Vertical farming app software for sustainable food production maximize profit, traceability, efficiency. Full farm inventory, site bay, row, column, rack, and shelf mapping with bar-code or RFID.  Vertical farming cost reports, harvest management.

Vertical farming app software for sustainable food production maximize profit, traceability, efficiency. Full farm inventory, site bay, row, column, rack, and shelf mapping with bar-code or RFID. Vertical farming cost reports, harvest management.

Farm App Software Brochures: 
[Farm management]  

[Fresh produce packing] 

[Flower packing] 

[Food manufacturing]  

[Meat packing]  

[Fresh produce RFID]

100% accurate farm traceabiltiy

The farmsoft app delivers instant farm traceability recalls, both up and down the supply chain.  Perform recalls in seconds, with full confidence of accuracy and reliability. Minimize risk by ensuring accurate traceability is automatically captured thru natural business processes, easily and quickly. Pass audits with ease and reduce compliance costs using farmsoft's automatic paperwork tools and features. 

Easy, instant farm planning

With the farmsoft app, farm planning is easy with automatic farm task creation to guide teams through the farming process. Plan entire crops for the season or even year with just a few clicks making farmsoft one of the best farm software solutions for easy planning.  

Best practices enforced

The farmsoft farming app creates tasks automatically based on the best practices for your farm, you check their accuracy and adjust them if the weather or other conditions change. The farming team is guided through farm tasks ensuring work is done at the right time using correct materials, and compliance data is captured at every critical point.

Farm audits passed with ease

The farmsoft app has got your farm covered!   You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know the auditors are coming the next day? Forget about about it. Using farmsoft, you have the confidence that you can do instant recalls, and generate any traceability, farm summaries, and farm records in a matter of seconds.

100% accurate farm budgets

View estimated Vs actual costs in real time, down to a specific patch/block, or by farm site, crop, and variety. Never have production cost shocks again. Budgets are automatically created by the best practice system and allow projections for any period of time into the future, down to the application of a specific spray chemical or fertilizer.

Instant access to live farming costs for each block, plot, planting, and variety

View costs in real time, down to a specific patch/block, or by farm site, crop, and variety. Compare costs per hectare/acre/M2 between varieties, different farms; and even compare cost per area for each task type like fertilizing, water, harvesting, spraying and more...

Farm yield monitoring & analysis

Use the farmsoft farming app software to analyze previous years of yield with current yield to detect trends, problems or opportunities in the farming process.  Charts allow easy visual comparison of farm yield performance.

Easy farm PHI (Preharvest interval)

The farmsoft farming app stops users from scheduling a harvest if there has been some spray (or other) activity that caused a PHI (Preharvest interval).  This also woks in revers - farmsoft farm software will stop users from scheduling a spray task if that task has PHI chemicals and there is a PHI conflicting harvest already scheduled. 

Automatically managed re-entry period

The farmsoft farming app automatically manages and enforces re-entry periods after the application of farming chemicals that are hazardous.  The farmsoft farm software 

Reduce farm administration cost and time by 60%

Automatic paperwork, labels, and reporting reduces the burden on administration teams and saves everyone's time.

Better fresh produce quality now

Quality control and food safety has never been easier with industry standard quality tests, food safety checklists; or configure your own tests.   Perform quality inspections in field.  Farm managers receive alerts if there are any quality problems discovered or developing in field.

100% accurate farm inventory, no shrinkage!

Know exactly where all your farming materials are at all times, live - in real time!  Automatically track balances of inventories at multiple farms, and multiple warehouses at each farm.  Check out/check in inventory management for managed store-rooms.

Vertical farming app software for sustainable food production maximize profit, traceability, efficiency. Full farm inventory, site bay, row, column, rack, and shelf mapping with bar-code or RFID. Vertical farming cost reports, harvest management.

The farmsoft farming app delivers special attention to each client – dedicated solution consultants, project management, remote or on-site training and deployment – guarantee a quality solution. Enterprise farmsoft can be installed on your own server or accessed from farmsoft cloud – your choice. We can make additions and changes farmsoft Enterprise to ensure it meets your exact requirements. farmsoft Enterprise provides rapid R.O.I. for fast growing professional farms.

Farm Budgeting app
Create farm budgets quickly, detailed for each individual crop batch, plan inventory, labor, and equipment use, quantity, and cost. Monitor actual costs versus estimated farm costs.
Farmsoft delivers budgets for every section, subsection, patch, block, and crop instance. Budgets generated even go to the detail of specifying a particular brand and make of inventory to use, on a precise date. This unique feature sets farmsoft apart from other ‘farming solutions’. 
Easily create farm budgets for the entire farm, no matter how many varieties you are growing, and regardless of the number of plantings.

Make your farm a lean manufacturer by improving JIT delivery and accuracy of materials ordering by using farm budgeting data to project the quantity of inventory, labor, and equipment resources
Financial decisions can be improved by having access to comprehensive budgeting information before each season commences.

