You might face the same challenges whether you grow in a hydroponic or aquaponic greenhouse, in the ground or whether you choose a hybrid way to cultivate:
- Lack of resources (financial or human);
- Expense management related to the greenhouse.
Find solutions to these problems that have a significant impact on your business.
Access to resources
The lack of financial resources proves to be one of the main challenges for producers. The analysis of the market, production needs and operating costs (manpower, heating, ventilation and lighting) is essential to ensure a profitable culture.
Understand the market
A product that generates a significant income must have a fast production cycle and be popular with consumers. An analysis of the market and industry reports can help you identify opportunities and optimize your production. Additional revenues generated can be reinvested in technology or in an expansion project in order to increase your profit margin.
Expansion by phase
An expansion plan by phase is a good way to allocate expenses associated with greenhouse cultivation over a few years. The complete expansion plan must be elaborated from the start of the project to ensure its success.
You can start with a greenhouse with a fewer number of bays in order to reduce labor costs, equipment purchase and energy consumption. The first phase of the project will allow you to test the interest of the market and learn to manage production costs. Our engineers have designed greenhouses that may be extended after the initial installation without ever interfering with your current production. So you can start your subsequent phases in a timely manner, without affecting your crops during production. This type of construction plan will allow you to remain within your budget and ease your learning curve.
Seeking funding is a step that usually comes at the start of the project. The funding request presents a complete portrayal of the project and your business. Our article on funding request provides you with further information of the subject and offers you useful resources.
Manpower represents the main expense for all greenhouse producers. It represents on average more than half of operating costs for both small and large producers. Improving the work environment and building automation are two interesting solutions to meet this challenge.
Labor shortage in agriculture (French only) affects one of the most important resources of greenhouse production. The employer must therefore rethink its management practices to gain employee loyalty and attract potential candidates. Among other things, you can build on recognition, decision-making autonomy and training to provide a more stimulating and motivating workplace. Training represents an interesting avenue for your permanent employees and foreign workers who come back to help you every year. AGRIcarrière even offers an online learning platform. These solutions will help you become a more attractive business in the eyes of potential candidates and the perfect workplace for your current employees.
Automation increases production, improves the quality of the crop, facilitates operations management and decreases labor requirements. This investment strategy allows you to reduce your production costs fairly quickly.
You can add technological equipment by phase to spread the costs over a chosen period. We recommend that you start by the automation of the ventilation system with a weather station. This automatically manages openings and closings on the roof and on the sides to reach the right temperature and the ideal humidity level. You can then automate the lighting, the heating, the irrigation and much more with a centralized control panel.
Computer control is the last step in automation. It allows you to manage your greenhouse remotely, receive alerts and collect statistical data. You can refer to it to streamline your working methods with plants and managing your team.
Expenses related to buildings
The mots energy-intensive sources of expenditure
The two main sources of expenditure result from heating and lighting. One solution is to increase the productivity of your crop to generate more income, thus more easily amortize operating costs.
Fortunaly, greenhouse cultivation is generally more productive and profitable than traditional farming. The controlled environment ensures faster growth, produces better yield per cycle and allows more harvests in the same year.
Data from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from the Artemis Industry report (2016) (only in English)
Conventional farming : 1,85 lb per ft2
Hydroponic greenhouse : 10,59 lb per ft2
Conventional farming : 0,69 lb per ft2
Hydroponic greenhouse : 8,71 lb per ft2
Greenhouse cultivation allows you to create microclimates by sections to grow various types of plants. Crops in demand, like flowers, or plants which have a rapid growth cycle, like lettuce, are good solutions to increase your profits.
Insect and disease management
Insects and diseases can generate losses that risk increasing your production costs. A greenhouse helps you to better control them. It protects the plants from these invaders and helps you reduce the use of pesticides.
A greenhouse is more productive and more profitable than field production when an effective strategy is implemented. Your greenhouse will help you to successfully meet the many challenges you face on a daily basis. Discover all the advantages of greenhouse cultivation.