What is Controlled-Environment Agriculture?

Generally speaking, controlled-environment agriculture is a technology-based approach to farming that aims to protect crops from the outdoor elements and maintain optimal growing conditions. These techniques include vertical farming and indoor agriculture.

Protected cropping

Typically, a protected cropping structure involves various degrees of environmental control. It can be as simple as a shade house, or as complex as a fully climate-controlled high-tech glasshouse.

This type of growing method improves resource efficiency and increases yields. It also reduces the need for harmful chemicals and allows for year-round crop production. During the growth cycle, the plants are monitored using digital applications.

Protected cropping combines various technologies, including fertigation, irrigation, and heating. These systems can increase yields by twenty-five to one hundred percent. It also minimizes the effects of seasonality and pests. It can be used to grow exotic crops and luxury varieties.

The most advanced CEA systems are fully automated, closed loop systems. These are designed to use only the necessary inputs, while maximizing the quality and productivity of the crop.

For example, the Candidus system has been shown to cut costs by twenty percent. Its algorithm is said to have a significant effect on growers’ returns on investment.

A protected cropping structure can be as simple as a fabric row cover or a wood or metal structure. Other structures include covered plastic structures, or high tunnels. These may or may not be referred to as the hoophouse, the vertical farm, or the high-tech glasshouse.

Another example is the use of LED lights instead of sunlight. These lights can provide the same benefits as the sun, without the pitfalls. This system has been shown to achieve consistently high yields.

In the horticulture industry, new technology is constantly being developed, allowing for the production of crops for food and nutraceutical purposes. The most advanced form of protected cropping is a combination of high-tech greenhouses and hydroponic growing systems.

In the end, it’s important to note that controlled-environment agriculture is a process that needs to be understood and implemented to be effective. There are many factors to consider when implementing the method. These include infrastructure, equipment, and knowledge of the different disciplines involved. It can be a bit more expensive than conventional farming. However, it can be a profitable venture for farmers.

For instance, the energy cost of growing strawberries in a controlled environment chamber in Chiang Mai was twenty-one hundred and seventy-five dollars per crop cycle. This represents less than a percent of the overall costs associated with producing that same crop in traditional methods.


Compared to traditional farming, hydroponics in controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) involves less land and water, fewer chemicals, and greater efficiency. It is considered an environmentally friendly and green approach to food production.

In CEA, plants grow in a closed system that contains the water and nutrients they need. The pH of the solution is adjusted to a level that is suitable for plant growth. Some systems also employ algal photobioreactors that can increase plant productivity.

The use of CEA has a lower environmental impact than imported foods. It also allows for better monitoring of the climate, as well as the control of contaminant inputs. It is a sound economic and environmental case for the Gulf region.

In the Gulf, 80% of the freshwater resources are used for agricultural practices. Salt-water driven CEA concepts may minimize freshwater demands and alternate salt-tolerant and fresh-water cultivars.

In aquaponics, fish waste is used to provide nutrients for the plants. This method is thought to reduce the risk of contamination, as the fish are not in direct contact with the plants. In addition, the waste is recycled back to the fish. However, there are some concerns about pathogenic bacteria growing in these systems.

In CEA, plants are grown with the help of a nutrient stock solution, which is blended at a rate of one to 100 percent. The EC of the nutrient solution can be influenced by soluble salts present in the water.

The CEA practice involves a wide range of technologies, including greenhouses, aquaponics, and other indoor growing. It is a public-private partnership that promotes sustainable production.

The CEA initiative includes a team of experts who host workshops in Indiana and sponsor demonstrations at special events. They are also a part of the Vegetable Crops Hotline. They have worked to make the industry more competitive in terms of prices.

The CEA process has the potential to create new markets. It can also create jobs and turn underutilized buildings into farmland. It requires less chemicals and can help conserve space through vertical spacing. It can be used to produce fresh local food in drought-prone areas.

Cost-effective way to produce a variety of edible and high value plant species

Increasingly, farmers are using a cost-effective way to produce a variety of edible and high value plant species using controlled-environment agriculture (CEA). CEA is a combination of technology-oriented engineering and plant science. Through this method, farmers can optimize their production and maximize resource efficiency. This is important because it allows them to adjust their production to market fluctuations. In addition, it can reduce chemical intervention.

By using CEA, farmers can control most aspects of the growing environment. This includes reducing the amount of water used for irrigation and preventing the use of chemical herbicides. In addition, by creating a controlled environment, the effects of seasonality are minimized. Consequently, crop yields are higher. By improving plant quality and optimizing harvests, CEA can reduce water consumption, thereby lowering the cost of production. It also improves traceability and provides integrity in food supply chains.

Many indigenous crops are drought resistant and provide climate resilience. They are often grown on marginal land and offer dietary diversity. Some also have high medical importance. For instance, sea buckthorn in the Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan is a significant source of medical herbs. The cultivation of this crop has also helped to alleviate diabetes among mountain people.

Aside from increasing food security, CEA can also help to preserve biodiversity. The global loss of food is estimated to be $1.2 trillion. By utilizing Neglected and Underutilised Species, the global agricultural industry can conserve biodiversity and help to reduce the impact of climate change. In addition, the development of new products and training of farmers are essential for scaling-up the industry.

As technology continues to advance, the production of agricultural output will continue to be improved. In addition, it will help to minimize the impact of manual labour and to increase production efficiency. Moreover, by utilizing low-cost alternative resources, the future of CEA operations is assured. As a result, the field of controlled-environment agriculture is quickly developing. In order to ensure its success, it is crucial to develop and implement sustainable solutions.

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