There are many advantages and disadvantages of hydroponics and field grown farming systems. It is however important that the system chosen should provide the highest income and is capable to supply the market with its requirements.  A good starting point to learn more about hydroponics is The Science of Hydroponics – Introduction to Hydroponics
by Sue and Harley Smith. It’s an eBook, so you can quickly get started by reading it either on your computer or Kindle. A comparison of some of the advantages and disadvantages between conventional agriculture and hydroponics are provided below:

CategoryHydroponicsSoil
Sterilization of growth mediumChemical fumigants, short time needed. Growth medium is already sterilized by the supplier.Steam, chemical fumigants, labour intensive, it takes time and is a lengthy process, minimum of 2 – 3 weeks.
Plant nutritionCompletely controlled, relatively stable, homogenous to all plants, readily available in sufficient quantities. Good control over pH. Easily adjusted, sampled and tested.Highly variable, localized deficiencies, difficult to adjust due to high buffering capacity of soil, soil tests take long.
Plant spacingLimited only by available light, therefore closer spacing is possible; increased number of plants per unit area, therefore more efficient use of space which results in greater yields per unit area.Limited by soil nutrition and available light.
Weed controlNo weeds, no cultivation except around the tunnels.Weeds are present, cultivate regularly.
Disease controlNo diseases, insects, animals in medium: no need for crop rotation.Many soil borne diseases, nematodes, insects and animals that can attack the crop, often use crop rotation to overcome build-up of infestation.
Fruit qualityFruit is firm with long shelf life. Longer shelf life helps with marketing of produce and results in less spoilage.Fruit is often soft or puffy due to potassium and calcium deficiencies. This results in poor shelf life.
FertilizersUse small quantities, uniformly distributed to all plants, no leaching beyond root zone, efficient use.Broadcast large quantities over the soil, non-uniform distribution to plants, large amounts are leached past root zone.
SanitationGood sanitation control in tunnels.No sanitation possible on open land.
TransplantingNo preparation of medium required prior to transplanting. Shock minimized, initial transplant shock is less and adaption faster so subsequent growth processes get a head start.Need to prepare soil, uprooted plants which lead to transplanting shock. Difficult to control soil temperatures, disease organisms that may adversely affect or even kill transplants.
Plant maturityPlants in general mature faster and more even.Due to high variation in microclimate in soil conditions, plants will mature at different times within a single season.
Yields• Hydroponics: Up to 100 % higher in certain conditions. Expect at least 30 % higher first grade product yields.Yields are unpredictable and quality varies considerably.