WE HOST BUSINESS & TECH-FOCUSED CROP-AGNOSTIC INDOOR AGRICULTURE EVENTS

Month: October 2021

Vertical Farming – A Science Explained

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Finding solutions to the challenges posed by an over-reliance on global supply chains has perhaps never been higher up the agenda than in the present day. COVID-19 and the resultant global movement restrictions have brought questions of provenance, security and sustainability to the fore, and it is vital that we take this opportunity as a chance to bring about a greener food recovery.

At IGS, we believe that vertical farming has a key role to play in the future of sustainable agriculture, working alongside traditional farmers and food producers to deliver a consistent, reliably high-quality product regardless of location.

Our latest publication is an introductory guide to vertical farming, aimed at those who are:

  • Interested in learning more about vertical farming;
  • Undertaking due diligence prior to starting their own vertical farming facility; or
  • Enhancing their existing operation

Through this piece, we aim to provide a fair and balanced view, backed by the latest data and without unsubstantiated assertions.

To download your copy now, please visit:  https://bit.ly/3EdPKM9

IGS at Indoor Ag-Con 20221

Bringing Reliability To Indoor Agriculture With Automatic Filtration

Indoor Ag-Con 2022 Exhibitor Boll Filter is bringing proven reliability to Indoor Agriculture in the form automatic filtration.Boll Filter at Indoor Ag-Con 2022

The aquaBoll® and 6.04 are proven in Vertical Farming with over 300 days of maintenance free operation. Filtration rates are available from 10µ-500µ.  Each filter is sized and designed based on the customer’s specifications which gives growers complete control of what’s in their nutrient water.

Common debris to be filtered out includes: grow media, plant debris, metallic fines, and pathogens.

Automatic filtration also eliminates the need for disposable media, helping growers reduce landfill waste and meet sustainability goals.

Boll Filters are manufactured at the headquarters in Germany with global subsidiaries supporting local regions.

To learn more, please reach out to Denton@Bollfilterusa.com or browse the links below:

aquaBoll® Brochure: https://www.bollfilter.com/filters/detail/aquabollr-automatic-self-cleaning-water-filter-backwashable-strainer-with-adaptive-filter-elements

aquaBoll® Flushing Video: https://youtu.be/JFAZhVPOb7U

6.04 Brochure:  https://www.bollfilter.com/fileadmin/downloads/prospekte/automatic-filter-type-6.04-en-BOLLFILTER.pdf

Argus Controls | Sustaining Cannabis Production With Fertigation

Article Sourced From Greenhouse Grower magazine.

By Alex Fermon, Product Marketing Manager with Argus Controls, a founding member of the Sustainable Cannabis Coalition.

The United Nations estimates that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed countries. With roughly 70% of the freshwater around the world being used for agriculture — a number that could climb to 90% in developing countries by 2030 — the need for efficient water management and sustainable irrigation is at a critical point.Argus Controls At Indoor Ag-Con 2022

Sustainable irrigation is defined as, “the rational practice of all activities related with the irrigation of plants, whether in the areas of horticulture, landscape, and ornamentals so that it helps to satisfy the respective survival and welfare needs of the present without compromising those of future generations.”

It considers the impacts of manufacturing and transportation of required equipment and materials, as well as incurred discharges and waste impacts.[1] For traditional horticulture and commercial agriculture, irrigation is a necessary process for plant growth and, although it can be done manually, automating this process could bring several benefits to growers.

Improving irrigation efficiency can contribute greatly to reducing production costs, making the industry more competitive and ultimately sustainable. Through proper irrigation, average yields can be maintained (or increased) while minimizing environmental impacts caused by excess applied water and subsequent agrichemical leaching.[2]

Fertigation as a Bridge to Sustainability

Fertigation is the process of delivering nutrients and water to a plant through automated irrigation. The goal is to not only produce a crop with higher yields, but to also run a more streamlined and sustainable operation. An automated system eliminates the need for constant monitoring and watering of plants and therefore will reduce overall workforce demands. Automation will also allow for consistency in quality that hand-watering cannot.

