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Unmanned vertical farm in China: is this what the future looks like?

As the world’s horticultural population becomes older and more young people choose to live in cities, the number of farmers around the world is gradually decreasing, raising the question: who will grow our food?

'Unmanned horticulture' with intelligent machines growing the crops may become the main solution to the lack of horticultural laborers. 

On September 3, 2021, in the plant factory of the Smart Agriculture Demonstration Garden in Yangling Agricultural High-tech Zone in Shaanxi, San’an Bio’s unmanned vertical agricultural production system called Uplift was officially put into use after just 45 days of building. This factory covers an area of ​​2,400 m2, and the planting racks have up to 10 layers each.

In the factory, leafy vegetables grow under the illumination of LEDs. In a clean working area, through control of factors such as light, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and nutrient solution, safe vegetable production with high yield can be carried out throughout the year. Uplift also uses new water-saving technology, so that 60% of the water can be used for growing vegetables, and the remaining 40% can be recycled, making the farm use much less water than traditional methods of growing. 

In the entire factory, robots, transportation trolleys, lifting trolleys, and other machines are given orders by a computer system which ensures everything operates stably. Instead of workers, the transportation trolley picks the crops safely and efficiently. All kinds of fully automated machines are connected through conveyor lines to realize unmanned sowing, planting, management, and other processes. 

Source: San'an Bio.

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