Easily project materials and inventory consumption
The Farm Budgeting modules reduces the risk of cash flow shocks, while maximizing your farm’s cash flow position by planning ahead using the budgeting information produced by the Farm Budget module
Contact your nearest farmsoft consultant to discuss your farm budgeting requirements.
Farm budgets create estimates for the cost and quantity of labor, equipment, and the date that the resource will be consumed or applied
Easily detect when farm budgets have been missed, and take corrective action quickly to protect cash flow position.

Compare actual farm costs with estimated farming costs at any time in real time using live budget data
Analyze farm budget figures (estimated) and actual figures grouped by land, produce, farm, site, produce type, or variety; or any combination of those selections.
Farmsoft farm inventory software reduces inventory waste, shrinkage, and ensures traceability. Farmsoft Farm Inventory software delivers new ways to increase accountability of farming materials & inventory, and ensures reduced production costs farm-wide, resulting from lower waste and shrinkage.

The Farmsoft inventory software provides a high level of accountability of production materials, allowing multi-site, multi warehouse tracking of all farming materials at all times. Access to accurate stock take information of all farm materials is critical for improving ordering accuracy and cash flow. Shrinkage or waste can be easily detected and traced back to operational areas, departments, or employees, allowing the farm to maximize return on investment for all materials.

Reduce farm inventory waste
Increase inventory accountability
Reduce waste and increase the accuracy of inventory allocations to specific cost centers.  Enhanced traceability reduces business risk
Contact a farmsoft consultant today for a free farm inventory consultation.
Easily allocate traceability information for all inventories, allowing rapid recalls and traceability processes to meet the highest international farming and food safety standards. Simple stock-take processes ensure continual accuracy of stock-take information across the entire farm.

Optionally allow ad-hoc creation of inventory on the fly, this feature allows rapid creation of inventory records during the farm task record gathering process. Traceability is still maintained to a high level for clients using this feature. This feature reduces administrative requirements and expedites record keeping. You can easily disable this feature from the farmsoft Settings module. Install the farmsoft Farming App to go mobile with your farm inventory management today.

Inventory can be accessed based on an employee’s site permissions, allowing management to provide access to only selected inventory at selected sites to a specific employee. 
Farm diary app

The Farm Diary is the central hub for easily planning, monitoring, and managing all farm activities and recording farm records.

Easily view activities across multiple farm areas, multiple farms, and multiple geographical locations from the Farm Diary. Farm record keeping has never been easier, with customizable Task Types that can be configured to match your farm record keeping requirements. Download the brochure and watch the two videos on this page.

Promotes rapid management response, and improves farm profitability via on-screen alerts and smart monitoring & observation systems.

Quickly identify potential problems and take corrective action immediately
reduce farm risk via accurate & effortless recording of traceability information during and after task execution.

Helps to improve communication between farming employees and teams via integration with task management tools, alert systems, and by providing real time updates to farm management
promotes rapid management response, and improves farm profitability via on-screen alerts and smart monitoring & observation systems.

Quickly identify potential problems and take corrective action immediately
reduce farm risk via accurate & effortless recording of traceability information during and after task execution.

Helps to improve communication between farming employees and teams via integration with task management tools, alert systems, and by providing real time updates to farm management
farm record keeping.

The Farm Diary archives all farm records for rapid access in the event of a fresh produce recall. Maintaining farm records is essential for a very high level of farm traceability. The farm diary makes capturing farm records from your phone, tablet, PC/Mac easy. 
Farm Land Management made easy for fruit, vegetable, hop, flower, and coffee farms. Easily define farming areas provides permanent traceability records for historical inputs.
Better farm land management is at your fingertips via the ability to rapidly look-up total inputs into a selected area of land, inputs can be reported by date range of input, input type (ie: a specific product), or even farm, site, area, or material supplier. Download the full farmsoft Farm Software specification now.

Define sites, farms, block, block area, row, bay, crop batch ares of land, even number individual trees if required
Assign land areas to each Crop for the life-cycle of the crop.

Automatic calculation of estimated crop life-cycle based on best practice values
Record each planned instance of a crop planting (this later becomes a Crop when seedling inputs are recorded)
Configure average life-cycle for every variety of produce.

Include maps, soil analysis, water analysis and other documents with each area of land.

Farm land management made easy. Record, retrieve, and analyze documents, maps, and other critical land management data.
Farmsoft guides employees through farm quality control tests. Enforce farm quality control using a smartphone or tablet – anywhere, anytime.
Farmsoft delivers extensive and flexible quality control checking systems that meet international farm quality control standards. Configure tests based on ISO, BRC, farmsoft, Cropsure, or create your own farm quality control tests.

Farmsoft’s extremely flexible farm quality control solution allows the configuration of virtually any farm quality control test, such as “spray checklist”, “employee performance checklists”, “safety equipment checklist”, “pre-harvest crew checklist” and more.