There are two common methods of delivering fertilizers through an irrigation system for sustainable production: dilute tank control and in-line injection.

Whether you select dilute tank feeding or an in-line injection system, there is a range of options for automating the nutrient dosing process. While automated dosing systems offer many management, productivity, and sustainability features (including reduced fertilizer and water runoff and better crop quality), they tend to be more complex and cost-prohibitive.

Consider a dilute tank control system when:

  • The whole crop can be administered with a single feed solution.
  • The dilute feed composition and strength (EC) do not change often.
  • The pH of water does not need frequent adjustment.

Consider an in-line injection system when:

  • Irrigation scheduling and nutrient dosing are integrated.
  • Supplying more than one nutrient formulation on the same irrigation system (different crop requirements).
  • The ability is needed to vary the feeding strength (EC) without having to prepare new stock solutions.

Some automated environmental control systems only manage the nutrient dosing equipment, while other horticulture nutrient systems can integrate irrigation scheduling with nutrient dosing activities. An automated fertigation system can be integrated with the facility’s environmental control system where it can be monitored and managed from a centralized user interface along with all other controlled processes within the grow operation.

Fertigation equipment and systems vary with each application and should be capable of adapting to the design and operation of the overall facility. This may include controls and monitoring for:

  • Tank levels
  • EC
  • pH
  • Acid/base dosing equipment
  • Water temperature
  • Soil moisture levels
  • Leaching rates (over drain)
  • Nutrient dosing equipment
  • Pump controls
  • Irrigation zone valves
  • Line purging
  • Recirculation management
  • Water treatment equipment (filters, pasteurizers, ozone, UV, etc.)

There are several factors to consider when planning, designing, and automating an irrigation or fertigation solution in a horticultural facility. Planning for sustainability will result in more efficient use of available resources allowing for long-term viability and success.

As the horticulture industry continues to evolve, so do sustainability solutions like greenhouse automation systems. The future of irrigation controls promises more intricate, intuitive systems with advanced sensors to support more sustainable practices.

REFERENCES:

[1] What we understand for sustainable irrigation. “Asociacion del Riego Sostenible”. Available at: http://www.riego.org/asociacion-riego-sostenible/la-asociacion/sustainable-irrigation-definition/ (Accessed: 29 January 2021).

 

[1] Munoz-Carpena, Dukes (2018) Automatic Irrigation Based on Soil Moisture for Vegetable Crops. University of Florida. Available at: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae354 (Accessed: 21 January 2021).

 

Neff, Jeff, “Automated Irrigation Techniques”. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwWU9BxVJZ0/ (Accessed: 29 January 2021)

MFG Tray Highlights Top Designs

MFG Tray Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor News:
MFG Tray Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor NewsMFG Trays Can Be customized To Your Farming Needs

Indoor Ag-Con exhibitor MFG Vertical Farming’s products deliver exceptional durability and performance for all of your indoor farming needs. MFG Tray’s trays and containers flats, trays and containers are designed for growing supplies, seed trays, vertical farming displays and flood tables for use with edible, medical and landscaping plants. Unlike plastic trays and containers, our glass-reinforced composite products are dimensionally stable and will not bend or sag under heavy loads. Thanks to this strength, MFG Tray products can meet tall stacking heights to save space and streamline indoor growing. MFG Tray products can be customized to meet your farming needs. Customized options may include: slots and holes for irrigation, side or drop handles and cut-outs or recesses or lids and dollies to simplify transport.

Success in vertical farming results from a carefully balanced mix of pH, nutrients, light, temperature and humidity. Vertical farming demands precise control of environmental factors to produce crops consistently at any time of the year. MFG Tray meets these demands with a proven line of high-strength, technologically advanced products – from trays and flats to nesting containers and customized options.

