Hydroponic Farming Essay

910 Words4 Pages
Conventional agriculture involves the use of large portions of land and excess amounts water to grow crops. The improper use of soil and water resources for agricultural purposes leads to environmental degradation on many levels . Soil erosion and nutrient depletion have become a widespread result of improper soil care and inefficient irrigation techniques. Hydroponic farming serves as an alternative to conventional agriculture and is a resource efficient and environmentally friendly way to produce crops, in terms of both land and water conservation. This alternative farming practice has great potential to lessen the environmental impacts caused by water and soil misusage in conventional farming.
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Hydroponic plants do not interact with soil and therefore do not negatively affect existing soil properties. Soil erosion due to irrigation and nutrient pollution are avoided altogether. The plant’s roots are submerged in an aerated nutrient solution instead, which allows for more efficient oxygen absorption within the root zone. This increases plant metabolism and growth, allowing for more frequent harvests. The chemical composition of the nutrient solution can be directly controlled and measured, allowing for the efficient use of fertilizers based on plant specific needs. There is minimal runoff or nutrient pollution associated with hydroponic farming systems, because the nutrient solution is constantly recirculated. Soil pests are avoided altogether, which minimizes the need for large amounts of herbicides and insecticides sprayed onto crops. Hydroponic systems also provide a greater yield in a smaller area. A case study was done in Arizona, which compared the growth and resource use of hydroponically grown lettuce versus conventionally grown lettuce. Hydroponic lettuce yields per area were found to be around eleven times greater than conventionally grown lettuce (Barbosa, et al.). As for water consumption, hydroponically grown lettuce used water more efficiently with approximately thirteen times less water demand than conventional (Barbosa, et al.).

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