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(Gizmodo)   Large scale hydroponic farms accelerate plant growth by 250%, reduce waste from 50% to 10%, use 1% of the water, and increase per sq ft productivity by a factor of 100. Why are we not doing this?   (gizmodo.com) divider line 152
    More: Cool, LED bulbs, production designer, American football, hydroponics, food production, plant physiologist, climate change, photosynthesis  
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3391 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Jul 2014 at 2:18 PM (28 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-11 01:37:06 PM  
Start up capital needed for the complex structures of inordinate size compared to digging in the ground?
 
2014-07-11 01:47:00 PM  
Because big farming won't have it.
 
2014-07-11 01:48:53 PM  
There's a lot more arable land out there than unused warehouse space.

Plus, the sun is free.

For now...
 
2014-07-11 01:57:01 PM  
waste makes jobs.
 
2014-07-11 01:58:06 PM  
produces 10,000 heads a day

Are they suggesting that lettuce grows to maturity in one day? That doesn't sound possible.
 
2014-07-11 02:03:01 PM  
Hydroponic tomatoes taste like... well... they don't really have a taste

/need to fix that
 
2014-07-11 02:06:56 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: Are they suggesting that lettuce grows to maturity in one day? That doesn't sound possible.


No, they're suggesting they've got lettuce constantly coming to maturity. So, however many days it takes to mature times 10000, plus a little bit o' slop for the waste, is roughly how many plants they've got growing at any given time.
 
2014-07-11 02:08:23 PM  
They do it with a lot of the pot that is grown.
 
2014-07-11 02:11:21 PM  

Shostie: There's a lot more arable land out there than unused warehouse space.

Plus, the sun is free.

For now...


There's a bit more that goes into farming than "put seeds on ground and wait". If the yield improvement and cost reductions are sufficient, we'll build the warehouses on arable land.
 
2014-07-11 02:13:24 PM  

rooftop235: Because big farming won't have it.


You'd think, though, that agribusiness would see the potential for profit here, even with the initial sunk costs.
 
2014-07-11 02:22:16 PM  
The answer starts with m and ends with oney.

It costs a lot to set up.  Long term profitability(and environmental conscientiousness) don't drive the US economy.
 
2014-07-11 02:23:45 PM  

InterruptingQuirk: Start up capital needed for the complex structures of inordinate size compared to digging in the ground?


Also the running costs are insane. Normally the water cycle takes care of itself, but here you have to do that job yourself.
 
2014-07-11 02:24:19 PM  

ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.


Those damned Irish at it again!
 
2014-07-11 02:25:51 PM  

ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.


my baloney?
 
2014-07-11 02:25:52 PM  

Shostie: There's a lot more arable land out there than unused warehouse space.

Plus, the sun is free.

For now...


www.thelmagazine.com
 
2014-07-11 02:30:44 PM  

ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.


upload.wikimedia.org
 
2014-07-11 02:30:56 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Hydroponic tomatoes taste like... well... they don't really have a taste

/need to fix that


That's the tomatoes they choose to grow, not the hydroponics.  Commercial tomato growers want them to be as unbruiseable as possible while still looking good.  People will buy an attractive tomato that tastes like cardboard over a tasty one that looks funky every time.
 
2014-07-11 02:33:07 PM  
Using LED bulbs developed by GE, designed to produce the optimal wavelength of light that plants crave, Shimamura is able to accelerate plant growth by 250 percent.

So LEDs and Brawndo. Got it.
 
2014-07-11 02:35:02 PM  

foo monkey: ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 400x266]


I think you win this one.
 
2014-07-11 02:35:23 PM  

foo monkey: ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 400x266]


Spelling fail.
 
2014-07-11 02:35:54 PM  
working with GE to set up similar "plant factories" in both Hong Kong and Eastern Russia. Should the method continue to gain traction-as it has in Chicago

Ok now that I've taken the obligatory shiat on this idea... this might work.

There are situations where this makes sense. They're few, but if you can get a powerline running to a place but you can't get the sun to show up (Siberia) or the sun hides behind other buildings and the dirt is concrete (HK and Chicago) then this might be worth it.

Antarctic bases are another example. This movie -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encounters_at_the_End_of_the_World <- shows a garden like this with lots of chard and whatever leafy stuff.
 
2014-07-11 02:36:27 PM  
With drought covering 35% of the country, a system that uses 1% of the water sounds more economical.  I wonder how much a head of lettuce would need to cost before it becomes economical to build large scale hydroponic farms.
 
2014-07-11 02:38:08 PM  

ikanreed: foo monkey: ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 400x266]

Spelling fail.


"My" starts with a letter other than "m" now?
 
2014-07-11 02:38:52 PM  
Waste as in spoilage..... pfft give me an efficiency rating, energy input per unit output.  Nice numbers otherwise but meaningless on the economics of the endevor
 
2014-07-11 02:39:01 PM  

doublesecretprobation: ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.

my baloney?


www.idolpeter.de
 
2014-07-11 02:39:06 PM  
Because we saw Airponic farming on Star Trek and don't understand why we would want to do something so backwards.
 
