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Reducing Environmental Impact: Technology for Eco-friendly Plant Farming

August 2023

From bush burning, deforestation to soil degradation, traditional farming practices have contributed to environmental problems such as climate change and erosion. However, with the recent clamour by environmental activist groups to save the environment and promote eco-friendly plant farming methods, farmers are turning to environmental impact reduction technologies for assistance.

In this article, we'll go over some of the top sustainable farming technologies farmers in the UK are adopting to reduce the environmental impacts of plant farming activities.

There is little doubt that the introduction of biotechnology has had a tremendous impact on plant agriculture. Over the last decade, it has evolved into a tool for agricultural growers, who can generate plants with specified features. And while crop breeding has long been an existing feature of agriculture, biotech crops are more environmentally friendly.

On the surface, biotechnology mitigates the effects of climate change by developing genetically modified stress-tolerant and high-yielding crops. GMOs can be cultivated to require fewer pesticides, water, and less ploughing.

A recent study by the International Food Information Council Foundation revealed that "in addition to combating the environmental stresses of disease and pests, researchers in academia and industry are currently working on developing crops that use water more efficiently to help with growth in drought conditions."

Gardin has become a key tool for developing new varieties of crop, as Dr. Chiara Volpi, senior researcher at Enza, said:

"We tested the Gardin technology on some of our breeding lines. Being able to see how the plants respond to stress in real-time has been very valuable for understanding their potential. Not only this will make us aware of stress well before it becomes visible; it will also provide an objective and quantifiable way of understanding the effect of variability in the environment and of differences between varieties, as well as the efficacy of treatments.”

With the world's population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, a growing demand for food requires more land to grow. And one of the ways farmers worldwide hope to solve the issue of farmland scarcity is through vertical farming.

Vertical farming, a novel agricultural technology, involves growing crops in vertically stacked layers, frequently in a controlled setting such as a glasshouse or indoor farm. This technology has numerous advantages, one of which is that it reduces the environmental impact of farming.

Additionally, vertical farming reduces the amount of land required for agriculture, saves water by using a closed-loop irrigation system, minimises the use of pesticides and herbicides, reduces the carbon footprint of food production by growing crops closer to urban areas, and increases energy efficiency by optimising heating and cooling systems.

In recent years, environmental engineers and agricultural technology experts have collaborated to create electrified field equipment to lower agriculture's carbon footprint. This is because most plant agriculture equipment runs on diesel, which emits greenhouse gases during combustion.

Additionally, to push the message of eco-friendly plant farming, eco-conscious agricultural field equipment manufacturers like John Deere, Monarch, and Knegt have created a line of electric tractors and farming equipment for the sole purpose of eco-friendly farming. One of the upsides of electric field equipment like electric tractors is that they produce no exhaust emissions and are more cost-effective.

Organic farming improves soil and human health while safeguarding the environment using environmentally friendly farming methods. It uses higher-quality soils, which results in increased agricultural productivity, making it a more economically competitive option overall.

Organic farming is distinct in requiring fewer fertilisers and pesticides, both of which take a significant amount of fossil fuel to manufacture. Compared to traditional farming methods, organic farming as a crop cultivation technique employs composting, crop rotation, and natural insect control.

And as a form of eco-friendly plant farming system, organic farming can lessen the environmental effect of farming by lowering synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, thereby enhancing soil health. Organic farming also helps preserve biodiversity, as it promotes using natural habitats for beneficial organisms such as bees and other pollinators.

The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) has opened up a whole new world of digital agriculture. Digital sensors, such as our Gardin sensors, can now monitor every detail of farming, making the vertical farming business more sustainable with lower environmental impaction.

Farmers may now obtain real-time information and ideas regarding crop operations on a farm around the clock, thanks to digital sensors that are now equipped with AI technology and connected to the IoT. More sophisticated digital sensors, such as our Gardin sensor with Chlorophyll fluorescence capabilities, can continuously collect and analyse data on key growth indicators, such as plant height, leaf area, and branching patterns.

Furthermore, using digital sensors enables farmers to boost yields, conserve water and fertiliser, minimise waste, and increase productivity. While the use of digital sensor technologies in plant agriculture is still in its early stages, widespread adoption may help farmers achieve precise data farming, which is the key to sustainable farming.

Gardin and its Role in Eco-Friendly Farming

The need for sustainable farming practices has resulted in farms and farmers shifting from traditional to digitised farming systems. To attain sustainability and safeguard the environment, farms and farmers are transitioning to electrified farming equipment, vertical farming, and digital sensors.

To help growers and vertical farms achieve sustainability and promote eco-friendly plant farming practices, we offer a new style of agriculture known as "Real-Time Response Agriculture", in which growers are provided with real-time insights into key parameters of plants for swift identification of and response to crop health issues. To achieve this, our plug-and-play Gardin sensors allow farmers to remotely capture vital crop data across the farm, while our intuitive platform provides actionable insights for irrigation, lighting, and temperature management in real-time.

By incorporating our Gardin platform and digital sensors into your farming activities, you can adjust the farm environment to the precise needs of the plants throughout the growth cycle to increase yield, reduce crop variability, and lower costs.

Ready to take your farm's environmental reduction impact to the next level? Visit our website or contact us for information about our products and how they help you achieve sustainable farming practices.