheat, in a 10-acre vertical farm.
Significant capital investment is currently going to vertically farmed leafy greens and soft fruit. However, Fischer Farms has more ambitious plans, looking to scale up as quickly as infrastructure will allow, to deliver high protein crops such as wheat, soy, and rice. This will require major R&D and billions of investments to deliver, but the returns will be considerable, leading to the next agricultural revolution, safeguarding global food security.
As the vertical farming giants continue to scale at pace, with their 4-acre Norfolk farm set to open in early 2023, the successful wheat trials mark a major step towards achieving their vision of feeding the world with nutritional, high-calorie foods.
With plans to scale up operations and reduce the cost base, Fischer Farms plans to grow soya beans, rice, and wheat in significant volumes, at price points that compare favourably to global commodity prices.
The results come after a turbulent year for wheat exports, with prices reaching a 10-year high earlier this year following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. With the two countries responsible for producing 95m tonnes of wheat each year – 23% of the world’s wheat exports – the potential of vertically farmed wheat offers real promise for global food security.
Tristan Fischer, Founder, and CEO of Fischer Farms, said: “The results from our first wheat trial are extremely encouraging, with very promising yield capabilities. Further development of the seed, growing environment, and light technology will continue to provide significant improvement to this performance, but the investment will be key to this scalability. As we open the doors to our new vertical farm in Norfolk next year, we plan to extend these trials into rice and soy, bringing us another step closer to achieving our long-term vision.
“This advancement provides real promise for wider global food security. Our infrastructure can be established in almost any country in the world, regardless of climate and soil quality, giving economically disadvantaged and water-scarce regions the opportunity to transform their food supply chains and revolutionise their economies by ultimately evolving from net food importers to becoming entirely self-sufficient.”
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