Beyond the traditional leafy greens, berries, or, aromatics that are often harvested in indoor farming facilities, an increasing number of “new” crops are emerging as viable segments the industry could focus on. Now, one company demonstrates the viability of indoor-grown wheat.
Indeed, during the Food Systems Pavillion at COP 27 which it co-hosts, Infarm announced that it successfully produced wheat on an indoor farm becoming the first vertical farming company to tackle staple crop production in a controlled environment. The first trials demonstrated exceptional results, allowing a projection of 11.7 Kg per m2 yield per year. Further projected at scale, this is the equivalent of 117 tonnes per hectare per year – 26 times that of open-field farming yields. This production is independent of external climatic conditions and is thus genuinely climate resilient which is prevalent in a time when there is a wheat crisis due to the ongoing Russian – Ukrainian war and climate conditions worsen the overall output of wheat farms.
Guy Galonska, CTO and co-founder of Infarm: ”To continue to feed the world’s growing population, we need to achieve higher crop yields which we have now proven to be possible for wheat through indoor, controlled environment agriculture. Our results are significant when compared to the average yield of outdoor wheat production, which is about 4.5 tonnes per hectare per year and heavily dependent on weather and seasons. We are confident that wheat can be grown successfully at scale indoors as a climate-resilient alternative. Our record yield could potentially be increased by a further 50% in the coming years using a combination of improved genetics, hardware, and optimized growth environments.”
Erez Galonska, CEO and co-founder of Infarm: “Being able to grow wheat indoors is a milestone for Infarm and of significant importance for global food security, as wheat is a calorie-dense but resource-intense crop that is a core component of diets worldwide. We started Infarm to find new ways of producing food to feed the world’s growing population and the results show that we are a big step closer to achieving this goal.”
Wheat provides much of the global population with its daily energy requirements and is a significant source of protein, accounting for almost 40% of daily protein intake in some regions. Wheat is grown over a larger area than any other crop and due to a destabilized environment, the yield per hectare is expected to decline. To continue to feed the world’s growing population it is necessary that we will need to increase wheat yields which are now possible through indoor, controlled environment agriculture.
Image provided by Infarm