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40 % of Dutch acreage lighted cultivation

“Growers show more interest in LED light”

Many growers are interested in LED lighting in their greenhouses. The purchase costs and the lack of knowledge about the influence on crops result in a dilemma. Horticultural association Glastuinbouw Nederland advises growers to start on a small scale and to inform themselves properly. An independent LED consultancy has also been set up.

The use of assimilation lighting has been increasing in Dutch greenhouse horticulture since 1996. Illuminated cultivation makes up to 40 percent of the total area of about 10,000 hectares. Traditionally, lighting was done with Son-T lighting, consisting of sodium lamps.

LED lighting has been on the rise since 2007, with benefits including lower electricity consumption, less radiant heat, quick to turn on and off, dimmable, adjustable to specific wavelengths and a longer lifespan. In 2019, 15.5 percent of greenhouse growers were interested in investing in LED lighting, up from 13 percent in 2016.

“The large number of registrations for meetings and webinars on the subject shows the great interest in LED lighting from the grower community,” says Anja Dieleman, senior researcher in plant physiology at the Greenhouse Horticulture Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research (WUR).

LIGHTED CULTIVATION

Energy balance
According to her, switching to LED lighting requires a different way of growing, because the energy balance in the greenhouse changes. In addition to lighting, factors such as temperature, dehumidification and planting date also play a role in plant growth. The optimal conditions differ per crop and also per variety and growth stage.

For certain crops, such as cucumber, tomato, rose and gerbera, a lot of research has already been done on assimilation lighting with LED lamps. In such trials, WUR researchers work together with growers’ supervisory committees. Dieleman says that research and practice need each other to exchange knowledge.

“Ultimately, it is the entrepreneurs who have to decide whether they want to invest in LED lighting. Not only do the research results play a role in this, but also the purchase prices of equipment, electricity prices, wishes of customers and requirements set by the greenhouse horticulture sector.”

Brand independent
Growers of crops for which little research has been done also want to gain experience with LED lighting. Dennis Medema, energy theme specialist at Glastuinbouw Nederland, advises interested growers to inform themselves about what is known about their crop (and variety), for example within research of Greenhouse as Energy Source.

He indicates that the purchase price for LED lighting is about three times higher than for Son-T lamps. “It is wise to take small steps when not much is known yet, for example by first performing a test yourself or by starting off with hybrid lighting, that is, a combination of Son-T and LED lighting.”

At the beginning of 2020, consultancy firm Ledgnd was founded by greenhouse horticulture entrepreneurs Joris Elstgeest and Matthea Rijneker and lighting specialists Richard and Ramón van de Vrie. The latter is Ledgnd’s operational director. “Growers can come to us for brand-independent advice on LED lighting. We compare all led lamps and fixtures with the technical specifications. The results can be found on a portal on our website.”

Since September, Ledgnd has been working together with the former WUR scientists from B-Mex, who provide calculation models for greenhouse horticulture, and subsidy consultants who are familiar with, for example, the Energy Investment Allowance (EIA), the Environmental Investment Deduction (MIA) and the Arbitrary Depreciation of Environmental Assets (Vamil).

Arno van der Salm from Oude Wetering in South Holland is a grower of matricaria, campanula, snapdragon and tulip. “I want to use LED lighting to plant thicker plants in autumn and to grow snapdragons instead of tulips in winter. With that, I want to achieve an even work situation all year round.” He has sought advice from Ledgnd on suppliers, fixtures, color spectrum and power output. In the nursery, a test section of 400 square meters is equipped with LED lighting. The second round of cultivation is now in progress.

led 2

Higher turnover
Van der Salm: “Depending on the results, I want to expand the trial to my entire 1.5-hectare farm.” According to Van de Vrie, based on the current test results, year-round cultivation of snapdragons is possible, which means two extra cultivation rounds. This allows Van der Salm to realize a higher turnover and is expected to recoup the investment amount, which he prefers not to mention, in four years.

Dieleman and Medema see the establishment of Ledgnd as a logical development due to the interest from the greenhouse horticulture sector and the complexity of making choices in LED lighting. Medema: “It is important that they keep up with the latest developments and research in order to provide growers with the right informatio

Source: Nieuwe Oogst, Hanneke de Jonge /equipment/

For more information:
Ledgnd B.V.
Cypresbaan 16
2908 LT Capelle aan den IJssel
The Netherlands

Weihoek 10D
4416 PX Kruiningen
The Netherlands

T +31 (0)113 40 50 39
info@ledgnd.com 
www.ledgnd.com 

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Equipment

The largest greenhouse complex in Prikamye will be put into operation

Фото:пресс-служба Минсельхозпрода Пермского края.

According to the press service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Perm Territory, the first modern greenhouse complex “Permsky” in the Kama region, located in the territory of advanced social and economic development (PSEDA) “Chusovoy”, received permission to commission.

By the decision of the regional authorities, the investment project was assigned a priority status (PIP). It is aimed at building the largest agricultural complex in the region for growing more than 22 thousand tons of vegetables in greenhouses annually. The total volume of private investment in it is over 7.8 billion rubles.

The PIP includes the arrangement of modern greenhouses with a total area of ​​24.5 hectares, the construction of an autonomous power center capable of meeting the demand for more than 44 megawatts of electrical energy, the construction of its own water intake unit with a separate water treatment infrastructure, and the construction of administrative and auxiliary facilities.
Press service of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Perm Territory Photo: Press service of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Perm Territory The largest greenhouse complex of the Kama region will be put into operation
According to the Governor of the Perm Territory Dmitry Makhonin, the greenhouse complex in Chusovoy is the largest greenhouse project in the history of the region. Its implementation contributes to the development of agricultural cooperation in the Kama region, since for the cultivation of vegetables and the production of environmentally friendly products, TC “Permsky” actively attracts local producers and suppliers, as well as entrepreneurs of different levels.

“Considering the scale of the enterprise, the creation of the Permsky shopping center within a little over two years is a very good time. Due to the fact that we began commissioning and test modes of operation in December last year, today we are already harvesting a high-quality harvest of tomatoes and cucumbers. We ship it to wholesalers in the Perm Territory and large retail chains on a daily schedule. At the same time, all the products of our greenhouse complex are marked with the production sign “Buy Permskoe”, which is especially important when supplying vegetables to neighboring regions. ”
Dmitry Shashikashvili – Advisor to TC “Permsky”
The project is being implemented under the management of the Group of Companies “Greenhouses of Regions” (owned by the investment fund “REAM Management”, specializing in investments in green technologies).

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Equipment

Vertically Urban delivers Indoor farms and greenhouses demanding more options from LED lighting

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“We’ve seen a demand from growers that want high PPFD levels, the ability to change the spectrum, be able to control everything, and receive feedback on the spectrum being used,” says Andrew Littler, chief executive officer and founder of UK-based horticultural lighting company, Vertically Urban.

Vertically Urban designs and manufactures toplighting, interlighting, and close-range lighting solutions for greenhouses and vertical farms alike. For example, the company’s Odyssey 600 is a high-power LED toplight designed for mid-to high-bay greenhouses for cannabis, vine crops, soft fruit, and more.

vertical5

Similarly, the Odyssey 200 toplights offer slightly less power and are designed for mid-height greenhouses and indoor farms. For interlighting, Vertically Urban designed the Odyssey 100. Next down the line is Horti-Blade, a low-profile LED designed for vertical farming and integration into racking systems.

“The Horti-Blade is very efficient, especially when we consider kilograms produced per mol of light. It is very competitive and we are always working to further optimize it,” explains Andrew.

vertical

Research at the company’s core
Plant scientist Phoebe Sutton leads the horticultural research at Vertically Urban, focusing on how to fine-tune horticultural lighting to widen the crop portfolio in controlled environment agriculture and improve the growth and quality of these products.

“We’re looking at the traits that growers want to target, from growth rates to taste and color. These traits can be tweaked using different light wavelengths. We’re working with both leafy greens and fruiting varieties,” explains Phoebe.

vertical6

Vertically Urban is running numerous trials internally, with nine different zones from which the research team collects and analyzes data. The data is being used to assist growers and further develop lighting control systems, software packages, and hardware.

According to Andrew and Phoebe, an emerging trend in the horticultural lighting industry is the request for higher light outputs and multi-spectra lighting. Vertically Urban is working to tackle these trends and provide growers with the most dynamic and efficient lighting solutions.

“We’re seeing a demand for multi-spectra products. We work closely with growers and offer a more tailored solution focusing on efficacy and providing the best spectrum,” explains Andrew.

vertical1

Expansion starts at home, then planned for Europe and North America
Vertically Urban is currently in contract stages with multiple potential partners, with existing partnerships in North America helping the company push its commercial expansion. As Andrew explains, Vertically Urban has adopted a staged expansion approach to first focus on the UK market, and then expand further into North America, northern Europe, Nordic countries, and eventually into the Middle East.

To demonstrate firsthand the benefits of working with Vertically Urban, the company hosts potential clients and research partners at its facility in Leeds. Vertically Urban is also putting together a demonstration video that will allow people to see the factory, trial lab, and team.