2014-07-11 02:40:13 PM  

Manfred J. Hattan: ikanreed: foo monkey: ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 400x266]

Spelling fail.

"My" starts with a letter other than "m" now?


Yeah, that's it.

//okay, now's my chance to pretend this is all in good humor and I don't really care about the spelling of a joke
///no one will suspect a thing.
 
2014-07-11 02:42:14 PM  
They have had automated agriculture in Europe for years. But we would rather subsidize illegal aliens (and complain about it) than invest in the infrastructure necessary to farm like this. Because we have a LOT of cheap land.

But soon the price of potable water will leave us very little choice...
 
2014-07-11 02:44:10 PM  

Foundling: Because we saw Airponic farming on Star Trek and don't understand why we would want to do something so backwards.


Exactly.  We keep expecting to see Kes, and then have to fight off an over-protective and jealous Neelix.
 
2014-07-11 02:45:26 PM  
You'd think the pot growers in the Northwest would be world leaders in hydroponics by now.
 
2014-07-11 02:45:57 PM  
It probably uses less water than irrigating the desert,  but it is probably not as good at water usage as non-irrigation farming uses.
 
2014-07-11 02:48:27 PM  

rooftop235: Because big farming won't have it.


I think you mean family farms and big farming sucking comfortably on the government teat via subsidies and food stamps.
 
2014-07-11 02:48:34 PM  
Variations of this are happening elsewhere, already. Up the street from me is an indoor aquaponics operation in an old Wonder bread factory...http://www.foodchainlex.org/ They share a building with a local brewery, West Sixth (covered in previous Fark threads). Growing plants in urban areas is great, but it is really cool when that is paired with fish/seafood production, more so when the "input" into the system includes spent grain from a brewery.
 
2014-07-11 02:49:12 PM  

Heraclitus: They have had automated agriculture in Europe for years. But we would rather subsidize illegal aliens (and complain about it) than invest in the infrastructure necessary to farm like this. Because we have a LOT of cheap land.

But soon the price of potable water will leave us very little choice...


It's America. Tell people we can turn their cornfields into cattle ranches. More cheap meat for everyone!
 
2014-07-11 02:50:28 PM  
I was just watching a news program that showed a hydroponic farmer living near the Mississippi River in Missouri that used his older hydroponics equipment and recycled water to farm fish as well. I don't see a huge future in it, but I guess there are several ways to make a profit on the tech.
 
2014-07-11 02:51:29 PM  

Mr. Eugenides: MaudlinMutantMollusk: Hydroponic tomatoes taste like... well... they don't really have a taste

/need to fix that

That's the tomatoes they choose to grow, not the hydroponics.  Commercial tomato growers want them to be as unbruiseable as possible while still looking good.  People will buy an attractive tomato that tastes like cardboard over a tasty one that looks funky every time.


My problem, growing up, was that my mom insisted tomatoes were fridge items. As an adult I suggested she try not putting them in the fridge. Now, we're talking about an executive in charge of payroll for 50k people, paid well enough that she's bought houses out of spite. She says "but where else would I put them?"
 
2014-07-11 02:53:00 PM  

incendi: Sin_City_Superhero: Are they suggesting that lettuce grows to maturity in one day? That doesn't sound possible.

No, they're suggesting they've got lettuce constantly coming to maturity. So, however many days it takes to mature times 10000, plus a little bit o' slop for the waste, is roughly how many plants they've got growing at any given time.


Lettuce heads take around 70 days to mature from planting, x 10,000 x 1.1 (waste) and you've got around 3/4 of a million plants in a football field sized warehouse filled with LEDs.
 
2014-07-11 02:53:19 PM  

Mr. Eugenides: MaudlinMutantMollusk: Hydroponic tomatoes taste like... well... they don't really have a taste

/need to fix that

That's the tomatoes they choose to grow, not the hydroponics.  Commercial tomato growers want them to be as unbruiseable as possible while still looking good.  People will buy an attractive tomato that tastes like cardboard over a tasty one that looks funky every time.


You beat me to it, but yeah.

The reason the tomatoes from my garden taste a hojillion times better than what we get from factory farms is all in the variety of tomatoes we grow. In my garden I can grow heirloom varieties which taste much, much better - but the plants also require a lot more care while maturing, more careful harvesting, and the tomatoes won't ship as well either.

If a factory farm or hydroponic farm grew the same tomatoes I do they would taste exactly the same..... but they'd also spend like 50x as much on labor (not intended to be a real estimate) and have a shiatload more waste from tomatoes that showed up in a truck to their destination all squished and shiatty.
 
2014-07-11 02:56:42 PM  
Also hydroponics work GREAT for some crops, not so much for others.  There's a reason almost every hyprodponic farm you see in the news is growing lettuce, tomatoes or strawberries (and why you can buy hydroponically grown butter lettuce at just about any supermarket).
 
