Important parameters to consider while setting up a Commercial hydroponic system.

22.08.18 11:34 PM Comment(s) By CityGreens

In our journey so far, we keep meeting a lot of new hydroponics enthusiasts - individuals who are all out excited with Hydroponic and the commercial opportunity and avenues it opens. It seems apt to share a few considerations one should be aware of while venturing into Commercial Hydroponics

    

People are fascinated by this new and trending technique of growing plants. Looking at a few YouTube videos, and media snippets, they perceive this to be an easy way to make money - less labor, less time, and (through the use of polyhouse) more independence from season and climate. But here is a caution: Only Reading books/blogs and watching videos, without ever trying hydroponics at home (or in a controlled environment), might not be sufficient to ensure a commercially viable solution. 


Here are some pointers that you should consider before setting up a hydroponic farm commercially.

Only Reading books/blogs and watching videos, without ever trying hydroponics at home (or in a controlled environment), might not be sufficient to ensure a commercially viable solution.

Here are some pointers that you should consider before setting up a hydroponic farm commercially.


1. Do it yourself before going commercial / do not rely entirely on others.

It is essential to know the basics yourself before outsourcing a project of extensive scale and impact. Once you develop an understanding of the basics, it will be easier for you to grasp the variances that would come along while setting up a commercial hydroponic set-up. 


Fundamentals you should be hands-on with:

    1. What is hydroponics, and how is it done?

    2. What nutrients does the plant need to grow?

    3. What are the environmental factors that control growth and yields?

    More commonly, people ask consultants to set up a farm for them without knowing anything about the day to day working. This could prove to be a bane. The consultants will set-up the farm and guide you and support you through your journey, but YOU have to take care of your farm. It would help if you did your research and study. But it would be best if you experienced it first hand. You don't need to know everything in-depth. Just experiencing the concepts first hand will be of great value and help. 


    The image shows a DIY set-up done by one of the attendees who had joined our training for Commercial Hydroponic Farming. Go ahead, get your hands dirty, and gain a hands-on!


    2. Socialize with the community.

    You are not alone. Many are on this journey with you. Connect with your peers - understand their biggest grievances - learn their combat strategies. If possible, visit other Hydroponic commercial set-ups. These will help you prepare better to face the problems that may arise in the future. As you grow in your experience, remember to support others. Remember, we all grow together, or nobody grows. 


    3. What should be grown?

    Climate

    Understand the weather patterns of the place where you want to set-up the farm.

    Crops

    You can go for short-height, small cycle crops. They will make money faster, but perishability will be less. Or you can go for large fruit and vegetable bearing plants. The produce will have higher perishability but will take longer to grow.

    Consumer Need and Demand

    Do market research if required. Grow what people usually eat in your market region.

    Single Crop or Multi Crop

    Single, high-consumption crop works better in smaller set-ups. In large set-ups, you can grow multiple crops of different varieties.




    Some factors you should consider before choosing your crops

    Okay. So now you've tried this at home a couple of times. You've visited a few commercial set-ups. You've done your research. You've got the hands-on experience and confidence. The next thing which one should decide is what to grow. Proper selection will ensure adequate yield. No matter what state the economy will be in, there will always be demand for safe, fresh, and healthy food.

    4. Do a cost-benefit analysis.

    The next step before setting up a hydroponic unit would be to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the project. It is wise to be well versed and aware of the range of expenses that will take place while setting up the farm and for its maintenance, once it is set. In an ideal condition, it would benefit to set-up the farm near an already available marketplace where you can sell your produce at a satisfactory rate. While selling the produce, one should choose a pricing strategy based on the value of the product. Your pricing should match the quality of the product so that you can manage to get a margin of profit and achieve a high level of customer satisfaction as well. 


    5. Choose a structure that provides the right environment for your set-up.

    It is vital to understand that there are many factors that are intrinsic to each locale. It is essential to study the local conditions before setting up the polyhouse structure. Blind copying may not work. Polyhouses helps to maintain climatic factors like temperature, humidity, etc. as well as protect the crop from harsh wind, rain, etc. Polyhouse also helps in reducing insects and pests that affect the yield. At the time of the set-up, it would be beneficial to consider the following:


      • The area should be well-drained. Waterlogging can harm the plants, especially in areas of heavy rainfall and flood.
      • The polyhouse should be far from industrial units so that the plants do not get polluted.
      • The design, dimensions, and orientation of the polyhouse should be thought through.
      • The material used in making a polyhouse must be of good quality to withstand the effects of changing environment.
      • The inner structure is also important - proper watering system, the spacing in the house, allowing sufficient light and air, maintaining humidity, etc. are just a few of many things that you should consider in your design.

    6. Workforce training.

    Although hydroponics is not a labor-intensive system; human involvement will still be needed to keep checks on crop growth. Providing adequate nutritional requirements, on time pruning, harvesting, making the system ready for the next cycle, etc. all require labor. Adequate training of the workforce on hydroponic techniques is crucial. 


    Do get started. Enjoy the experience. 


    Happy Growing!    

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