iFarm Multigreens: How does the new versatile technology for vertical farms work?

A modern high-tech vertical farm is an artificial enclosed environment that must accommodate the varied preferences and needs of different plants simultaneously. For experts in AgTech and farmers, creating ideal conditions for growing different types of greens in the same space is a complex problem to tackle.

iFarm, a technology company enabling IT-driven farming in controlled environments, has overcome the challenge and developed a universal technology iFarm Multigreens for growing leafy greens, baby leaves, microgreens, spicy herbs, and edible flowers - all in one environment.

Thanks to a new irrigation method and enhanced planting density, iFarm Multigreens allows farmers to achieve a higher yield of a broader variety of ultra-fresh crispy lettuces and tasty greens when compared to previous iFarm technologies.

In this article, agricultural technologist Nikolai Podvigin, explains how the new iFarm Multigreens technology works.

iFarm Multigreens: Plant growth recipes

With iFarm Multigreens technology, Romano and Frisee lettuces, delicate lemon balm, aromatic parsley, the nutrient-rich microgreens of beetroot, mustard, as well as other 86 crops can be grown on a single vertical farm. A unique plant growth recipe has been developed for each crop, setting out the necessary parameters for climate, nutrition, lighting, substrate type, and growing method.

The iFarm Microgreens technology uses rockwool as a substrate. It is sterile and requires no pre-sowing preparation.
"Rockwool cubes are compact and do not take up much space on the vertical racks, resulting in a nearly 2.5-fold increase in sowing density in the seedling area (compared to the sowing density on peat farms with other irrigation methods). Apart from rockwool, we also use cellulose, coconut coir, jute and foam rubber, all of which are excellent alternative options."
Nikolai Podvigin
Agricultural technologist at iFarm
Likewise other iFarm technologies, the new iFarm Multigreens is based on the hydroponics farming system: minerals are dissolved in a nutrient-rich water solution and absorbed by the plant without the need for soil.

Special trays and cassettes serve as the infrastructure for delivering the nutrient solution to the plant roots. An important parameter in the logic of irrigation is its frequency: how often and for how long the plants receive nutrients. Agronomists have carefully calculated all these parameters in agrotechnological maps of the iFarm Multigreens.
Vertical racks with plant seedlings on a farm in Dubai, UAE. iFarm Multigreens technology.
Source: iFarm.
The iFarm Multigreens technology employs the Ebb & Flow irrigation method. Unlike other methods, Ebb & Flow allows for watering each plant tray individually. This makes it possible to constantly monitor, adjust and maintain the appropriate level of nutrients for each single plant, which is vital on vertical farms with dozens of diverse crops grown.

Three options of iFarm Multigreens for your farming venture

Thanks to the combination of two hydroponic systems and various technology components, the vertical farm on iFarm Multigreens technology can be adapted to various business goals and production specifics.

The first option of the technology involves the use of the Ebb & Flow irrigation method described earlier in this article for both the seedling and main growing areas of the farm. In the second type, the Ebb & Flow irrigation method is used only in the seedling area, with the DFT (Deep Flow Technique) hydroponic system employed in the growing area.

The third type of technology is specifically designed to grow baby leaves and microgreens.
Radish microgreens on a vertical farm, iFarm technologies, photo
Radish microgreens on a vertical farm using iFarm technologies.
Source: iFarm.
"The choice of technology type depends on the farmer's end-product strategy. If the goal is to maximize yields, we recommend the second option - combined technology (DFT). If a farmer wants to grow microgreens and baby leaves, the third option is the most suitable. iFarm Multigreens is also a great option for those who are looking for versatility: to grow different lettuces, spicy herbs, and greens in different proportions," Nikolai Podvigin explains.

iFarm Multigreens: Crop yields

The new irrigation system increases the oxygen supply to the roots of the plants, making nutrition much more efficient. Combined with an increased plant density in the seedling area, it results in record high yields per square meter of a farm’s growing area.

For instance, with iFarm Multigreens technology, Frisse lettuce yields on 38.5% more than on farms with different irrigation methods and planting logic.

The table below shows the yields for different green crops on peat farms versus rockwool farms with new advanced iFarm Multigreens technology.
Yield of green crops with iFarm technologies, comparative table for two technologies: NFT 1.0. and iFarm Multigreens.

Pilot farm with iFarm Multigreens technology in the UAE

The iFarm Microgreens technology is already in use at a vertical farm in Dubai, the UAE. Microgreens, baby leaves, several types of spicy herbs, lettuce, and edible flowers - over 3 tonnes fresh crops per month are produced on 712 m² of total growing area.

By cultivating various types of crops in different proportions, the farm’s owner plans to target premium retail chains and HoReCa giants.

The ingenious technological combination of different hydroponic methods and components makes the iFarm Multigreens highly versatile. This allows farmers to adapt the product range to seasonality and effortlessly adjust the strategy, which is particularly important when starting production and entering the market.
"iFarm Multigreens is a great solution for agribusiness owners who are looking for versatility, whether they wish to test the market or establish a broad presence within it. With the new technology, farmers can grow 53% more varieties of  leafy greens, herbs, and microgreens than with previous technology for peat farms. iFarm Multigreens has been designed to enable flexible and smooth production, regardless of market conditions."
Alexander Lyskovsky
CEO of iFarm
Compare the financial outcomes of iFarm Multigreens and Leafy Greens technologies presented in the table below. With optimal product mix, the new technology will deliver higher yields and result in a shorter farm payback period, despite the difference in CAPEX.
Table with financial outcomes for vertical farms powered by iFarm Leafy Greens and iFarm Multigreens technologies.
Calculate the profitability, investment, and payback time of your future vertical farm. Just set the required parameters and get a free preliminary financial model.

To learn more about iFarm Multigreens technology and set up your own vertical farming business, contact iFarm