The year is 2022; the world population is ever-growing and arable land is becoming scarce. It is estimated that food production globally will need to increase by 70% over the coming 30 years. To combat these issues and maintain a steady food supply globally, producers are turning to vertical farming or indoor farming. In 2021, the global indoor farming market had reached a value of $15.7 billion, and it is expected to grow to $31.1 billion by 2027. The lack of arable land needs to be faced, but there is also a growing consensus that the agriculture industry needs to use less water and chemicals for the industry to become sustainable. In addition, climate change is making growing conditions dramatically less reliable than they used to be, and countries relying on food imports struggle with transportation issues. To combat these modern issues, smart vertical farming rises as the contemporary answer.
The rise of smart vertical farming
Vertical farming allows more sustainable growth, higher yields, protected farming environments, and more benefits. Among the prominent new companies in this field, we find Squareroots, a company that can set up a new growing operation within three months and in 340 square feet provide as big of a yield as a farm of two or three acres. Squareroots utilize smart farming solutions to monitor and control factors such as light, temperature, humidity, and nutrition to make this possible.
While Squareroots are mainly located in North America as of yet, Grönska Urban Farming is another company that has established “Europe’s largest indoor vertical farm”, developed and located in Stockholm, Sweden. In Sweden, about 50% of the food we eat is imported, which calls for vast shifts in how we acquire our food due to the vulnerability of the global food market. Just as Squareroots, Grönska Urban Farming also utilizes modern smart farming technology to monitor and control their crops.
Costs of traditional farming vs vertical farming
While a large-scale vertical farming operation is estimated to cost three times more to establish than a conventional farming operation on a similar scale, vertical farming can produce two to three times as many crops as conventional farming in a much smaller area. It does not have to be all too expensive, though, and vertical farming yields a much greater financial return in the long run. Relatively cheap growing facilities such as containers or module houses can be used for vertical farming, and the technology to control the operations lasts long after purchase – such as Sensative’s wireless no-maintenance sensors that last up to 10 years. In addition, prices for an indoor farming operation are continuously decreasing due to factors such as smart lighting technology and other IoT solutions becoming cheaper as the smart market grows.
In contrast, the cost of traditional farming operations is growing as land is becoming more scarce, soil is becoming nutrient-depleted and requires more added nutrients and pesticides, and we see gas- and water prices continuously increasing.
How Sensative enables smart vertical farming
Let us now look at smart vertical farming and how Sensative’s IoT products can aid in the monitoring and optimization of growing conditions. Our range of multi-sensors for LoRaWAN offers slim and discreet but powerful modern technology for professional settings that monitor many relevant growing parameters such as humidity, temperature, and light strength.
The sensors are among the smallest of their kind, which makes them easy to hide and fit into challenging areas such as within growing boxes or machinery. Furthermore, as the sensors all have multi-functionality, a producer can obtain most if not all of their desired monitoring functionality through a single sensor, thus optimizing operations both financially and strategically. In addition, as the sensors communicate via LoRaWAN, they can send data with a distance of more than 10 kilometers to the closest receiver, making them ideal for operations outside of the city area where other sensor communication protocols are not an option.
For smart vertical farming, Sensative’s Strips MS +Comfort for LoRaWAN is the ideal choice. By utilizing this sensor, a producer will receive a collection of readings (temperature, light, humidity, and capacitance) from one single source.
Through the IoT platform used to connect the sensors, such as Sensative’s Yggio DiMS platform for smart cities and buildings, the producer will get a complete overview of indoor conditions in real-time. At this point, the producer can connect other smart devices for watering, nutrition, and more, to adapt growing conditions based on readings from the sensors. The producer can either manually adapt the conditions based on readings or set up scenarios where the whole operation becomes automated. A simple scenario might involve automatically lowering the light input when light (LUX) readings are too high for what the crops currently require.
Strips MS +Comfort sensors can be found directly in our webshop.
For the curious customer who wants to learn about IoT and try out our sensors together with the Yggio platform, we offer a “Starter Kit to Reduce Energy Costs” for monitoring indoor temperature, humidity, and more. A powerful kit for apartments, offices, and similar buildings.
If you are interested in buying our solutions in this case or need help tailoring a solution for your specific needs, visit our webshop or contact our sales team to evaluate your possibilities and requirements. We are here to help.