“When people visit us in person or soon virtually, they can see the trial lab, engineers, tech team, and the factory. We offer customized solutions and our transparency is an added advantage,” explains Andrew.

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Equipment

Canada: Blue lights grow red and yellow peppers at Allegro Acres

How about a bluehouse instead of a greenhouse? No, this is not a still from a futuristic movie, nor an art project: it is the greenhouse of Allegro Acres. To produce local peppers during colder winter months, they installed a lighting system with which they can create any combination of light wavelengths. When anything is possible, what would you do?

bluehouse1

It was almost a year ago that the team with Allegro Acres harvested their first bell peppers from under the lights. Installing a lighting installation enabled them to grow during the winter. “The first season of winter pepper production definitely entailed a learning curve,” the team with Sollum says. Looking back at this first project phase, they highlight and discuss the key takeaways from this experience.

Earlier peak production
Some Canadian producers struggled to accommodate the unpredictable temperatures that defined the 2021 growing season. While the highest temperature in Canadian history was reached in British Columbia, heat waves were experienced just days apart from nights that were almost cold enough to cause frost in northwestern Ontario. Apple orchards in Ottawa struggled with a cold spring and dry summer, with some farmers describing yields as their worst yet. Heading into fall, pumpkin farmers across the country blamed “extreme weather” for a lackluster harvest. “With more unpredictable weather on the horizon due to climate change, the winter pepper production that was accomplished at Allegro Acres sets a necessary precedent for varying growing schedules in Canadian agriculture,” the team with Sollum says. “We saw how shifting from summer to winter production allowed the peppers to reach peak production before undesirably high temperatures were experienced.”

bluehouse2

Crop registration
A collaboration was started with the Harrow Research and Development Center of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to determine the light recipe best suited to pepper production and the location of the greenhouse. Throughout the growing season, crop registration was done to monitor multiple crop parameters and optimize plant growth by adjusting their lighting accordingly. It was not just a matter of better taste, size, and appearance, but of crop yield as well.

“Producing winter peppers at this scale was new territory for all of us involved in the project, so we knew that challenges would undoubtedly arise,” says Sollum agronomist Rose Séguin. “What is great about Sollum’s solution is that we could take steps to rectify an issue immediately, which makes all the difference when it comes to maximizing quality and yield.” For example, earlier in the season, undesirably short internodes were observed. The team decided to add far-red light to the spectrum to elongate stem growth. Similarly, when chlorosis affected pepper quality in one zone, the recipe was swapped with that of another zone, remedying the problem without the hassle of shuffling heavy equipment around. For those who ask: yes, the blue lights turned out as an important spectrum for the greenhouse grower.

far red
Results of last years season

Alternating the recipes is done via Sollum’s SUN as a Service (SUNaaS) cloud platform. allowing users to drag and drop recipes in each of a greenhouse’s ‘zones’. Any combination of light wavelengths can be created. The system also makes the process of light management less complicated by dynamically calibrating LED fixture outputs based on changing ambient light. “It gives producers the freedom to implement different lighting recipes without installing new equipment – this also means that the system can be adapted as needed to account for unforeseen challenges and evolving crop plans.”

Tripled acreage
For the coming season, the winter pepper area is tripled: 12 acres of winter pepper production is being grown in Kingsville Ontario. Planting has begun a month earlier than the previous year. Different pepper varieties will be grown, and the growing environment will be adapted with new control measures such as a misting system to better manage humidity and light abatement curtains to better isolate light treatments. “It will be exciting to see how these changes interact with one another and how they affect pepper yield and quality,” the team concludes.

bluehouse3

The partnership with the Harrow Research and Development Center of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will also continue. “They play a critical role in data collection and analysis which helps us provide concrete evidence to support our advocacy for sustainable, local, and year-round agriculture. They also help us analyze other metrics such as energy consumption, which we predict will be further reduced as we continue to optimize our lighting solutions to suit producers’ specific needs.”

Award-winning solution
For Sollum, it is another sign that they are only at the beginning. “We continue to grow as a business and get our game-changing LED lighting solution in the hands of more producers.” There is more good news for them: cementing itself as a major industry entrant in the world of horticultural lighting, the company has been named a winner of Deloitte’s 2021 Technology Fast 50TM Award in the Companies-to-Watch category. This award not only recognizes innovative technology but those companies that successfully translate innovation to commercial success.

“This is a highly respected designation, and receiving this award goes to show just how much progress we’ve made – in a short period of time – breaking into an extremely competitive market,” says Sollum Technologies CEO and co-founder, Louis Brun. “This is only the beginning for us as we continue to grow as a business and get our game-changing LED lighting solution in the hands of more producers.”

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