Greenhouse cultivators and indoor growers of all plant types can benefit from under-canopy airflow. The Dual Draft Integrated Airflow system delivers under-canopy, or under the plant, airflow directly from the fully draining plant tray. This system allows all controlled environment agriculture (CEA) operators to achieve improved yield, quality, consistency, and plant health from under-canopy airflow.
Plants that receive under-canopy airflow benefit in several ways, including:
- Improved air circulation: Under-canopy airflow helps distribute CO2, throughout the grow space, and directly to plant stomata, while eliminating microclimates.
- Reduced pest and disease pressure: Improved air circulation helps reduce humidity levels that rise during and after irrigation events, which can attract pests and diseases.
- Increased plant growth: Under-canopy airflow helps to open plant stomata improving the uptake of CO2, which converts to sugar in the plant. CO2 is a necessary building block for all plants.
- Improved plant quality: By maintaining an optimal growing environment, under-canopy airflow helps to produce plants with stronger stems, healthier foliage, larger flowers, and a more uniform appearance.
- Energy savings: By reducing microclimates and more evenly distributing the load on supplemental heating and cooling systems, under-canopy airflow can help save energy costs.
Under-canopy airflow can have a positive impact on the stomata of a plant. Stomata are tiny pores located on the leaves of a plant that are responsible for gas exchange, including the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) for photosynthesis and the release of oxygen and water vapor. Indoor farms and greenhouses, of all crop types, utilize supplemental carbon dioxide (CO2) created with CO2 burners or delivered from compressed gas tanks. CO2 is heavier than air and settles to the floor of the facility. Dual Draft moves the CO2 from the floor to the plant where it can be utilized.
Under-canopy airflow helps to regulate the humidity levels and vapor pressure deficit (VPD) around the stomata, improving the efficiency of gas transfer with the surrounding environment. When the stomata are functioning properly, they can more efficiently absorb CO2, leading to improved photosynthesis and increased plant growth. Improving the efficiency of the stomata is particularly advantageous in controlled environment agriculture where greenhouse and indoor farms utilize supplemental CO2 to improve plant growth.
Additionally, under-canopy airflow can help reduce the incidence of fungal infections, which can damage the stomata and impact their ability to function properly. By maintaining a healthy growing environment, under-canopy airflow can support the health and productivity of the plant’s stomata.
The technological advancements in CEA over the last 10 years have been staggering. Cultivators in greenhouse and warehouse grows are now able to optimize lighting with advanced LED solutions, nutrient delivery with automated dosing technology, and the environment with purpose built HVACD equipment. They should not allow the airflow in these highly controlled environments to be the weak link in the chain.