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MyFarm - Indoor claybed hydroponic farm

Updated: Nov 25


The Need:

As we progress into the future the need for hydroponics is also growing tremendously. We know that hydroponics is the only true alternative to conventional Agriculture. It is the most efficient way to offset carbon emissions and conserve resources.


Commonly used NFT hydroponic systems are made of PVC and even though certified for carrying Potable water, PVC is chemically not a very stable compound. To give it it's long life for plumbing connections PVC is stabilized with Lead. We have been setting up hydroponic farms for the past 7 years and PVC has been a very integral part of our business.

We have scoured high and wide for finding high quality PVC pipes with no lead content and what we have realized is that until we produce the plastic by ourselves directly from the Petroleum there is no way to ensure the lead content. TURNKEY FARM IN MUMBAI





Even after all that the high mineral content in the fertigation water the acidic levels degrade the plastic making it leech into the water. Plus the constant removal of the pipes for cleaning and disinfection after every harvest makes PVC pipes a questionable choice.


CLIENT FARM IN PUNJAB



Additionally, so much plastic use that does not even last a decade is highly counter-productive for an environment saving technology.



OUR OLD R&D FARM


The Invention:

Having used more than 350kms of PVC based NFT Channels it got too heavy on our conscience and a better alternative had to be found. Though use of plastic still seemed inevitable with the lack of options.


We experimented with powder coated galvanized steel tubs for Float and Raft, Ebb and Flow but the weight was too heavy to go vertical. We thought of terracotta pipes but longevity became an issue, materials like PE coated bamboo boards, plant fiber with recycled Poly Propylene and more than enough research to get you bored.


This new technique not only reduces plastic usage but increases efficiency, is financially affordable, increases productivity and reduces operational cost.


Key Highlights of MyFarm:

  • Clay Ball bed for reduced weight

  • Highly increased oxygenation of the root zone

  • Long life of Clay Balls

  • Low cost of Clay balls

  • Tool Free Height Adjustable 8 to 14 inches

  • Accommodates up to 9 layers

  • Multiple sizes of Clay balls for easy transplantation and to stop light leakage and algal growth

  • Easy Sterilization and Cleaning is possible on the layer itself without removing anything

  • Plants can be directly planted into the bed so consumables like netpots are not required

  • Harvesting is easier as plants only need to be pulled out from the grow bed and no netpots are broken in the process






Highlights Continued:





  • Plants can be transported with root zone attached which keeps the plant alive and freshness intact until consumption

  • The system has our proprietary no contact UV-C Disinfection setup which mitigates bacterial and fungal growth. It requires practically no maintenance.

  • All the Growing layers are fertigated via gravity fed drip system this ensures 24x7 fertigation where the water pump is on for only 4-6 hours a day this increases life of the pump and reduced electricity consumption

  • Even distribution of Nutrient concentration to each and every plant

  • A conventional 5x10 leafy green setup uses 375-420 watts of lighting per layer

  • Our high efficiency lighting scheme even though comparatively costlier consumes only 300-340 watts per layer. (A 30-50 watt saving might not seem much but in a 5 layer setup you save 12000 rupees a year per setup! Our moderately costlier lights even out within 10 months of usage and they are the only growlights in the world to come with a 2.5 year warranty)

  • The rack is made from galvanized powder coated steel and is designed to be easily assembled without any technical intervention

  • The liner is made from 5 layer High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE), which is a proven material in the food and agriculture industry. A lot of food packaging, rugged waterproof tarpaulin, bulk sacks of rice wheat and other staple foods are also made of HDPE because of it's good chemical stability, strength and UV resistance.

  • The drip irrigation pipes are made out of LDPE (Low Density Poly Ethylene), and have proven themselves in the field (literally) for over 50 years now.

  • Drip emitters and fittings are made out of the most popular food grade plastic known as poly-propylene all these plastics are also used in labs to handle corrosive substances and will last an exponentially long time.








Planting Grid:






GRID 1

5 x 5 with 1400+ plants

120CM x 60CM

Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Bok Choi, Rocket, Kale


GRID 2

4.5 x 4.5 with 1700+ plants

120CM x 60CM

Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Basil, Arugula


GRID 3

4 x 4 with 2200+ plants

120CM x 60CM

Lettuce, Lollo Rosso, Baby Spinach



Comparison:






MyFarm

with 1 continuous

5x10 feet bed









NFT setup

with PVC pipes at equidistant

permanent

holes.

7 pipes 10 foot long can

be stacked parallel in a

5x10 feet setup







Dutch Bucket

with 40 pieces of 1foot

Diameter buckets and

water tank in 5x10 feet




Features

MyFarm

NFT

Dutch Bucket

​Plants per 50 Sq.ft.

5 layers


​1500

​850

​40

(Too heavy for vertical layering)


Can easily change

planting density

​Yes each plant is in a zone which is

individually fertigated

by drip based

fertigation, a tighter

zone works for all

small to big plants.


​Cannot increase

density as flow of

water will be

disrupted. by the root zone of the plants.

Also holes are

permanently drilled so new pipes will

have to be bought


​1 dutch bucket can

Accommodate no more

than 3 plants

Fertigation

distribution

​All plants receive

same TDS value


​Plants at the inlet will receive higher TDS than plants at outlet

​Drip emitter for every

Bucket

Fertigation

Continuity and

pump usage

​24hrs

Pump on for 6hrs

​Recommended 24hrs Pump is Compulsory

for Fertigation

​Done in Intervals of

1-3 hours

Pump on 3 hours

Maximum plant

size

​Can accommodate

2 small trees

Example- Lemon,

Almond, Juniper

​Cherry tomatoes

vines

​1 Full size tomato

plant per bucket

Disinfection and

Cleaning

​Hydrogen Peroxide

can be poured with

Warm Water into the layer and you are done.

For Deep Cleaning

clayballs can be

removed with a

bucket and washed

and drained.

​Pipes need to be

removed from the

system, residual

water in the pipes

needs to be emptied If openable then lid

needs to be

removed. Endcaps

might need to be Re-Glued

​Remove clayballs and residual water

disinfect with

antiseptic solution.


Project Economics:

Variables

MyFarm

NFT

Cost per plant

​@1500 plants

135rs per plant

​@850 plants

235rs per plant

Total Plants in 400Sq.ft

​4500

​3500

Electricity

consumption(p.m.)

400sq.ft. farm

​Lights @1920 units

Water Pump @65 units

AC 2 1.5 ton @300 units

​Lights @1920 units

Water Pump @150 units

AC 2 1.5 ton @300 units

Operational

Expenditure per plant

in 400sqft farm

@8rs a unit of

electricity

​4 rs a plant

​5.4 rs a plant

Operational

Expenditure

​Farmhand @10,000

Consumables @3000

​Farmhand @10,000

Consumables @3000

Total OpEX

​41,000rs

​41,000rs

Capital Expenditure

400sq.ft. farm

​System cost @6,15,000

AC 2x1.5 ton @90,000

Germination Chamber @30,000

​System cost @8,20,000

AC 2x1.5 ton @90,000

Germination Chamber @30,000

​​Variables

​​MyFarm

​​NFT

Total CapEx

​7,35,000rs

​9,40,000rs

Total Yield of 400sq.ft.

setup @100gms a plant

450kg​

​350kg

Monthly Revenue

Average b2b cost per kg

of plant @200rs

​90,000rs

​70,000rs

Monthly Income

With 20% Wastage

​39,000rs

​23,000rs

ROI with 6 months of

Trial period i.e. sample

distribution, market

analysis

​19 months + 6 months