2014-07-11 02:57:01 PM  

RodneyToady: Foundling: Because we saw Airponic farming on Star Trek and don't understand why we would want to do something so backwards.

Exactly.  We keep expecting to see Kes, and then have to fight off an over-protective and jealous Neelix.


I'm OK with that.  Beating Neelix down would be half the fun.
 
2014-07-11 02:59:49 PM  
Business
 
2014-07-11 02:59:52 PM  

incendi: Shostie: There's a lot more arable land out there than unused warehouse space.

Plus, the sun is free.

For now...

There's a bit more that goes into farming than "put seeds on ground and wait". If the yield improvement and cost reductions are sufficient, we'll build the warehouses on arable land.


And a lot more goes into initial startup that building a warehouse.
 
2014-07-11 03:01:48 PM  

mongbiohazard: If a factory farm or hydroponic farm grew the same tomatoes I do they would taste exactly the same..... but they'd also spend like 50x as much on labor (not intended to be a real estimate) and have a shiatload more waste from tomatoes that showed up in a truck to their destination all squished and shiatty.


The hydroponic farms could be closer to urban centers which would reduce shipping costs and times.  That would mean they might be able to get away growing a tomato that is a little more fragile and tastier.
 
2014-07-11 03:03:06 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: produces 10,000 heads a day

Are they suggesting that lettuce grows to maturity in one day? That doesn't sound possible.


Pipeline style parallel processing, how does it work?
 
2014-07-11 03:03:22 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Hydroponic tomatoes taste like... well... they don't really have a taste

/need to fix that


Tomacco?
 
2014-07-11 03:03:23 PM  

mongbiohazard: Mr. Eugenides: MaudlinMutantMollusk: Hydroponic tomatoes taste like... well... they don't really have a taste

/need to fix that

That's the tomatoes they choose to grow, not the hydroponics.  Commercial tomato growers want them to be as unbruiseable as possible while still looking good.  People will buy an attractive tomato that tastes like cardboard over a tasty one that looks funky every time.

You beat me to it, but yeah.

The reason the tomatoes from my garden taste a hojillion times better than what we get from factory farms is all in the variety of tomatoes we grow. In my garden I can grow heirloom varieties which taste much, much better - but the plants also require a lot more care while maturing, more careful harvesting, and the tomatoes won't ship as well either.

If a factory farm or hydroponic farm grew the same tomatoes I do they would taste exactly the same..... but they'd also spend like 50x as much on labor (not intended to be a real estimate) and have a shiatload more waste from tomatoes that showed up in a truck to their destination all squished and shiatty.


Thanks, guys, I kind of knew that

/obviously tasty varieties aren't commercially practical as it is
//thus the need to "fix" that
 
2014-07-11 03:05:30 PM  

Mr. Eugenides: MaudlinMutantMollusk: Hydroponic tomatoes taste like... well... they don't really have a taste

/need to fix that

That's the tomatoes they choose to grow, not the hydroponics.  Commercial tomato growers want them to be as unbruiseable as possible while still looking good.  People will buy an attractive tomato that tastes like cardboard over a tasty one that looks funky every time.



I've tried several varieties of tomato. I've gotten them from supermarkets, farmers' markets, from my neighbors, and out of my own back yard.
Every single one of them tasted like sour dirt.

A raw tomato, is a wasted tomato.
 
2014-07-11 03:06:36 PM  
Sure, GE is touting their LEDs and a highly manipulated environment for growing lettuce.

The first really big market for such schemes will be legal marijuana grow ops in places like Colorado, and once the technology is perfected there will be a larger market for illegal grow ops.
 
2014-07-11 03:10:17 PM  

ikanreed: The answer starts with m and ends with oney.

It costs a lot to set up.  Long term profitability(and environmental conscientiousness) don't drive the US economy.


www.bet.com
 
2014-07-11 03:14:24 PM  

ajgeek: incendi: Sin_City_Superhero: Are they suggesting that lettuce grows to maturity in one day? That doesn't sound possible.

No, they're suggesting they've got lettuce constantly coming to maturity. So, however many days it takes to mature times 10000, plus a little bit o' slop for the waste, is roughly how many plants they've got growing at any given time.

Lettuce heads take around 70 days to mature from planting, x 10,000 x 1.1 (waste) and you've got around 3/4 of a million plants in a football field sized warehouse filled with LEDs.


That might be a bit high of an estimate. The heirloom lettuce variety I grow matures in 50 days (Green Oakleaf from Seed Savers Collective). Some of my other leafy greens mature even faster (and some slower). I'd expect that any industrial operation would use a variety that matures very quickly.

Plus, the conditions of growing can affect the process too. My greens grow crazy fast in the DC summer heat (and bolt crazy fast too). And the greens start out very, very small. You could have the seedlings started packed together in a very small space, and once they start getting bigger transfer them to the end-stage growing equipment. That's pretty much what I do with some of my greens when I start them indoors under my HPS lights and then put them outside when they're big enough.
 
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