Integrate your farms quality management system (QMS) into farm quality control processes and record them from your phone, tablet, PC or Mac. You can even integrate your farm quality control with farmsoft’s fresh produce quality control for fruit processing and packing.
Adhere to international farm quality control standards such as BRC, HACCP, GlobalGAP, ISOx, and other standards
Perform farm quality control from smartphone or tablet (iPad, iPhone, Android).  Employees can capture photos and comments during the performance of a test.  
Farm Traceability can make or break a farm, it’s no longer an ‘optional’ regulatory requirement – implement the best farm management software now….

Farmsoft farm traceability features allow the easy capture of farm traceability records for any agriculture or horticulture based enterprise. Download sample farm traceability reports now! Farmsoft farm traceability features help to reduce risk exposure for your business by minimizing the potential size of fresh produce recalls, and enforcing best practices for farm traceability at all critical control points across the farming business. Download farmsoft specifications now.

Contemporary commercial fruit, vegetable, hop, flower, and grain farming has become increasingly regulated over the past decade. There are now thousands of farm traceability regulations that relate to the traceability and food safety in the production of fruit and vegetables for human consumption. Farmsoft farm traceability features provide an easy to use traceability solution by integrating the worlds most common food safety and traceability practices into the every day operations management of the farmsoft Farm Software.

Farmsoft Farm Software provides a strong platform for accurate recording of traceability information, via a variety of easy and logical methods. Risk exposure to the farm is greatly reduced by having highly granular traceability, which in turn reduces financial exposure to the farm should a recall become necessary. Accurate traceability reduces the quantity of fruit/vegetables in a recall, and therefore reduces the farms financial exposure. Best practice standards for farming such as BRC, Global GAP, ISO, Bio-Terrorism (and many more) are supported by the system, making audits less expensive, and compliance costs lower.
The traceability systems in farmsoft Farm Software constitutes thousands of processes that are integrated throughout the entire crop record keeping modules, forcing users to record correct traceability details at the correct time. Farmsoft Farm Management ERP minimizes the data capture and entry costs associated with traceability using various innovative techniques.
Vertical farming solutions for sustainable food production in an sustainable environmentally friendly manner.
By 2050, the world’s population is expected to grow by another 2 billion people, and feeding it will be a huge challenge. Due to industrial development and urbanization, we are losing arable lands every day. Scientists say that the Earth has lost a third of its arable lands over the last 40 years.

We don’t know how much more we are going to lose in the next 40 years. Increasing food demand due to a growing population along with ever decreasing arable lands poses one of the greatest challenges facing us. Many believe that vertical farming can be the answer to this challenge. Is vertical farming the future of agriculture? Let’s find out!

What Is Vertical Farming?
Vertical farming is the practice of producing food on vertically inclined surfaces. Instead of farming vegetables and other foods on a single level, such as in a field or a greenhouse, this method produces foods in vertically stacked layers commonly integrated into other structures like a skyscraper, shipping container or repurposed warehouse.
Using Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology, this modern idea uses indoor farming techniques. The artificial control of temperature, light, humidity, and gases makes producing foods and medicine indoor possible. In many ways, vertical farming is similar to greenhouses where metal reflectors and artificial lighting augment natural sunlight. The primary goal of vertical farming is maximizing crops output in a limited space.

How Vertical Farming Works
There are four critical areas in understanding how vertical farming works:

1. Physical layout,

2. Lighting,

3. Growing medium,

4. Sustainability features.

Firstly, the primary goal of vertical farming is producing more foods per square meter. To accomplish this goal, crops are cultivated in stacked layers in a tower life structure. Secondly, a perfect combination of natural and artificial lights is used to maintain the perfect light level in the room. Technologies such as rotating beds are used to improve lighting efficiency.

Thirdly, instead of soil, aeroponic, aquaponic or hydroponic growing mediums are used. Peat moss or coconut husks and similar non-soil mediums are very common in vertical farming. Finally, the vertical farming method uses various sustainability features to offset the energy cost of farming. In fact, vertical farming uses 95 percent less water.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vertical Farming
Vertical farming has a lot of promise and sounds like the farm of the future. However, there are a few stumbling blocks to consider before rushing full-speed ahead into vertical farming.

It offers a plan to handle future food demands
It allows crops to grow year-round
It uses significantly less water
Weather doesn't affect the crops
More organic crops can be grown
There is less exposure to chemicals and disease
It could be very costly to build and economic feasibility studies haven't yet been completed
Pollination would be very difficult and costly
It would involve higher labor costs
It relies too much on technology and one day of power loss would be devastating
Instant traceability recalls, with 100% accuracy. Trace fruit & vegetables back to a grower, area of land/field, crop batch/patch and all inputs and their related suppliers & batch/lot details. If you use farmsoft Post Harvest software for tobacco processing, you can even trace product all the way to customers and invoices.

