New agricultural technologies guaranty rich harvest in Arctic

New agricultural technologies guaranty rich harvest in Arctic

August 17, 2023

Residents of the Arctic can be provided with fresh berries, vegetables and herbs.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The Russian State Agrarian University – Timiryazev Moscow Agricultural Academy’s Agrotechnologies of the Future scientific center’s artificial climate laboratory is implementing the flagship project – New Agrotechnologies for the Arctic Zone.

Smart city farms – vertical greenhouses with light, temperature and humidity sensors – have been created there to grow vegetables and herbs in difficult climatic conditions. Mobile modular systems of a closed cycle in the form of containers can be delivered by sea to the Arctic ports, RIA Novosti reports.

City farms installed near settlements are able to provide local residents with fresh vegetables, berries, and herbs all year round. It will turn out much cheaper than now, when all this is brought by plane.

Previously, greenhouses used mainly high-pressure sodium lamps. Now they use LEDs, thanks to which you can change the spectrum of light and thus speed up or slow down photosynthesis, control the rate of fruit ripening. As a result, ultra-early tomatoes were created in the laboratory. Without any chemicals.

As scientists explain, city farms are equipped with digital cameras, as well as thermal imagers. The ‘change of day and night’ there does not take place by the clock, but in the way that is best for plants. The same goes for fertilizing and watering.

Everything is controlled by a Russian-made robotic system: it monitors the main physiological characteristics of plants, makes adjustments to the greenhouse microclimate. There are no analogues to this software. All sensor data is fed into a computer, encoded and then used for machine learning. The ultimate goal is a digital city farm controlled by artificial intelligence.

In addition, the laboratory is implementing a project to obtain mini-tubers of seed potatoes using the aeroponics method. For maximum productivity, this crop needs relatively low temperatures and plenty of light.

“It is necessary to constantly cool the room and maintain lighting, and this is a huge energy cost. Therefore, the seed tuber is very expensive. We made some calculations, and it turned out that in the Arctic, where there is free cold and a lot of energy suppliers, it will be cheaper. The yield according to our technology reaches one hundred and more tubers from one plant. We just have to build smart farms near the ports of the Northern Sea Route and deliver seed potatoes around the world”, said Ivan Chuksin, research engineer at the artificial climate laboratory.

Earlier, scientists from the Siberian Federal University proposed using multi-level greenhouses to grow vegetables in the Arctic. Russian scientists have also figured out how to grow crops in the Arctic without soil.

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Text: Elena Popova, Photo: Olga Polyanskaya

August 17, 2023

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