Protected cultivation is a process of growing crops in a controlled environment.
For instance, like the cultivation of tomatoes in greenhouses, the whole crop is protected by a suitably designed enclosure that protects it from damaging external factors such as cold, heat, or rainfall. Examples of crops currently being cultivated with protected cultivation include green leafy vegetables, maize, and other crops.
Our recent publication in The Ecologist, entitled Protected cultivation of tomatoes with protective walls, shows that tomatoes grown in this way by protected cultivation are protected from every threat that could harm or threaten the tomato, including leaf blight powdery mildew. This represents a significant advance in both the commercial production of tomatoes and the science of agriculture.
The tomato industry needs protected cultivation. Why?
Because commercial production depends on increased production of tomatoes, mainly as an export commodity, producing higher yields to meet this demand involves cultivation in a new type of climate regime, such as the highly cultivated Mediterranean region, where increased levels of greenhouse gases are associated with warmer weather and heavier rainfall. The heavy rain that comes with this increased rainfall also causes stress on crops. As a result, there is an increased risk of crop failure.
Protected cultivation of tomatoes requires no irrigation. So the yield increase depends solely on protecting the crop from the damaging environmental factors produced by climate change. It means that c can produce tomatoes grown in these protected environments in a protected environment, that is, a degree or two cooler and lower in humidity compared with normal agriculture. This represents a big step forward in improving the sustainability of tomatoes.
Our research reveals that greenhouse tomato crops can be grown in this protected environment with 70% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than tomatoes grown in open field systems. And this reduction in emissions is substantial when taking into account the effect of crop rotation. Our previous research demonstrated that when tomatoes are grown in a protected environment, the greenhouse production will tend to be prodigal: lots of production is required to harvest the crop for the year. Our latest research suggests that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be significantly larger than the increased greenhouse gas emissions from increased production.
Protected cultivation was developed as a method for the protection of crops in an agricultural system that is highly intolerant to environmental fluctuations, which, in this case, is a highly variable climate. It is an example of the importance of agricultural science developing by promoting solutions that reduce risks in an agricultural system. And we must understand the agricultural impacts of climate change to ensure that c can implement solutions such as protected cultivation. The availability of protected cultivation for tomato cultivation shows that the science of agriculture is developing rapidly in this way.
Protected cultivation is a significant breakthrough in the science of agriculture. It represents a major advance in the commercial production of tomatoes and other crops. The science of agriculture is improving when much of the political discourse on agriculture in the UK has been negative. The increasing research into new ways of agriculture, which increase the production of crops in new ways that are less environmentally damaging, is positive. It is about developing new solutions. But to achieve this, we need to engage our politicians, industry, and scientists.
C can protect plants from almost all external factors by planting them in a cultivated greenhouse. The increased production from the protected environment will mean that protected cultivation will be a viable method for cultivating crops in new ways, in new regions. Our results demonstrate that we can protect crops from climatic phenomena while achieving increased productivity and environmental benefits.
Understanding the impact of agricultural production on the environment in the developed world is a good thing. But it is time for us to start discussing the effects of agriculture in other regions. Farming is an important part of our economy. And understanding the effects of our agricultural production and what agriculture can do to benefit people and the environment can help us create a more sustainable future. Protected cultivation for tomatoes represents this sort of discussion.
And it is time that we heard this debate. We have developed more ways to farm agriculture than ever before. We must engage in this conversation. If we do not, we will be forever defined by the negative experiences that we have created, and for this, we are all partly responsible.
Climate change is a global problem. We all have the power to create a more sustainable and resilient future for ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world. With protected cultivation for tomato cultivation, we can do this.
Philip Mulryan is an associate lecturer in agronomy at the University of Reading. He is researching the impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity in the UK and developing strategies to mitigate the effects.
Chris McGlade is a graduate of the University of Reading and is now based at the CSIRO, Australia.
Food Tank is a nonprofit education and advocacy organization that seeks to promote a healthier and more sustainable world.
Provision of protection for growing plants in protected cultivation is important as the negative effect of protective cultivation is actually much greater than the positive effect of protecting the plants from adverse environmental factors such as cold, heat, or cold. The negative effects of the protective environment include:
The introduction of pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, or plant diseases,
Negative environmental factors such as heat or cold.
Negative climatic conditions that the protection of the plants may introduce
Negative consequences for the breeding and development of crop varieties.
On the positive side, protected cultivation often improves the quality of the plants in a given crop. They have higher nutritional values and freshness as well as better tolerance towards the fluctuations of climatic conditions.
Each region and each crop requires different protection to promote their continuous cultivation and development in protected cultivation. The ideal solution for any protected cultivation requires a protected environment. A protected environment includes enclosed structures designed for protected cultivation with strict control of the external environment.
Each protected cultivation that relies on proper protection has its own set of rules and regulations. This leads to the issue of market protection.
There are certain protected cultivation items that are allowed in certain countries and areas.
Dairies often use protected cultivation as an alternative to making cheese in large machines that can handle large batches. To have the best chances for tasty cheese, c must have raised the milk in a protected environment. The cream is protected from spoiling by the fat which forms in the butter.
Protected cultivation can also be used for cold crops such as apples, often affected by extreme cold in winter. Many farmers use enclosures and heating plants to protect their apples from freezing. It is an expensive process but one that can make a real difference in keeping the freshness of the produce at its highest.