Easy with auto creation of tasks to guide teams through the best farming processes. Plan the entire years tobacco crops with just a few clicks! Reduce administration and traceability costs costs by collecting data during farming, reducing the burden on the admin team, and delivering automatic reporting without needing to compile reports manually.

Farm tasks can be created automatically, you check their accuracy and adjust them if the weather or other conditions change. The farming team is guided through farm tasks ensuring work is done at the right time using correct materials, and compliance data is captured at every critical point.

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know the auditors are coming the next day? Forget about about it. Using farmsoft, you have the confidence that you can do instant recalls, and generate any traceability, farm summaries, and farm records in a matter of seconds.

View costs in real time, down to a specific patch/block, or by farm site, crop, and variety. Never have production cost shocks again. Budgets are automatically created by the best practice system and allow projections for any period of time into the future, down to the application of a specific spray chemical or fertilizer.

Optionally use farmsoft Post Harvest packing solutions that seamlessly integrate with the vertical farming software for a complete enterprise management solution. Learn more here.
Compliance with international GAP and food safety standards allows easy crop recalls, traceability, and pesticide and controlled substance monitoring and reporting.
Farming app to enhance profit, quality, and yield in the fresh produce farming industry. Only for professional farming organizations.
The farmsoft farming app is part of a comprehensive business management suite, in which you can optionally incorporate farmsoft Fruit Packing & distributions solutions as well. Much more than just a simple farming app to help you perform farm record keeping, the farmsoft suite can manage every part of the business from pre-planting planning and budgeting, through to processing, sales, and traceability management.

You can use the farmsoft farming app from virtually and device, and access your entire farm management system and reports remotely. This allows many offices to use the same system easily, and gives useful monitoring abilities to management that may be offsite or traveling.

Comprehensive farm management functionality allows management of all facets of fresh produce farming and cultivation.

Farmsoft farming apps are also multi-site and multi company enabled. You can define an unlimited number of ‘farms’ that will use the one farming solution, however, when each user access the system, they can only see information from their own farm/s. This also gives superior centralized management and monitoring for corporate farming, and sharing centralized agronomy resources.

Vertical farming app software for sustainable food production maximize profit, traceability, efficiency. Full farm inventory, site bay, row, column, rack, and shelf mapping with bar-code or RFID. Vertical farming cost reports, harvest management.

Farmsoft fresh produce farming app is for fruit & vegetable farming.  Full fresh produce farm task management, traceability, auditing, inventory control, and fresh produce business management app.

Quality inspection for fresh produce

Consistent and accurate quality control ensures higher customer satisfaction and adherence to industry, de-facto, and in-house quality control standards. Track supplier quality performance, customer feedback & complaints, create QC tests for any part of the fresh produce & food manufacturing process (incoming goods, raw materials, finished goods, expiry test, export/shipping tests), daily factory hygiene, machinery calibration, employee checklists... * 

Fresh produce logistics

Manage orders, pack to order, picking and auto picking, dispatch & shipping process. Generate invoices, bill of lading, pick slips, export documentation and other sales documents... Dispatch teams are guided through the dispatch process ensuring every order is filled perfectly, and on time. Paperwork such as BOL, freight documents, export documents are automatically generated based on the customer and destination to guarantee no rejected shipments or issues at borders. *

Fresh produce labels

Generate fresh produce SSCC pallet labels, GS1 case & PTI labels, bin labels, batch labels, traded unit labels, harvest labels and more. Use the built in industry standard labels for Walmart, Woolworths, Aldi, Tesco, Loblaws etc - or design your own with the built in label & report designer. Our team can design all of your fresh produce documents to ensure farmsoft matches your requirements perfectly. *

Fresh produce packing control

Sales, Quality, Profit, Dispatch, Pack, Farm...... Dashboards for sales teams provide instant impressions of customer orders and current inventory levels. The dispatch dashboard helps plan shipments, order of loading, and transport companies & drivers... The Profit analysis dashboard shows margins per unit and most profitable customers. Use our API to access your data however you like. * optoinal

Fresh produce batch packing

Project required raw materials needed to pack/manufacture orders, potential shortages, schedule multiple orders to be packed in batches on selected production lines with a few clicks, automatically send new job alerts to managers, schedule additional harvests, analyze outstanding orders. Manage entire packing and manufacturing process with ease. *

Fresh produce alerts monitoring

Automatic alerts for shipments can be sent to customers, transport providers, or even team members. Every time a batch is finished processing, receive an alert with the pack-out breakdown and percentages of grades & quality and waste. Alerts can include simple shipment notifications, or even invoices and original order details. Other alerts include order changes/modifications, yield reports, new order alerts, and low inventory alerts... *

Improve fresh produce production planning

Efficient management customer orders, and the ability to analyze orders gives you new production planning tolls in farmsoft. Ensure each order is filled to exact specifications, on time, every time. Increase customer satisfaction and retention, and reduce stress in the packhouse with confident production planning using work orders/batch orders, sales contracts, sales orders, and sales order items. Are you manufactruing or processing chili products? Try farmsoft for chili processing. 

