Polyhouse farming is gradually building popularity in developing countries. The farmers can be greatly benefited from polyhouse agriculture. However, farmers have very little knowledge about it and its benefits.
What is a Polyhouse?
A building or structure made from a transparent material, polyethylene, in which plants can be grown under a controlled climate. The structure size can vary from small to large depending on needs. First of all, a polyhouse is a polyethylene house, the interior of which becomes warm on sunlight exposure, and inhibits the green-house gases to escapes out. In cold weather, the inside temperature is maintained manually for the plants.
What is Polyhouse Farming?
Polyhouse farming is a farming method in which plants are grown in controlled conditions. In this, the farmers can control temperature and humidity levels according to the plant needs and external climatic conditions. Polyhouses play a significant role in protecting plants from continuously changing weather and climatic conditions like heat, sun-light, and wind. This will help the plants grow at any time of the year. Every factor affecting the yield can be controlled in polyhouse farming.
Polyhouses – are also known as polytunnels, tire green-houses, or over-head tunnels. It is generally a poly-ethylene tunnel, typically square, semi-circular, or lengthened.
The internal environment heats-up quickly because solar radiations heat the soil, plants, and other objects present in the polyhouse. The roof and walls of polyhouse keep the internal heat trapped. Because of which the process of heat escape from the polyhouse is very slow which keeps heating the plants and soil. There are several automated devices that are being used to control internal humidity, temperature, and ventilation.
Difference between Greenhouse and Polyhouse
Polyhouse is a scaled-down version of a green-house that uses polyethylene as a cover, whereas in greenhouses a big building covered with glass or a green cloth is constructed. Polyhouse farming is much popular in developing countries due to its low installation and maintenance costs.
Another small-scale type of greenhouse, the Lath house uses wood as a covering.
Is Polyhouse Farming Profitable?
Polyhouse farming shows highly significant yield outcomes and is 100% profitable. It improves the yield up to 10 times. But it is very necessary to get high outputs, it should be done the actual way. Polyhouse agriculture reduces the cropping cost but the first-time installation of this system is a bit expensive, not every farmer can afford it.
Types of Polyhouse
There are two types of polyhouse based on environmental controlling systems:
- Naturally Ventilated Polyhouse
These polyhouses do not contain any environment controlling systems. To save plants from bad climate the only available option is to maintain adequate ventilation. This process can save plants from insect pests and pathogens.
- Manually Controlled Polyhouse
They are primarily designed to extend the growth phase of crops or increase off-season yields by adjusting lighting, temperature, humidity, etc. In this type of polyhouse agriculture, several controlling systems are being installed to improve productivity.
Categories of Polyhouse
In addition, these polyhouse farming systems are further divided into 3 categories.
- Low-tech polyhouses
- Medium-tech polyhouses
- Hi-tech polyhouses
- Low-tech Polyhouses
These types of polyhouse have low installation costs and very easy to maintain. Typically, local constructing materials such as bamboo and wood are used to build these systems.
Typically, an ultraviolet (UV) film is used as the coating material which acts very effective for cold climates. These materials help the farmers controlling temperature and humidity. And no automated devices are used in these systems.
- Medium-tech Polyhouses
To construct these polyhouses iron pipes are used to strengthen its layout to avoid harm from wind. The complete structure is grounded and screwed in the soil to structure the canopy. Cooling pads are used to maintain the inside humidity level and temperature. During hot climates, thermostat and exhaust-fans can be used to control internal conditions of a polyhouse agriculture.
- Hi-tech Polyhouses
This system includes automatic controls to maintain internal climatic and crop conditions maintaining appropriate temperature, humidity, and other parameters. This system is very helpful for growing crops in the off-seasons.
There are several types of vegetable and fruit crops and ornamental plants which can be grown in polyhouse. A list of polyhouse agriculture crops is given below:
4. Eggplants (Brinjal)
5. Green beans
8. Okra (Lady Finger)
9. Bell Peppers (Capsicum)
13. Summer Squash
15. Leafy vegetables
19. Bitter Gourd
Fruit Crops and Ornamental Plants
|5. Citrus fruits
Additional Uses of Polyhouse Agriculture
- Nursery development – to grow plant seedlings
- Cultivation of ornamental plants
- To develop hybrid seeds.
Benefits and Advantages of Polyhouse Farming
Polyhouse is very desirable for organic farming because of its several food and environmental benefits. Some of the important benefits of polyhouse agriculture are listed below:
- Controlled plant growing temperature.
- Crops can be grown throughout the year.
- Requires minimal tillage consider the principles of regenerative agriculture
- Less pest and insect attack.
- Easy weed management.
- Reduce the impact of the external climate.
- High quality produce.
- Efficient aeration and drainage.
- Ornamental crops can also be grown.
- Increases yield 8 – 10 times.
- Short crop harvesting period.
- Easy fertilizer application.
- Suitable for small farmers
- Required less labor
- Reduce human activities
- Promote organic farming
- Export quality produce
Disadvantages of Polyhouse Farming
- Efficient management of polyhouse during off-season.
- Quick rise in temperature in Polyhouses due to confined space.
- Expensive setup cost.
- Long term continuous maintenance cost.
- Fewer chances of disease incidence from the outside, but within born pathogen can affect crop severally.
Polyhouse farming is an economical system to improve crop yield and improve the efficiency of traditional agricultural practices. As we know that outdoor crops are more vulnerable to rapid climate change, pathogens, and insect pests. By polyhouse agriculture, we can control the influence of the changing environment and increasing diseases.