Of the countless variables that go into running a successful indoor growing operation, installing the right lighting is one of the more crucial. Even if you have the most advanced greenhouse control system or the best fertilizer, if this one variable is off, your plants won’t be able to reach their maximum growth potential.
The ultimate goal for controlled environments? Higher, faster, more easily repeatable yields. One 25,000-square meter Japanese indoor farm produces 10,000 heads of lettuce per day, which is an impressive 100 times more per square foot than traditional, outdoor farming methods. This yield is accomplished with 40 percent less energy, 80 percent less food waste, and a mind-blowing 99 percent less water than traditional, outdoor agriculture. According to USDA data, the average yield for conventionally grown tomatoes in 2016 was 1.85 pounds per square foot, while greenhouse tomato growers saw yields of 10.59 pounds per square foot.
Properly managed temperature and humidity are key factors in helping plants to thrive in a greenhouse setting. In the absence of proper controls, however, these same factors can undermine plant health and erode yield.
Investors are looking to agricultural technology as the next hot space. With populations growing and arable land shrinking, farmers are looking for tech fixes to the challenges of modern agriculture, and venture capital is bolstering a range of creative startups in the sector.