Accurate fresh produce traceability

Quality officers are guided through the quality control process, presented with images and instructions for each test, ensuring they know what to look for at all times, corrective actions are presented if a quality issue is detected. This makes training new fresh produce quality control officers fast, and ensures consistency in the quality control management processes for incoming fresh produce, post pack/post processing, storage, and dispatch. 

Efficient use of fresh produce cold stores

Maximize your cold store use and rotation of stock using farmsoft's pallet maps, and precision traceability tracking with expiring inventory reminders.
Cold store management software for fruit importers, exporters, packers, cross docking, and short and long term fruit storage.

The farmsoft fresh produce packaging app is designed for capsicum packing, apple packing, onion packing, avocado packing, citrus packing & processing, mango, loose leaf packing, chilicarrot, lettuce packing & processing, seed processing, potato packing, broccoli, strawberrytomato and salad packing.  The farmsoft food safety and food traceability app manages the entire fresh produce business.    App for fresh produce post harvest packing, flower packing/processing, import/export wholesale fruit & vegetables, with traceability & recalls, RFID option, bar-code inventory, B2B Customer Portal, Shop front, FARM MANAGEMENT OPTION and more...Software app for Fresh produce Leafy greens packing: grading, sorting, and processing. Includes export, wholesale, and full packing management app. Built around traceability & recalls: bar-code inventory, B2B Customer Portal, Shop front, FARM MANAGEMENT OPTION and more... Farmsoft provides complete management for onion packing, broccoli packing, citrus packing, pepper packing, tomato packing, avocado packing, potato packing. Salad packing, Loose leaf lettuce and other fresh produce such as spinach, rucola, chicory, watercress. Cucumber packing. Citrus packing app for lemon, orange, mandarin, tangerine, clementine. Asparagus packing. Onion inventory & storage. Potato inventory storage app. Potato traceability app for better packing & logistics. Onion traceability management. Tomato traceability for food safety. Print fresh produce blockchain QR codes. Pepper & capsicum traceability app reduces pepper waste. Broccoli traceability app for easy recalls and audits. Carrot traceability app for better inventory and less waste. Manage salad traceability during the salad mixing and packing process. Leafy greens packing app full business management packing & processing of kale, microgreens, collard greens, spinach, cabbage, beet, watercress, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, arugula, rucola, endive, bok choy, turnip greens.  Integrate fresh produce packing solutions with XERO.

Vertical farming app software for sustainable food production maximize profit, traceability, efficiency. Full farm inventory, site bay, row, column, rack, and shelf mapping with bar-code or RFID. Vertical farming cost reports, harvest management.

Our ancestors first learned to farm nearly 12,000 years ago. By cultivating and domesticating seeds, these once hunter-gatherers broke away from their nomadic lifestyles, settled down to produce controlled and reliable food sources (weather permitting, of course) and, little did they know, change the course of the planet’s future.

Fast forward to the 20th century when a group of architects started planning to alter food production in their own way. They aimed to decreased dependency on traditional land-based farms and harness spatial efficiency in our dense built environment; think less wide-open spaces with tractors and more structures growing stacked layers of crops. This practice—widely referred to as “indoor” or “vertical farming” (taken from Gilbert Ellis Bailey’s 1915 book of the same name)—is alive and booming today, and especially in the New York metro area.

Columbia University professor emeritus and ecologist Dickson Despommier helped to envision the modern vertical farm and indoor agriculture while teaching a graduate-level course in 1999. His students realized that simply using rooftop gardens would been grossly insufficient to feeding the population of Manhattan so in line with urban agriculture predecessors, he began researching different techniques and structures. Despommier is among several academics and vertical farming thought leaders who see vertical farming today as part of the answer to a range of global problems (many partly caused by agriculture) including climate change and water scarcity.

There are a lot of ways to farm indoors and below are three different soilless processes recommended by Despommier. Done properly at various scales, they’re as effective as at growing crops in skyscrapers as they are in 500 square foot studio apartments:

One of the oldest and most common methods of vertical farming, hydroponics includes growing plants without soil and in a water solvent containing mineral nutrients. The simplest hydroponic method (called the floating raft system) suspends the plants in soilless raft like a polystyrene sheet and lets the roots hang to absorb the oxygen-aerated solution. Another common method is the nutrient film technique, which is popular for growing lettuce. Here, a stream of the nutrient-dissolved solution is pumped into an angled channel, typically a plastic pipe, containing the plants. This runs past the plants’ root mat and can then be recirculated for continuous use. New York’s Gotham Greens and Square Roots use hydroponics.

It’s no surprise that NASA has been backing research on aeroponic growth for the past two decades as it’s free-floating-roots aesthetic is typically used in futuristic sci-fi movies. With aeroponics, the dangling roots absorb a fine mist comprised of an atomized version of the nutrient solution sprayed directly onto the roots by a pump. Although aeroponics enables plants to grow much more quickly than hydroponics, it requires more solution and therefore is more costly. Newark’s Aerofarms uses aeroponics.

