Research: Hydroponics Lettuce Yields 11 Times More Produce and Saves 250 Times on Water Compared to Conventional Grown

A recent Research conducted in Arizona, lettuce growing capital of the US, compared lettuce growing using hydroponics vs. conventional agriculture. The research concluded that via hydroponics, lettuce yields increase 11 times, while at the same time water consumption reduced by 250 times. According to the researchers, this is the first quantitative research comparing lettuce grown by hydroponics vs. conventional agriculture.

The research lists additional benefits of using hydroponics, relating to growing parameters as well as to positive effects on environment. As for growing parameters, some advantages are the continuous production year around, shorter growing time and multiple growing cycles per year.

As for the beneficial environmental effects of hydroponics, the research names many: water saving is achieved by a better utilization of water (less water percolation into soil which does not reach the plant roots); the prevention of undesired seepage also prevents soil contamination by nutrients, herbicides and pesticide, a common negative impact on environment in conventional agriculture.

The use of hydroponics eliminates the need for arable land, allowing flexibility in greenhouse location, potentially reducing the distance travelled for distribution (therefore saving transportation costs and fuel consumtion, followed by reduced carbon footprint).

In a world where land and water are becoming scarce and population grows rapidly, new cultivation methods must be developed, and hydroponics is an appealing alternative.

Guilherme Lages Barbosa et. al, 2015

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