The hydroponics vs traditional farming debate has been an ongoing discussion for decades in the agriculture industry. Is hydroponic farming better than traditional farming?
For many, the answer is yes. Hydroponics cost less and also produce more yield in comparison to traditional methods of farming.
The main downside that hydroponics have is that they require a lot of energy to run well, but it pays off in the long-run as hydroponic farms are usually able to produce 10 times as much as a traditional farm would!
But let's a take a more-depth look hydroponic farm system costs and other factors that will help you make a better decision.
Is hydroponics cheaper than traditional farming?
The answer really depends on a number of factors. If you are looking at the price per square foot, then hydroponics is usually cheaper than traditional farming because it requires less space for production.
The soil in which plants grow also costs money and can be avoided with hydroponics where water takes its place.
However, if we look at the price per pound of production, traditional farming is often a better option. This happens because yields can be greater with conventional methods and there are no added costs for labor or equipment to maintain your hydroponic garden.
But don’t rule out hydroponics just yet! If you plan on producing only one item in certain quantities, then hydroponics may be cheaper. For example, if you want to produce a large quantity of tomatoes or peppers for canning purposes, traditional farming will cost more.
Why is hydroponics better than traditional farming?
Many people think hydroponics is better than traditional farming because it uses less water and it is easier to manage. However, you can grow much more food in traditional farming than hydroponics.
Many people believe that the nutrients used for growing plants are not healthy or safe either because they use too much chemicals like pesticides or because of how they're processed. It's true that some fertilizers contain harmful compounds, but they're not necessary to grow crops.
It is true that growing vegetables with hydroponics takes more time than traditional farming because you have to provide the nutrients yourself and monitor the system every day if it's automated, but many people think this extra effort makes your food healthier and safer for consumption.
How much does a hydroponic farm cost?
On average, setting up and running a hydroponic farm will cost you about $3,000. However, this figure can vary depending on the size of your hydroponic farm and the setup that you prefer. For example, you can purchase pre-made hydroponic systems or build your own.
If you are knowledgeable about gardening and want to create a small farm on the cheap, building an easy DIY hydroponic system is probably for you. You'll need some basic materials like PVC piping, tubing, nutrients, trays, net pots grow lights plus enough seeds to get started.
Is there money in hydroponic farming?
Yes, there is. However, this does not mean that everyone should go out and start their own hydroponic farm right now.
It’s important to look at the pros and cons of both methods before making a decision on how you want your business to run or what type of farming method you plan on using in order for it to be successful.
When it comes to hydroponic farming, the main concern is that you will need a lot of money up front in order for your business to be successful. This means buying all of your equipment and building materials as well as paying initial costs such as insurance and maintenance fees.
Quick Note: Although this method does save on land usage because you do not need to use soil, you will need a larger space in order for your plants to grow because hydroponics requires more growing room.
In traditional farming methods, there is no initial investment needed up front and on top of that it does not require any additional costs such as maintenance or insurance after the farm has been set-up.
Is hydroponically grown food healthier for you?
The short answer is that hydroponically grown food could potentially be healthier for you than traditionally farmed crops.
This is because there are less pests and diseases when growing indoors in a controlled environment which means pesticides aren’t needed to protect the plants from insects or pathogens.
The other added benefit of indoor farming is increased control over water and nutrient levels. When this is done properly it can also ensure a higher quality crop than what you would get from traditional farming practices.
All that being said, the hydroponic equipment to do these things costs money and runs on electricity so your initial investment will be much more expensive compared to buying produce at the grocery store or farmers market.
The Final Verdict on Hydroponics vs Traditional Farming
If you're a professional farmer or even a hobby farmer that wants to explore your options of hydroponics and the modern gardening techniques a lot of people are using these days, then it really comes down to a handful of things to consider:
- Space: Do you have enough space/land to grow your plants. Both require a lot of space if you're expecting to yield enough plants to sell. Indoor vertical farms are also becoming more popular now.
- Cost: Large hydroponic farms are a big upfront cost and traditional farming is consistent cost. But they both need a lot of investment. So you'll need to be cashflow positive at all times.
- Time: Hydroponics can grow plants faster, which is a big factor. But they do require more attention to detail with nutrient solution monitoring.
- Location: Depending on where you're living, seasons and weather can have a huge impact on your farming. With hydroponics, you can take that inside as well as outside.