Like hydroponic systems, an aquaponic system contains a soil-free plant bed suspended over a body of water containing nutrients necessary for plant growth. But within the body of water is a population of fish (typically herbivores) that produce waste that function as fertilizer for the plants. In turn, the plants help purify the water to make the water suitable for the fish.

Given that a balance must be achieved to ensure the system of both life forms, aquaponics requires greater attention than hydroponics or aeroponics although filtration and aeration systems can help manage these complications. Furthermore, the types of plants one can grow are much more limited as the necessary plant nutrients must be compatible with those necessary for the fish. 

Vertical farming app software for sustainable food production maximize profit, traceability, efficiency. Full farm inventory, site bay, row, column, rack, and shelf mapping with bar-code or RFID. Vertical farming cost reports, harvest management.

Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers.[1] It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which aims to optimize plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.] Some common choices of structures to house vertical farming systems include buildings, shipping containers, tunnels, and abandoned mine shafts. As of 2020, there is the equivalent of about 30 ha (74 acres) of operational vertical farmland in the world.]

The modern concept of vertical farming was proposed in 1999 by Dickson Despommier, professor of Public and Environmental Health at Columbia University. Despommier and his students came up with a design of a skyscraper farm that could feed 50,000 people. Although the design has not yet been built, it successfully popularized the idea of vertical farming.[4] Current applications of vertical farmings coupled with other state-of-the-art technologies, such as specialized LED lights, have resulted in over 10 times the crop yield than would receive through traditional farming methods.

The main advantage of utilizing vertical farming technologies is the increased crop yield that comes with a smaller unit area of land requirement.[6] The increased ability to cultivate a larger variety of crops at once because crops do not share the same plots of land while growing is another sought-after advantage. Additionally, crops are resistant to weather disruptions because of their placement indoors, meaning fewer crops are lost to extreme or unexpected weather occurrences. Because of its limited land usage, vertical farming is less disruptive to the native plants and animals, leading to further conservation of the local flora and fauna.

Vertical farming technologies face economic challenges with large start-up costs compared to traditional farms. In Victoria, Australia, a "hypothetical 10 level vertical farm" would cost over 850 times more per square meter of arable land than a traditional farm in rural Victoria. Vertical farms also face large energy demands due to the use of supplementary light like LEDs. Moreover, if non-renewable energy is used to meet these energy demands, vertical farms could produce more pollution than traditional farms or greenhouses.

What You Should Know About Vertical Farming Production
Vertical farm

Currently, the global human population exceeds more than 7.85 billion, but this number is expected to increase to 9.8 billion by 2050— with more than 75% of people expected to be living in urban areas. Accompanied with this population growth will also be an increase in demand on already stressed food, water, and energy resources needed to sustain this growth. Thus, new agricultural systems that offer sustainable food production will be essential to meet these demands.

One such system, many believe can meet these demands, is vertical farming. But, what exactly is vertical farming and why do many people believe that? Let’s find out!

What is Vertical Farming?
Simply put, vertical farming is the practice of growing plants in vertically stacked layers. This method of horticulture seeks to maximize plant space utilization and production by scaling up off the ground, allowing more plants to be grown in the same area. Additionally, it can be applied to current horticultural practices, ranging from small-scale hydroponics to large-scale controlled environmental agriculture operations, and has the potential to produce year-round production at practically any location if coupled with the right techniques!

So, how does it work, what plants are grown, and more importantly, is it sustainable?

Basic Components of a Vertical Farm
Vertical farm types can be broken down into three main components: the (1) system structure, (2) electrical structure, and (3) plumbing structure (see figure below). These three aspects are vital to consider as they will dictate where a system can be located, what crops can be grown in them, and the resources that will be required to build one. They should be considered before starting a vertical farming operation.

Types of Vertical Farms
Vertical farming utilizing hydroponic A-Frames

Figure 1: Vertical farming operation utilizing hydroponic A-Frames

When it comes to vertical farming, there are three main system types: (1) hydroponic, (2) aquaponic, and (3) growing-media based systems.

Hydroponic Vertical Farming
In hydroponic vertical farming, an aqueous solution comprised of all essential nutrients needed for optimal plant growth is supplied to plants. Examples of this type of vertical farming includes modified hydroponics systems, such as nutrient film technique (Ex. A-Frame and vertical grow towers), deep water culture (DWC), and aeroponics.

Aquaponic Vertical Farming
Conversely, in aquaponic vertical farming, fish production is integrated with plant production utilizing hydroponic system designs. However, instead of fertilizing plants with an aqueous solution comprised of all essential nutrients, plants are alternatively fertilized with nutrient-rich fish water that has been filtered, converted to nitrates, and supplemented for limiting nutrients deficient in aquaponic systems.