>> Wide range of designs, depths, and sizes to meet growing requirements
>> High weight capacity and rigidity
>> Smooth, nonporous composite resists odors, chemicals, and mildew
>> Composite material won’t corrode, bend or contaminate
>> Outstanding performance and longevity
>> Won’t absorb moisture, bend, dent or sag
>> Easily cleaned in hot water or steam and can be sterilized
>> Customized options available
>> Easy handling and stacking
>> Temperature range continuous -60° to 250° F (-51° to 121° C)

 

MFG Tray’s New ULTRA LITE Totes and Containers Combine Lighter Weight With Legendary Strength

MFG Tray Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor NewsNew product line is 40% lighter while retaining trusted strength and durability of MFG’s fiber glass reinforced composite.

Can an industrial container be made lighter and still retain its strength? That’s the challenge engineers at Molded Fiber Glass Tray have answered with the development of MFG Tray’s new ULTRA LITE totes and containers.

The new line of ULTRA LITE products are 40 percent lighter than standard fiberglass products while retaining the trusted strength and durability of MFG’s fiber glass reinforced composite, said Burt Hovis, MFG Tray material handling product line manager.

“ULTRA LITE is a direct result of customer requests to help improve shop ergonomics and lower shipping weight,” noted Hovis. “ULTRA LITE totes and containers answer industry-wide needs to reduce weight per container and to counter escalating shipping costs and weight.”

Hovis added that MFG Tray’s engineering team knew the finished product also had to be tough and long-lasting, similar to the company’s well-known MFG Tray brand.

“Even at 40% lighter, our new ULTRA LITE fiber glass products will be stronger than standard thermoplastic, can withstand temperatures from –60 to 250 F and are impervious to cutting oils, detergents, mild acids and alkaline solutions,” said Hovis

 

MFG Trays for Insect Rearing

Insect rearing facilities all over the world have use MFG Tray’s durable and dependable trays for over 40 years!

MFG Tray Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor News>>Dimensionally stable and exceptional structural strength
>>Drop ends and/or sides increases air circulation and faster cooling for the larva
>>Conforms to FDA Regulation Title 21 CFR 177.2420
>>Interlock stacking increases drying room efficiency
>>Temperature range continuous -60° to 250° F (-51° to 121° C)
>>Won’t bend, dent or deflect under heavy loads
>>Smooth, non-porous surface is easy to steam clean or power wash
>>Heavy-duty dolly available

Going Mainstream | Q & A With Babylon Micro-Farms CEO Alexander Olesen

Alexander Olesen - Babylon Co-FounderCEOFrom the beginning, Babylon Micro-Farms CEO Alexander Olesen has sought to make vertical farming accessible to mainstream markets. Combining subscription services with advanced technology and innovative equipment, the Babylon Micro-Farms “all-in-one” farming experience does just that for a growing customer base, including universities, hospitals, restaurants, resorts, senior care facilities and more.

We had the chance to catch up with Alexander to learn more about his innovative company and exciting plans for the future in this month’s CEO Q &A.

Can you share a little about how and why you got started, including the story behind the name of your company?

We started out exploring applications for small scale hydroponic systems in refugee camps while studying at the University of Virginia. Through that process, we built prototype systems capable of feeding a family and observed that the user experience was complicated and commercially available automation was prohibitively expensive, which represented a fundamental constraint for the adoption of small scale vertical farms.

We founded the company to miniaturize the semi-automation found in commercial-scale farms, at a fraction of the cost and designed it to be controlled via the cloud to allow for aggregated data collection.Today we’ve built and deployed that underlying technology on our fleet of distributed Micro-Farms in North America. We’re just getting started in our journey to apply our underlying technology to different vertical farming systems and in doing so expand the market for sustainable indoor farming.

We decided to call the company Babylon to pay homage to the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the first known aquaculture systems and one of the ancient wonders of the world.

