Great need for knowledge of cultivation with LED lighting
Growing under LED is hot. And growers want to know all about it: there's a great need for knowledge. This was one of the findings that came from the overwhelming interest in the webinar 'Successful Cultivation with LED', organised by grow light specialist Hortilux last week in collaboration with GreenTech. The main conclusion was that there is no standard cultivation formula; successful cultivation under LED is primarily a matter of tailor-made solutions.
The webinar, which was attended by growers, researchers and other interested parties from over 60 different countries, covered a wide range of topics. Hortilux specialists shared their knowledge on cultivation using LED. “”We believe that investing in knowledge transfer is very important, both before and after the purchase of a grow light installation,” Hortilux’s managing director Michèl de Wit said. “It enables us to help the grower to make the best choice based on his or her specific situation, and subsequently to achieve the maximum return on their installation in the usage phase.”
The Hortilux specialists zoomed in on various topics including the pros and cons of LED, as well as those of HPS grow light and hybrid grow light systems. “While the investment required for LED grow light is higher than for HPS, this type of light enables you to make significant energy savings or to achieve a higher light intensity with the same amount of energy. LED also presents options for using a different light spectrum. This can, for example, contribute to better and more compact growth,” says Stéphane André, Hortilux Grow Light Performance Consultant. “We’re currently seeing many growers opting for a hybrid installation, a combination of HPS and LED. Growers often have HPS lighting already, but they still want to take advantage of the benefits that LED has to offer. In order to spread the cost of the investment, they begin by replacing a portion of their HPS lamps with LED. This also has the advantage that, with the new HORTILED® Top grow light systems Intense and Sirius, there’s no need to modify the installation.”
No standard recipe
It also became clear that there is no standard recipe for cultivation under LED. This was obvious both from André’s story and from the explanation given by Danish cultivation advisor Poul Erik Lund. “Whether you should choose a hybrid or LED-only system, and which spectrum and light intensity you should use, depends on a large number of factors,” André says. “It depends on the crop, for example – some crops can make good use of the radiant heat emitted by HPS – but also on things such as your cultivation goal, the amount of energy available, and the price of that energy. The price of electricity is rising in many countries, which shortens the payback period and makes investing in LED more and more appealing. This was also apparent from the questions that attendees asked: people can see the opportunities that LED grow light presents and are seeking additional information on the topic.”
The webinar made time for practical experiences too: Richard ter Laak of Ter Laak Orchids in Wateringen told us about his experiences with cultivating under LED. The Phalaenopsis business has both HPS and LED lamps in its daylight greenhouse, which was completed in 2018. “Back then we opted for a hybrid installation, because we wanted to achieve a higher light intensity but at the same time didn’t want to bring too much heat into the greenhouse,” Ter Laak says. “That meant that HPS on its own wasn’t an option, while LED-only was still too big an investment for us at the time. For that reason we looked at the limit for HPS lighting in each department, and then supplemented it with LEDs.”
The Phalaenopsis grower emphasises that the LED lighting has added value in a range of areas. “The lamps give off less heat, so the climate is slightly calmer. We’re also saving energy, and you’re more flexible when it comes to switching off. With LED this has less impact on the lifespan of the lamps, so you also have more flexibility with supplying power back to the grid. For these reasons – but also because LED presents more possibilities for optimising the light spectrum, the investment costs are falling, and LED is being optimised more and more – I predict a sharp increase. LED grow light is definitely the future.”
Both Hortilux and GreenTech can reflect on an extremely successful webinar. “As GreenTech, a few years ago we’d already expressed the ambition to share knowledge year-round, and not just during our regular event, GreenTech Live & Online, which will be held from 28 to 30 September,” says GreenTech director Mariska Dreschler. “By doing so, as a platform we want to maintain contact with our target group all year round and share knowledge in a neutral way, particularly knowledge on sustainable cultivation methods. Suppliers such as Hortilux play a key role in this. And the great thing about this webinar was that it took such a broad approach; the pros and cons and possibilities of LED were discussed in very general terms. It was also linked to practical use, which brought an extra dimension. In short: there was an optimal transfer of knowledge to the user, and on top of that, clear interaction with the participants. The chat was exploding with questions, which shows that there’s an enormous amount of interest in LED. As far as we’re concerned, this event makes it clear that there’s an appetite for more!”
Would you like to know more about successful cultivation with LED? You can view the webinar by using the form below. For more specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your Area Sales Manager and/or Hortilux’s Grow Light Performance Consultants, tel. 0174-286628 or email email@example.com.