Problems With Commercial Hydroponics

Written by elaine pratt
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Problems With Commercial Hydroponics
Effective strategic planning is necessary to overcome commercial hydroponics challenges. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Commercial hydroponics is the mass growing of crops (for sale) without the use of soil. Instead, the crops are grown using a mixture of water and nutrients. Hydroponics also describes the development of growing plants in other materials, such as a soilless bark-based blend. It is very advantageous as there are no weeds, allowing the plant to be healthier as it grows. Despite this, commercial hydroponics has its challenges.

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Management

When growing hydroponics commercially, it's vital to take into account management abilities, including business skills and those related to crop growing. Possessing business management credentials is important because budgeting, account transactions and promotions are all a part of a successful commercial hydroponics operation. It's also important to have a broad knowledge base in the area of hydroponics. Many farmers lack business skills, and likewise many businesspeople lack hydroponic farming skills. Consequently, management can be a challenge in the commercial hydroponics industry.

Resources

In the event of lack in the area of business or hydroponics management skills, it's important to have resources to supplement knowledge. Consultants are a good place to find support. However, ensure that potential consultants have the right mix of skill sets to fully support the organisation. Also ensure that the consultant comes highly recommended by reliable references. Finding the right individual for the role can be a challenge due to the unique set of skills required.

Other resource challenges include the supplies for hydroponic growing. The commercial farmer needs to make appropriate adjustments in the business plan to accommodate the difference between growing traditional and hydroponic crops. This can be a challenge, because commercial hydroponics does not necessarily work well using the same business models as traditional farming. For instance, farmers don't get the same economies of scale (large volume discounts) with the purchase of hydroponics products as they can with traditional growing products. This can greatly affect the bottom line of the business.

Lifestyles

It's important to recognise that new commercial hydroponics growers often have a lot to learn when it comes to the difference between this new craft and simply growing in a small personal greenhouse. Growing using hydroponics entails almost relentless attention that begins early each morning. The time commitment can affect lifestyles and strain families. New growers need to realise that growing hydroponics involves an extreme workload and is often stressful.

Reasons for Failure

There are many aspects of growing hydroponics commercially that need to be considered, and as such there are a wide variety of common causes for failure when these items are overlooked. Some common causes for failure include lack of practical preparation, unrealistic expectations, failing to seek appropriate help, starting too big and following others without comprehension.

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