CEA (controlled environment agriculture) is the name given to the ability to control variables in the growing process of crops. It enables crops to be grown anywhere at any time of the year, regardless of the amount of rainfall and other aspects of the climate, the length of day and night, and most other factors that impact crop growth traditionally.
We have developed Gelponics to be a sustainable growth substrate for plants to help accelerate cultivation – and vertical farming and CEA is an extension of this aim.
CEA and vertical farming allows growers to control five main variables:
#1 Carbon Dioxide
When plants are grown outside, they use light energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar. If plants don’t get enough CO2, their growth can be stunted, resulting in lost revenue and time for the grower. Growing crops in a controlled environment, like a greenhouse, allows you to maintain a healthy carbon dioxide concentration all year round.
Low humidity levels can lead to stressed-out crops, leading to plant growth slowing down or stopping altogether. Having the correct air humidity also has a vital role to play in the freshness and shelf life of food crops, so the fact you can regulate the air humidity in a controlled environment means optimised plant growth and yield.
Light not only promotes growth and controls flowering in crops, but it can also influence the form and structure of plants. HPS lamps and LED lighting in CEA allow us to produce crops more efficiently and effectively; it also provides opportunities in new environments and systems, such as indoor facilities like warehouses and vertical farms.
#4 Nutrient Concentration
Plant development and growth depend primarily on the concentration and combination of mineral nutrients available in the soil. Using CEA allows farmers to optimise nutrient intake for each crop for the best quality and yield.
Heating and ventilation units can be installed in a controlled environment to ensure consistent conditions are maintained during each year’s season and to offset the heat created by lighting.
What are the benefits of CEA?
Farming in a CEA uses simple, low-tech systems and complex high-tech systems together in such a way as to regulate the growing conditions, allowing farmers to:
- Create the perfect growing condition
- Grow crops anywhere
- Grow crops all year round
- Prevent damage from disease, pests or the weather
- Use less fertiliser, pesticides and water
CEA allows the farmer to create the perfect growing condition for whatever crop they want to grow, meaning the crops are not only healthier but will grow faster. And as CEA allows the farmer to grow crops all year round, the growing season is extended, and the farmer can produce more food crops in the time available.
CEA and vertical farming are innovative solutions for many issues facing agriculture businesses, and Gelponics sustainable growth substrate can support them too.
Please get in touch to learn more about how Gelponics can help you with CEA or vertical farming.