Japan: Planting and harvesting, without human assistance

Japanese company SPREAD Co. wants to create the first-ever farm that can plant a lettuce seedling and harvest it without any human assistance. The company, which already grows 7.7 million lettuce heads a year indoors, thinks these self-planting and harvesting farms are perfect for a resources-deprived future.

The new SPREAD Co. greenhouse, which will begin construction in spring next year, can cost up to JPY 2 billion or about $16.7 million including R&D plus testing. In the 4.8-hectare (1.2 acres) facility, the company estimates a daily harvest of 30,000 lettuce heads or about 10 million heads per year. From seedling transplant to harvest, everything is done by machine. The automation means 50 percent savings on labor costs.

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