New cooperation for Mendel University in Brno in the field of aquaponics
The management of the Faculty of Horticulture at Mendel University in Brno will deepen its cooperation with Future Farming. Together, they will focus on research in the field of aquaponics, which is a new trend in vegetable growing and fish farming. The acquired knowledge will be used for further development of technologies in this area. University students will also benefit from the cooperation. They will get acquainted not only with the principles of aquaponics, but they can also complete compulsory practice in one of the farms or use the acquired knowledge in their research project.
“Modern cultivation technologies, emphasis on conservation of natural resources and support for local production. These are all topics that are closely connected with the activities of the Faculty of Horticulture,” describes the Dean of the Faculty of Horticulture, MENDELU, Alena Salašová, the reasons that led the university to cooperate with Future Farming. Experts from MENDELU will focus, for example, on research in the field of fertilizer production from fish waste, insect cultivation as a food source for fish, the use of crop residues for insect cultivation, or algae cultivation on aquaponics fertilizers.
For operators of aquaponic farms, knowledge from the field of biological plant protection, elimination of sources of contamination, the efficiency of plant growth, or the effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide doping on plants will also be very valuable. Cooperation between the commercial and academic spheres is also important from the point of view of students. “Preparing graduates for every emerging industry in the Czech Republic – in this case, aquaponics, is crucial. Students are already working on bachelor’s and master’s theses on the topic of aquaponics, now research is starting at the level of a dissertation project,” added Salašová. According to her, thanks to the cooperation, attractive research topics with an international dimension open up. She cited the area of increasing productivity with modern LED luminaires as an example.
Future Farming supplied and installed an aquaponic research set to the research greenhouse of the Faculty of Lednice, with which students can work daily. “The great advantage of our cooperation with academia is that we can immediately apply all the knowledge in practice. We are also ready to provide Mendel University students with the necessary internships on some of our aquaponic farms or to help them with their research projects. Two university graduates have already found employment with us, and in September, we will welcome the first two interns, “said Michal Fojtík, CEO of Future Farming.
Briefly about aquaponics
Aquaponics is an integrated food production system that combines fish farming with growing vegetables without soil. Unlike conventional vegetable growing in fields or greenhouses, no fertilizers or any other chemicals are used. Water consumption is up to 96 percent lower, and thanks to shelving growing systems, it is possible to achieve up to ten times higher production per unit area. In the Czech Republic, the first commercial aquaponic farms are gradually put into operation, which produces leafy and fruit vegetables, herbs, and various types of freshwater fish of the highest quality. These products are intended primarily for consumption in the local market.
Photo: Future Farming