Hi-tech horticulture is now widely employed for the profitable commercial production of horticultural products. Hi-tech horticultural practices include Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Integrated Nutrient management (INM), Plasticulture, Greenhouse Cultivation or Protected Cultivation, Hydroponics, Micro-irrigation or Drip irrigation, Fertigation, Sub-surface Drainage System, Precision Farming, High Density Planting, Hi-Tech Mechanization, Molecular Diagnostics etc.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has become a widely practiced Hi-tech horticulture practice now. Integrated Pest Management in horticultural production is one of the key requirements for promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development. Integrated Pest Management aims at a judicious use of cultural, biological and chemical control of pests and diseases.
Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) also has become a widely practiced Hi-tech horticulture practice now. Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) refers to maintenance of soil fertility and plant nutrient supply to an optimum level for sustaining the desired crop productivity through optimization of the benefits from all possible sources of plant nutrients in an integrated manner. Another important aspect of INM is the enhancing of the fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) by proper placement of fertilizer in close proximity to the rhizosphere of the highest root activity. Integrated Nutrient Management has become one of the common practices among progressive horticulture producers today.
Plasticulture has become a popular hi-tech horticulture technology today. Plastics have various applications in commercial horticultural production. The practice of using plastics for commercial horticultural production is termed as ‘Plasticulture’. Various applications of plastics in horticulture include Protected Cultivation (greenhouse structures; high and low tunnels etc); Plastic Mulching, and Plastic Lining. Plasticulture improves the economic efficiency of production systems and helps in efficient water and energy management. Plasticulture reduces temperature fluctuations and moisture fluctuations and also helps in controlling pest and disease infestations. Plasticulture plays a dominant role in precise irrigation and nutrient applications by reducing wastage of water and nutrients and by reducing soil erosion. Use of plastics has proved beneficial to promote the judicious utilization of natural resources like soil, water, sunlight and temperature.
Greenhouse Cultivation or protected cultivation is now quite popular among progressive horticultural producers. This hi-tech horticulture technology offers several advantages over traditional production techniques such as in greenhouse cultivation, horticultural products mainly fruits, vegetables and flowers can be produced under protected cultivation even during their off-seasons. Advantages of Greenhouse are—
- • Production of vegetable crops.
- • Production of off-season flowers, vegetables.
- • Production of Roses, Carnation, Cut-flowers etc.
- • Plant propagation, raising of seedlings.
- • Primary and secondary hardening nursery of Tissue cultured plant.
- • Growth / Production of rare plants, orchids / herbs, medicinal plants.
Hydroponics, another hi-tech horticulture technology offers great scope for horticultural producers worldwide. Hydroponics is also known as soilless cultivation. Hydroponics helps producers to grow plants in nutrient solution, without using the standard soil medium.
Drip Irrigation is now a widely used irrigation practice worldwide. Drip irrigation has many advantages over a standard irrigational procedure. These advantages include optimum utilization of irrigational water, maximum water use efficiency by supplying water within the root system of the plants, and minimum evaporative loss of soil moisture.
Fertigation the practice of supplying plant fertilizers and nutrients via irrigational water is known as fertigation. Fertigation is usually practiced with drip irrigation.
By -Kaushal Upadhyay
Department of Horticulture
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital