Tomato farming – The art hydroponic farm
Tomato farming – Port Augusta in South Australia
Sun drop Farm, located near Port Augusta in South Australia.
It’s a state of the art hydroponic farm that is thriving in the Australian desert
without the use of groundwater, soil pesticides or fossil fuels to grow crops.
Instead, it uses seawater and sunlight to cultivate crops, and as a result,
it can produce a whopping eighteen thousand tones of tomatoes a year,
which accounts for 15 percent of Australia’s annual produce.
This thriving commercial agriculture system can create and control an optimal
environment for growth all year round. It does this by controlling the climate
and irrigation inside its greenhouses to ensure the fruit and vegetables have exactly
the right levels of nutrients, like water temperature and carbon dioxide needed to flourish.
This, in turn, improves the taste as well. Sun drop Farm uses solar panels to desalinate
seawater and processes over one million liters of water per day, turning the
Southern Ocean seawater into fresh irrigation water. It does this by pumping
water from the nearby Spencer Gulf and then it’s desalinated through a solar
powered thermal unit. Then sustainably sourced fertilizers and micronutrients
are added to the water. This nutrient rich water mixture hydrate the tomato plants,
which are grown in coconut husks instead of soil.
Coconut husks, which are renewable resource, also helps root growth thanks to their
natural hormones. Sun drop Farm is equipped with a set of twenty three thousand mirrors that generates solar power by reflecting sunlight for more than three hundred and seventy five foot high receiver tower. When it’s sunny, it can produce up to 39 megawatts of electricity. Impressively, this is sufficient supply to power the desalination system and the remaining facilities power needs. Excess thermal heat and water are kept in storage facilities on the farm to use when needed. As mentioned, the use of harsh pesticides is needed to kill insects due to the pumping of seawater through the facility’s air filters. This is due to the high salt content in the water saturated air. This hydroponic farm with his desalination plant is ideal for places with no fresh water in hospitable land or harsh climate.
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