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Thanks to LED lighting, English tomatoes keep their normal production in winter

Time:2018-05-09 Views:224
Thanks to LED lighting, English tomatoes keep their normal production in winter

According to reports, a major producer of tomatoes for major supermarkets in the United Kingdom stated that they have obtained "amazing" results from LED lighting.

The company called Flavourfresh, which produces nearly three million kilograms of tomatoes each year for large supermarkets such as Asda and Marks & Spencer. Two years ago, LED lights were introduced in the greenhouses of Southport to ensure production in the winter. Andy Roe, production manager, said the results were "Astonishing."

Roe said, "Technical specifications and our expectations were met in the first year, from plant growth to fruit quality and flavor." He said that it was an upsetting thing to get past the cold winter, but "to support the blessing of the tomato god, our expectations are exactly in line with reality."

Roe said that the quality of tomatoes growing under artificial lighting in the winter is the same as the quality of summer grown. Achieving this goal is costly, but British customers are prepared to pay for it.

With their low energy consumption and tunable spectrum optimized for plant growth, LED lighting are increasingly replacing high pressure sodium lamps. For decades, high pressure sodium lamps have been the preferred source of light for the horticultural field.

Nevertheless, Roe said that LED is not yet able to meet all of Flavourfresh‘s needs. For the newly built 17,000 square meter greenhouse, he again chose high pressure sodium lamps. The reason is not the amount of light but heat.

Although LEDs emit relatively little heat, high-pressure sodium lamps emit a lot of heat. In many applications, this will only waste energy, but in the greenhouse, the heat is useful, as long as it can be controlled.

Flavourfresh‘s existing LED luminaires are installed in a relatively low-ceiling greenhouse because, if a high-pressure sodium lamp is installed, it will be very close to the crop and the heat may cause damage. However, the ceiling of the new greenhouse is more than two meters high and there is enough space between the plants and the lights, so that the high-pressure sodium lamp is more attractive. Roe explained that the warm environment at the top of the plant helps keep the plant dry and promotes fruit growth.

“We have to decide what is the best way forward. We went to other planters that use high-pressure sodium lamps. There are advantages and disadvantages. The lights produced by the HPS lamps are very strong, the operating costs are higher, and they have a great impact on plants.”

Although LED lighting means lower energy costs and higher yields in the long run, the high upfront costs mean that HPS lamps will return faster.

But Roe still thinks that LED is the future. He said that LED has become better. "Growers will understand and make adjustments. Within 10 years, LED lighting will become standard products."