Growing Media Vertical Farms
Lastly, in growing-media vertical farms, plants are cultivated in a soilless media (Ex. rockwool, coir, perlite, etc.) and then supplied with a water-nutrient solution. Examples of this system type include modified ebb and flow, wick, and raised bed systems that have been stacked on top of one another or moved into vertically designed structures.

Plant Requirements
In addition to vertical farming components and system types, it is also important to take into consideration how the plants will be grown and their individual requirements! For example, will they be grown outside or indoors? If they are to be grown indoors, are the proper systems in place? Is air circulation required? How does shading affect the crop quality?

In general, plants have four basic requirements to grow properly: nutrients, carbon dioxide, water, and light. Each of these factors should be addressed before upgrading a facility or opening a vertical farm.

Plant Selection
Vertical farming systems can be used to grow a wide array of plants, such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, and even flowering plants. However, before plant selection takes place, it is important to first consider the above aforementioned factors to determine if it will be economically viable!

Currently, the most commonly grown commercial vertical farming crops include lettuce, microgreens, kale, basil, chives, mint, and strawberries.

hydroponic vertical grower towers and large indoor vertical farming operation

Growing Media Selection for Vertical Farming
The best media to select for a vertical farming system is one that promotes good air porosity, drainage, and nutrient retention. This is necessary to assure that plants do not stay drenched for prolonged periods of time, while also providing a good structure for newly developing root systems to grow in.

PRO-MIX offers several exceptional growing media products designed to establish the proper foundation essential for vertical growing. These products include PRO-MIX BX, and PRO-MIX MP ORGANIK. PRO-MIX BX is a well-balanced, general purpose growing medium that has a blend of medium textured Sphagnum peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and a starter nutrient charge suited for large cell cultivation.

For organic growers, PRO-MIX MP ORGANIK is a medium textured growing medium that is OMRI listed. Furthermore, each of these products are available with active ingredients, including BIOFUNGICIDE + MYCORRHIZAE, that help to protect roots systems from certain root diseases and improve nutrient uptake for enhanced plant growth.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Vertical Farming?
Finally, when it comes to growing vertical farming, this method offers a variety of benefits over other plant production practices. Such benefits associated with vertical farming include higher rates of production, improved crop quality, lower water usage, reduced fertilizer usage, reduced area required for production, and the potential for year-round production at just about any location. These systems can be quite profitable and have the potential to be part of environmental solutions if properly designed and managed.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that there are drawbacks associated with vertical farming. First, these systems can be seen as “high risk”. For example, they are very energy intensive and require that backup systems be in place in case of power outages. Second, they require a high level of technical “know how” to operate and can be costly to set up, monitor, and maintain. Lastly, these systems can be more susceptible to water-borne diseases or pests, which once in the system, can quickly spread from plant to plant due to the interconnectedness of these systems.

For these reasons caution and planning is advised. In cases where growing media is used, the addition of biological additive ingredients can be beneficial to reduce the onset of plant root diseases and reduce plant loss.

Vertical farming app software for sustainable food production maximize profit, traceability, efficiency. Full farm inventory, site bay, row, column, rack, and shelf mapping with bar-code or RFID. Vertical farming cost reports, harvest management.

Vertical Farming: Concept, Techniques & Advantages
team prakati September 4, 2020
Vertical Farming: Concept, Techniques & Advantages
As urban populations continue to rise, innovators are looking beyond traditional farming as a way to feed everyone while having less impact on our land and water resources. Vertical farming is one such solution that’s been implemented around the world.

By Vertical Farming, food crops can be cultivated easily in urban areas by planting in vertically stacked layers in order to save space and use minimal energy and water for irrigation.

In India, Vertical Farming is at nascent stages, however, there are few startups & agri-tech companies working to revolutionise the field.

Background & Concept of Vertical Farming
In 1915, Gilbert Ellis Bailey coined the term “vertical farming” and wrote a book titled “Vertical Farming”. In the early 1930s, William Frederick Gerick pioneered hydroponics at the University of California at Berkley.

In the 1980s, Åke Olsson, a Swedish ecological farmer, invented a spiral-shaped rail system for growing plants and suggested vertical farming as a means for producing vegetables in cities.

The modern concept of vertical farming was proposed in 1999 by Professor Dickson Despommier. His concept was to grow the food in urban areas itself utilizing less distance and saving the time inbringing the food produced in rural areas to the cities.

He intended in growing food within urban environments and thus have fresher foods available faster and at lower costs. Consequently, Vertical farming is conceptualised as cultivating and producing crops/ plants in vertically stacked layers and vertically inclined surfaces.

In the physical layout, the plants are vertically stacked in a tower-like structure. This way, the area required to grow plants in minimised. Next, a combination of natural lights and artificial lights is used to maintain a perfect environment for an efficient growth of the plants. The third parameter is the growing medium for the plants. Instead of soil, aeroponic, hydroponic or aquaponic growing mediums are used as the growing medium.

