Protected Cropping is a term that can describe a range of environments where there is some form of protection against the elements.
We describe protected cropping environments to include: hoop houses, tunnel houses, and canopy protection. By growing in an indoor facility with supplemental lighting, you can have better control over your inputs and can tailor the space to suit the crop growth requirements. It also means you can potentially grow all year round.
The great outdoors
Many of our customers have migrated from fully outdoors to protected cropping and have seen great improvements in yield and quality of their crops.
Some studies show that you can get an extra four to six weeks of production with protected cropping techniques versus open field cropping/farming.
Closed door to pests and diseases
The key to automation is being able to rely on the technology to do the work for you. Once you set the parameters you can focus on other important tasks.
If a problem comes up, the system will then alert you (via email or text message) and you can log in to check the data.
Getting ahead of the weather
The weather can play a significant role for any grower and keeping track of weather patterns and optimizing accordingly is the key to great crops.
With an automated system it can trigger watering when the climate data or even the run-off show specific levels.
What should be automated in the growing environment?
With sections of the environment exposed to the elements there are still things you can automate that will help grow your business and take the hassle out of some of the more time-consuming tasks. Depending on the size, type and structure of your production you can monitor or control:
- Root zone
Your system should alert you when there’s a problem and allow you to access and manage everything remotely.
What are the overall benefits of an automated greenhouse?
The overall benefits of automating your grow operation are vast and plentiful. Regardless of how you’re looking to develop your growing enterprise, automation offers universal benefits that allow you to achieve your goals - and then some.
- Decrease your labor costs - By reducing the amount of manual work, you decrease labor costs and free up workers to focus on other areas of importance. Perfect if you are looking to expand your business or introduce new skills to your workers.
- Be accurate - Know exactly what’s happening in your greenhouse and make data driven decisions based on facts and not assumptions. The technology and equipment exist to benefit you as the grower!
- Increase quality and yield - If you don’t measure you can’t improve. Automation will give you the knowledge to increase quality and yield, learn from previous crop cycles, and give you better return on investment (ROI).
Why is it important to automate your protected cropping environment?
Plants require certain conditions to grow with the best quality, and to do that, you have to understand exactly what is happening not only with the plants but also the environment. Automation gives you the opportunity to be precise and accurate.