In the hydroponic crops, the plants complete their vegetative cycle without the necessity of using the soil. The water with mineral nutrition (total or partial) is provided through a solution in which the different essential nutrients for their development are dissolved.
The future of modern agriculture goes through the optimal use of one of the most limited and most important resources: water. In the coming days it will be essential that the agriculture adopt farming methods capable of maximizing the use of water and this is achieved with the assistance of the hydroponic crops.
If we establish a comparison between the amounts of water needed, in liters, to produce a kilo of tomatoes in different cultivation methods that exist nowadays, we can observe how hydroponic crops are the ones that consume less water:
— Open field cultivation: 60 liters per kilo of tomato.
— Hydroponic cultivation in greenhouse without drainage recirculation: 22 liters per kilo of tomato.
— Hydroponic cultivation in the greenhouse with recirculation of drains: 10 liters per kilo of tomato.
— Hydroponic cultivation in high technology greenhouse with recirculation of drains: 4 liters per kilo of tomato.
Reference: Van Kooten et al. New development in greenhouse technology can mitigate the water shortage problem in the 21st Century. Acta Hort 767. P45-51.
We see how the hydroponic crops and also high technology equipment in a greenhouse make possible to save almost 95% of irrigation water.
Hydroponic crops require special attention in terms of the conditions surrounding the plant (relative humidity, temperature, radiation, etc.) in a controlled environment, for which is required that the hydroponic culture is protected in a greenhouse.
The greater the technology implemented in the greenhouse where our hydroponic crops, are located is, the greater the control over all the parameters will be. This will result in higher savings in water and higher production.
The agriculture of the future will be able to face the great challenge of producing more with less resources thanks to hydroponic crops .