The last place you might expect to find machined plastics is in agriculture, but plastic is everywhere. You can find it in aerospace, in the military, and even in cryogenics. It should come as no surprise then that plastic can be found in agriculture, too.
The use of plastic in agriculture has risen exponentially in the last 20 years or so. This innovative material has allowed agricultural operations to increase their efficiency, enabling them to meet the growing demand for food as the world’s population increases. Plastic has proven to be such an invaluable resource in agriculture that it’s even received its own moniker—”plasticulture”.
So, why has plastic become so popular, and what are some of the most innovative ways plastic is being used to enhance agricultural operations?
The benefits of using plastic in agriculture
So many people wouldn’t be using plastic if it didn’t offer some wonderful benefits. Plastic delivers on many counts.
- Plastic tubing, pipes, and mulch covers conserve natural resources like water, fossil fuels, and nutrients. This is especially important when it comes to retaining moisture in arid regions.
- Plastic can reduce the weight of spray tanks, booms, and controls.
- Plastic products can increase warmth in cooler regions and cool the soil in warmer regions.
- By keeping crops in an enclosed space, plastic can reduce pesticide use.
- Plastic bins, liners, hoppers, gears, and more can increase efficiency and reduce the breakdown of machinery.
Many plastics outperform traditional materials, which enables farmers and other agricultural professionals to adhere to tighter emission standards. Plastic has become such an effective way to manage crops that today, the U.S. uses about one billion pounds of agricultural plastic each year.
Innovative Uses of Plastic in Agriculture
With so much plastic being used in agriculture each year, you can bet that it’s being used nearly everywhere. From greenhouse covers to nursery containers, rollers to wear pads and even twine, plastic has replaced traditional materials in many ways. Because plastic has proven to be such an effective way to manage various agricultural applications, new and innovative ways to use plastic have surfaced in recent years. Here are a few of the most innovative.
When it comes to watering plants, nothing is better than drip irrigation, but it isn’t the right solution for everyone. This is especially true when it comes to smaller agricultural operations and home gardeners. Instead, they have depended on spray nozzles, but not all spray nozzles are created equal.
Many nozzles are drippy and don’t utilize water effectively. The result is a lot of wasted water. Injection molded spray nozzles have solved this problem.
These high-quality plastic nozzles provide an accurate spray stream, which allows you to control the amount of water that’s being used without any waste. They have high precision thresholds that allow them to irrigate crops with maximum efficiency, and they are able to stand up to the elements without rusting. These benefits ultimately impact crop quality for the better while allowing farmers to spend less on water usage at the same time.
Water is something many of us take for granted. Arid landscapes are likely to experience more droughts in the future, and with the growing world population, we’ll need more water to go around. Figuring out how to get the most out of the water we have is important. That’s where plastic reservoir systems come in.
Plastic reservoir systems include water storage, plastic covers that prevent evaporation, and irrigation pipes that keep the water flowing. These features allow plastic reservoir systems to deliver water many miles away. This is an effective way for farmers to grow crops in areas that normally wouldn’t be able to support them. This innovative plastic product is having the most impact in developing nations because it can increase crop production.
Our bees are in danger of becoming extinct. This is a huge problem because we depend on these little insects to pollinate our crops. Encouraging people to become beekeepers is a good solution, but dealing with bees doesn’t sound like fun to most people. They have stingers, after all!
The solution? One is the rotomolded beehive. This beehive has a clear plastic dome, plastic collection trays, and thin plastic walls that promote a comfortable environment for the bees. A centrifugal process allows you to collect honey and remove debris easily. The Beehive can even deliver data to a mobile app! Because it makes caring for bees so simple, it’s a good solution for urban beekeepers and homeowners, but because it can keep honey production costs low, it’s a good solution for honey producers too.
Enhance your agricultural operation with plastic
There are many ways to enhance your agricultural operation. One of the easiest is to choose the right fasteners and components for the job. For help deciding which products would be best for you, just give us a call. We’d be happy to help you find the perfect plastic fasteners, no matter what your application requires.