As one of the answers to rising food shortages, vertical farming has taken the agricultural industry by storm, but key questions about its profitability often keeps growers from making the switch. While there’s no denying the high costs of starting and running a vertical grow operation, at the end of the day, its a more economically and environmentally sustainable approach to farming.
The Costs of a Vertical Setup
Vertical farming operations are notorious for their upfront costs. From your vertical racking and climate control s to the facility itself, initial investments could cost as much as $50 million.
Once the business is up and running, growers still face hefty operational costs. Lighting s in particular account for a significant portion of a grower’s spending due to the sheer amount of lighting needed to make an indoor vertical grow operation productive.
Despite the costs, vertical farming continues to grow within the agricultural world thanks to its profitability. That’s not to say the industry hasn’t seen its fair share of failed vertical grow ops, but with patience and proper planning, vertical farmers can see significant returns on their investments.
How Vertical Farming Can Helps You Grow
Compared to conventional agricultural practices, vertical farming consumes 70 to 95 percent less water. This allows farmers to not only cut down on their water expenses but minimizes their environmental footprint—one of the many reasons we’ll continue to see vertical farming expand across the globe.
Another advantage for growers (and the environment) is the ability to grow without the use of pesticides. As long as the grow facility remains clean and tightly sealed, growers don’t need to invest in harmful pest control solutions and, as a result, are able to reduce costs while growing healthier plants and protecting local ecos.
Lower transport costs
Different crops thrive in different climates, which means growers using traditional farming methods may need to ship their product across countries and even continents to reach their consumers. Vertical farming presents a rare chance to grow close to target markets and reduce the high transport costs associated with outdoor farming.
One of vertical farming’s greatest natural advantages is that it gives farmers a more consistent crop yields. While outfoor farmers may be able to save on certain expenses, such as their lighting , their crops are subject to changing weather conditions. Vertical growers have nearly full control of their farm, leading to higher, more consistent yields that don’t depend on the season or climate.
More automation, more efficiency
Vertical indoor farming allows you to tailor just about every aspect of your cultivation, from specific light wavelengths to the strength of your airflow and everything in between. This usually means it takes more labor to keep a successful facility running, but vertical farming lends itself well to automation. Introducing automated water, climate, and lighting control are just some of the ways cultivators are lowering labor costs and streamlining their operation.
If there’s one thing vertical farming is known for, it’s the ability to truly maximize a grow space. Unlike single-level setups, vertical racking s take advantage of a grow room’s volume, meaning you get more productivity in a smaller area. What’s more, when it comes time to scale, you can simply expand upwards rather than having to fund and operate a whole new grow space.
So, Is Vertical Farming Profitable?
The short answer is yes, when it’s done right. Startup and operating expenses may be higher than traditional farming methods, but indoor vertical farms are typically much more productive. If they plan and manage their vertical setup effectively, growers are also able to take advantage of additional cost-cutting benefits that outdoor and single-level farming can’t offer.
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