SAVING COSTS AND INCREASING YIELDS BY ADOPTING GREENHOUSE OVER OPEN FIELD FARMING. [PART 2]
In this Post, we shall be looking at other advantages of adopting greenhouse over open field farming and also the yield potentials when you farm crops in a greenhouse over open field.
In the first part of this article, we defined a greenhouse as a structure with walls and roof made chiefly of transparent material, such as glass, in which plants requiring regulated climatic conditions are grown. These structures range in size from small sheds to industrial-sized buildings. A miniature greenhouse is known as a cold frame.
Because the interior of a greenhouse is exposed to sunlight, it becomes much warmer than the temperature outside, and this protects its contents in cold weather. On the other hand, Open Field Farms are not within these controlled environments and are totally dependent on the natural ecosystem.
Another advantage of the greenhouse farm over its open field counterpart is that the weeds management in the greenhouse is easier, tomatoes grown in small scale greenhouses consume less space but produce more fruits per acre. The planting of tomatoes in a concentrated space makes weeding easier. Moreover, use of drip irrigation denies weeds the water they need to thrive. Good space utilization in small scale greenhouse farming means there is less distance to cover when tending to your tomatoes. Tomatoes need staking to support the weight of the fruits and to grow upright. It is easier to stake your tomatoes with greenhouse.
Stealing of farm produce is a big problem in most regions and that can be minimized by use of greenhouse. Would-be thieves cannot know when the tomatoes are ripe and ready for harvesting. The need for pesticides is reduced, which lowers costs and risk of harmful residues on the crop. As a result of this, higher quality produce is possible. For consistent quality, good agricultural practices such as optimal plant population, irrigation, plant nutrition and vigilant crop protection (must still be maintained).
Tomatoes grown in the open field are exposed to all insects and diseases in the open environment. Greenhouses are covered with mesh screen to keep most of these pests and diseases they carry away. However, strict monitoring for breaks in the mesh and proper use of entrance doors, is necessary.
The plastic roofing materials also reduce the level of some diseases, by controlling the type of light entering the house. Challenges Notwithstanding these huge benefits, several challenges exist. Ecological, physical and socio-economic conditions call for modifications to this introduced technology. For example, some regions of the country experience higher temperatures. This poses challenges for more appropriate design and construction to reduce heat buildup. High upfront and operating expenses. In order to utilize a greenhouse to the best of its ability, you’ll need to invest in a kit or supplies that will have a good lifespan and proper characteristics for the plants you want to grow. For example, cheaper film plastics may provide sufficient conditions to retain heat, but more expensive glass windows will last longer and may help ventilate the greenhouse if able to be opened. With maximum climate control, comes the potential for a high operating cost. If you choose to heat your greenhouse via electronic heaters or by way of gas, you’ll see a serious increase in your monthly bills. Troublesome pests and lack of pollination.
The most amazing part of greenhouse farming is that it produces more yield per planting that when you farm a crop on an open field. The yield/hectare is about 7-10 times more than an open field farming. This is to say that if I farm tomato in a 1 hectare open field and harvest 20 tons of tomato, if the same size of land is used to farm tomato in a greenhouse, at best conditions, you can harvest about 200 tons in the same 1 Hectare greenhouse.
This is the part everyone likes to hear. If you can spend less on labour and get more results, why not own a greenhouse? The practices and intensive care for the crops in a greenhouse may look rigorous at first but the subsequent benefits outweighs all the initial stress and of cause capital cost.
While having a greenhouse can help you control most of what your plants come in contact with, one or two plants carrying pests like white flies or other diseases can quickly spread to the rest of your plants, sabotaging your entire crop. Careful precautions must be taken to eliminate any pests or diseases to make sure your next crop won’t be affected. Implementing greenhouse growing can be an excellent investment when carefully planned, built, and maintained, creating the potential for an increase in revenue or a means of saving on your monthly grocery bill.
Plethora Farms offer the following greenhouse services:
- Farming and production of tomato fruit, and vegetables
- Introduction of high quality greenhouses including irrigation system
- Construction of greenhouse in any land provided by the client
- Soil sterilization and preparations prior planting
- Counselling and step-by-step guidance to have maximum production rate, hence maximum profit.
In conclusion, while it is true that the capital cost of owning a greenhouse is high, the benefits, profitability far outweighs the effect of the high starting cost.