As the technique becomes scientific, efficiency of the process increases and as a result, vertical farming becomes sustainable requiring 95% less water as compared to other farming methods.

Techniques of Vertical Farming
1. Hydroponics
It is a method of growing food in water using mineral nutrient solutions without soil.The basic advantages of this method is that it reduces soil-related cultivation problems like soil borne insects, pest and diseases.

Hydroponics farm
Image Source: Wikipedia

2. Aeroponics
The invention of aeroponics was motivated by the initiative of NASA (the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, USA) to find an efficient way to grow plants in space in the 1990s.

In aeroponics, there is no growing medium and hence, no containers for growing crops. In aeroponics, mist or nutrient solutions are used instead of water. As the plants are tied to a support and roots are sprayed with nutrient solution, it requires very less space, very less water and no soil.

Image Source: NASA

3. Aquaponics
The term aquaponics is coined by combining two words: aquaculture, which refers to fish farming, and hydroponics—the technique of growing plants without soil, to create symbiotic relationships between the plants and the fish.

The symbiosis is achieved as nutrient-rich waste from fish tanks serves as “fertigate” to hydroponic production beds. In turn, the hydroponic beds also function as bio-filters that remove gases, acids, and chemicals, such as ammonia, nitrates, and phosphates, from the water.

Additionally, the gravel beds provide habitats for nitrifying bacteria, which augment the nutrient cycling and filter water. Consequently, the freshly cleansed water can be recirculated into the fish tanks.

Aquaponics with Catfish
Image Source: Wikipedia
Advantages of Vertical Farming
Vertical Farming has several advantages, which makes it promising for the future of agriculture. The land requirement is quite low, water consumption is 80 percent less, the water is recycled and saved, it is pesticide-free and in cases of high-tech farms there is no real dependency on the weather.

A vertical farm makes farming within the confines of a city, a reality. And when the farms are nearby, the produce is quickly delivered and always fresh; when compared to the refrigerated produce usually available at supermarkets. Reduction in transportation reduces the fossil fuel cost & resulting emissions and thus also reduce the spoilage in transportation.

However, like everything else vertical farming has its own drawbacks. Initial capital costs for establishing the vertical farming system is the major problem. In addition there are costs of erecting the structures along with its automation like computerized and monitoring systems, remote control systems and software’s, automated racking and stacking systems, programmable LED lighting systems, climate control system.

What are the different types of vertical farming systems?
Answer: Vertical farms come in different shapes and sizes, from simple two-level or wall-mounted systems to large warehouses several stories tall. But all vertical farms use one of three soil-free systems for providing nutrients to plants?hydroponic, aeroponic, or aquaponic. The following information describes these three growing systems:1. Hydroponics. The predominant growing system used in vertical farms, hydroponics involves growing plants in nutrient solutions that are free of soil. The plant roots are submerged in the nutrient solution, which is frequently monitored and circulated to ensure that the correct chemical composition is maintained.2. Aeroponics. The National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for developing this innovative indoor growing technique. In the 1990s, NASA was interested in finding efficient ways to grow plants in space and coined the term aeroponics, defined as “growing plants in an air/mist environment with no soil and very little water.”Aeroponics systems are still an anomaly in the vertical farming world, but they are attracting significant interest. An aeroponic system is by far the most efficient plant-growing system for vertical farms, using up to 90% less water than even the most efficient hydroponic systems. Plants grown in these aeroponic systems have also been shown to uptake more minerals and vitamins, making the plants healthier and potentially more nutritious. 3. Aquaponics. An aquaponic system takes the hydroponic system one step further, combining plants and fish in the same ecosystem. Fish are grown in indoor ponds, producing nutrient-rich waste that is used as a feed source for the plants in the vertical farm. The plants, in turn, filter and purify the wastewater, which is recycled to the fish ponds.Although aquaponics is used in smaller-scale vertical farming systems, most commercial vertical farm systems focus on producing only a few fast-growing vegetable crops and don’t include an aquaponics component. This simplifies the economics and production issues and maximizes efficiency. However, new standardized aquaponic systems may help make this closed-cycle system more popular.Vertical farming systems can be further classified by the type of structure that houses the system.Building-based vertical farms are often housed in abandoned buildings in cities, such as Chicago’s “The Plant” vertical farm that was constructed in an old pork-packing plant. Shipping-container vertical farms are an increasingly popular option. These vertical farms use 40-foot shipping containers, normally in service carrying goods around the world. Shipping containers are being refurbished by several companies into self-contained vertical farms, complete with LED lights, drip-irrigation systems, and vertically stacked shelves for starting and growing a variety of plants. These self-contained units have computer controlled growth management systems that allow users to monitor all systems remotely from a smart phone or computer. To learn more, consult the ATTRA publication Vertical Farming. This publication introduces commercial-scale vertical farming and discusses the recent growth of vertical farms in urban areas. It describes the major types of vertical farms and discusses environmental issues with vertical farms. The publication includes a list of the major vertical farms in the United States and lists further resources.