What is Controlled Environment Agriculture?

Aug 19, 2022

Controlled Environment Agriculture

Controlled environment agriculture, often abbreviated as CEA, is a technology-based indoor farming and harvesting method. Implementing a CEA system into a commercial or industrial space allows growers to keep their crops healthy using a range of automated systems. Some types of controlled environment agriculture are greenhouses, grow rooms, and indoor farms, which can all be retrofitted with CEA systems.

If you’re interested in using reliable, cutting-edge equipment for your commercial or industrial growing space, MJM Install offers custom CEA system installation. Whether you’re interested in building a vertical farming system or need a new greenhouse design, the team at MJM is here to help. With nationwide build crews and more than ten years of industry experience, we’re ready to bring your company’s vision to life.

WHAT IS CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE?

Controlled environment agriculture is a modern approach to agriculture that makes it easy to keep your plants indoors in a fully regulated atmosphere. Temperature, humidity, lighting, and ventilation systems use automated technology to detect and maintain optimal conditions for your plants.

CEA systems and installations will continue to expand over the next decade as a means of sustainable and efficient food production. In addition to providing optimal growing conditions, this technology-based approach protects plants from pests and challenges resulting from weather changes. As a result, CEA systems make it possible to continue growing year-round, which can significantly increase profits.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE?

CEA systems come with a range of benefits that apply to all crop types and growers. Whether you’re growing food, pharmaceutical ingredients, or biofuel materials, a new CEA system can improve the efficiency of your operations. In the long run, these installations can also save your business money. Here are a few of the key reasons why an increasing number of growers are turning towards the technology-based growing solutions that controlled environment agriculture provides.

YEAR-ROUND GROWING

The fully isolated nature of the controlled environment ensures you never have to worry about the temperature and humidity changes that come with your local climate. As a result, growers can complete one or two extra growing cycles each year, which means more production and increasing profits.

AUTOMATION

With CEA, your indoor growing environment is easier to automate than ever before. Optimal temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and lighting are just the start of what CEA technology manages. CEA manages water quality, nutrient PH and acidity, crop density, ventilation, and pest controls in a single, unified system. You’ll never have to worry about the stability of your grow room automation system or your greenhouse’s ability to support your plants.

MAXIMIZING SQUARE FOOTAGE

Innovative planting and growing techniques such as vertical farming fit well within spaces that contain CEA technology, allowing commercial and industrial growers to make the most of the square footage they have on hand, especially in urban areas. Rolling benches, trestles, and multi-level grow tables allow you to add more plants than you can with a traditional arrangement. CEA systems make these additions possible because the regulatory technology can still deliver the necessary nutrients, water, and lighting to each plant individually.

UNMATCHED EFFICIENCY

CEA systems offer a level of water and energy efficiency that’s unmatched by all other growing arrangements. The dispersal of vital nutrients, water, and airflow can even result in lower costs for growers’ monthly electricity and water bills. This efficiency, paired with the ability to continue growing on a year-round basis, means a controlled environment agriculture system can save your business money.

NO LIMITS BASED ON LOCATION

Indoor growing environments fitted with new CEA technology can succeed just as easily in Maine as they can in California. You’ll never have to worry about the desert heat in states such as Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Alternatively, the challenges of the shorter growing seasons and colder weather in states like Alaska and Minnesota are avoided when you’re growing in a completely isolated indoor environment. The ability to build and maintain these growing spaces in any location also means it’s easier than ever to bring your crops to market.

However, while CEA can help with yield, another problem arises when you can’t get those crops to market in time. Our cold storage solutions can help with this, ensuring that what you grow stays fresh from the plot to the dinner table. Combining CEA with our cold storage solutions can help you increase your yields and maximize your profit.

INCREASED YIELDS

The technological advancements and automation of a new CEA system for your grow room and greenhouse are a guaranteed way to increase harvested yield over traditional farming. More consistent, reliable harvests mean more profits for your commercial and industrial growing operation, making it increasingly possible to scale your business upwards.

SPECIALIZED GROWING ENVIRONMENTS

Controlled environment agriculture supports a variety of indoor farming technologies and arrangements. Here are some of the best arrangements for commercial and industrial cultivation.

VERTICAL FARMING

Indoor vertical farming practices allow for nearly ten times more crop yields per square foot compared with traditional greenhouses. They are also an elegant solution for growing in an urban environment. Vertical farming systems are currently one of the higher-priced indoor growing solutions, but their value is unparalleled following installation.

HYDROPONICS AND AEROPONICS

Hydroponics and aeroponics are two popular methods of growing plants without soil. In a hydroponic arrangement, the plant roots are submerged in nutrient-rich water. Aeroponics, by contrast, has the plant’s roots hanging down in an open-air space that’s treated with nutrient-rich mist and fertilizers.

COMMERCIAL GROW ROOMS

Not all CEA systems are designed for greenhouse cultivation. Commercial grow rooms are popular for specialized crops, including those that require specialized HPS lighting and reliable blackout curtains. High-quality humidity and ventilation solutions are key to ensuring the space won’t build too much heat, while epoxy floors and insulated metal panels (IMPs) are essential for keeping the room clean.

CONCLUSION- WHAT IS CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE?

Controlled environment agriculture, or CEA, is an innovative and efficient way to grow indoors. Coupled with emerging technologies such as advancements in cold storage and temperature controls, CEA has been shown to revolutionize how growers create and transport their products to an ever-widening market.

If your business is looking for a reliable, technology-based approach to increasing crop yields and profits, our professional designers and build crews are ready to help you succeed. With detail-oriented project management, transparent budgeting and documentation, and full-service building methods, your new space can support your business for years to come. Contact MJM Install today to start your journey toward a new indoor growing environment.

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