Congrats on securing $4 million in grant and investment funding earlier this year. Tell us what this means for your Babylon IQ software program and expansion plans.

Babylon Micro-Garms Data MiningWe’re accelerating the commercialization of indoor farming service with hundreds of Micro-Farms being installed in foodservice operations across North America. We’re confident in our technology’s ability to deliver an unparalleled growing experience and it’s exciting to see the data coming in from our growing base of happy customers.

What do you hope to achieve with the partnership you’ve entered into with collegiate food service company, Harvest Table Culinary Group.

Cafeteria Babylon Mico-Farm

We’ve built a tremendous partnership with Harvest Table Culinary Group and they’re one of the most innovative culinary teams in the US. They’re pioneering a new level of responsible, local food sourcing at college campuses across the country and we’re proud to support them in their efforts to inspire a new generation of healthy consumers.

You’re also working with senior communities and hospitals. What advantages and goals do you have for these sectors and are there other markets you’re looking at?

There are organizations of all different types that are demanding their foodservice operations source higher-quality ingredients and reduce their environmental footprint. The technology we’ve developed and the service we’ve built on top of it enables these organizations to literally source food on-site, all year round, without any of the headaches associated with outdoor farming.

It’s a new way of doing things and it’s amazing to see hospital patients, senior citizens, students, and many other groups adopting Micro-Farms as a means of sourcing the highest quality produce and growing it right in front of the end consumer. The benefit of our remote management platform and our growing customer base is that the data is flowing back to us in abundance.

We’re gaining a very granular understanding of how our customers operate, what they consume, and, critically, how we can help to have a better experience. These insights are driving our success in the institutional foodservice space and they’ll allow us to expand into adjacent markets in the near future.

Where do you see your company 5 or 10 years from now – what’s your ultimate goal?

Bablylon Micro-Farms PlatformOur goal has always been to make vertical farming accessible to mainstream markets. We’re proving that it’s commercially viable with our foodservice partners and simultaneously we’re seeing the rapid expansion of the local food movement that’s driving a ton of innovations in the CEA space.

We’ve developed our technology and service specifically for small scale on-site vertical farms and we’re now pioneering an “intel inside” model to enable new vertical farming systems to be successful.

In 5 to 10 years we are going to see a plethora of on-site systems for different markets and crop types and we hope they’ll all be powered by BabylonIQ.

To learn more about Babylon Micro-Farms:

P: 877.589.2884
W: www.babylonmicrofarms.com
E: info@babylonmicrofarms.com

Babylon Micro-Farms Video Resources

 

Boll Filter Brings Reliability With Automatic Filtration

 

Boll Filter at Indoor Ag-Con 2022Indoor Ag-Con 2022 Exhibitor Boll Filter is bringing proven reliability to Indoor Agriculture in the form of automatic filtration.

The aquaBoll® and 6.04 are proven in Vertical Farming with over 300 days of maintenance-free operation. Filtration rates are available from 10µ-500µ.  Each filter is sized and designed based on the customers specifications, which gives growers complete control of what’s in their nutrient water.  Common debris to be filtered out includes: grow media, plant debris, metallic fines, and pathogens.

Automatic filtration also eliminates the need for disposable media, helping growers reduce landfill waste and meet sustainability goals. Boll Filters are manufactured at the headquarters in Germany with global subsidiaries supporting local regions.

If customers would like to know more, please reach out to Denton@Bollfilterusa.com or browse the links below.

aquaBoll® Brochure: https://www.bollfilter.com/filters/detail/aquabollr-automatic-self-cleaning-water-filter-backwashable-strainer-with-adaptive-filter-elements

aquaBoll® Flushing Video: https://youtu.be/JFAZhVPOb7U

6.04 Brochure:  https://www.bollfilter.com/fileadmin/downloads/prospekte/automatic-filter-type-6.04-en-BOLLFILTER.pdf