Soil-free methods for cultivating crops have been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to the potential benefits they can provide for farmers in certain areas, such as production capacity, quality and a tightened process control in determined environments. Hydroponics and aquaponics are two of the most widely used alternatives.
Hydroponics might be one of the most recognizable, and in some cases it’s not unusual to have it confused with aquaponics, but they have some major differences. The biggest difference between them is that aquaponics combines a hydroponic environment with aquaculture (the cultivation of aquatic animals) to create a balanced ecosystem that benefits both the crops and animals.
In case you’re torn between alternative agriculture methods you might find the following list of pros and cons useful to base your decision:
Hydroponics and Aquaponics: Pros and Cons
We have covered this topic at length in a previous blog post, so this time we’re only focusing in the pros and cons.
- High quality production
- Weeding and other soil preparations are reduced
- High yields on small areas
- More efficient water usage
- Might require more intensive management and labor
- Investment capital might be higher compared to soil production
- Specially formulated nutrients must always be used
- Finding a market can be difficult
Aquaponics “is an integrated system of hydroponics and aquaculture that makes plants and fish coexist in a natural ecosystem via a symbiotic relationship, in which the water that is used in aquaculture is given a new ideal use”. Here are the main cons and pros of this system.
- Minimal waste of water
- Minimal waste disposal thanks to recycling
- Disease causing organisms are avoided
- Plants and fish enjoy organic growth
- High setup costs
- Mechanical failures can lead to damages in the entire system
- It needs a constant energy supply
- The cycling process must be done before the system operates, as opposed to hydroponics
Aquaponics offer several advantages over independent hydroponics and aquaculture systems but it can be very costly and may not be the best option for bigger crop production operations, but nevertheless it’s a valid alternative worth exploring in certain circumstances.
At GR Trailers we have a wide range of farm and ranch equipment that will absolutely exceed your expectations. Check the catalog today or call us at 405-567-0567 for more info.