Uman Greenhouse Complex recently had the honour of being one of the first Ukrainian horticulture businesses to use a hybrid grow light installation. Hortilux Schréder did not just supply the LED and HPS fixtures, they also drew up a tailored lighting plan for this prominent company. The initial results demonstrate that cucumber plants react positively to a combination of LED and HPS growth light.
Uman Greenhouse Complex is one of Ukraine’s leading growers of vegetables under glass. The company, which is situated in the Uman area about 200 kilometres south of the capital city Kiev, covers more than 30 hectares of land where cucumbers and tomatoes are grown. “Our company has three different locations, which are equipped according to the very latest cutting-edge standards,” says Nikolay Gordiy. He has been director of the company since its inception in 1974.
In order to maintain production and quality during the winter months, a greenhouse complex covering about 13 hectares has been furnished with grow lighting. Most of this consists of HPS grow lighting. At the end of 2020, Hortilux installed a hybrid grow light installation at the Talne location in a greenhouse complex covering a single hectare. This installation included a combination of LED and HPS fixtures. “We decided to invest in this area because we wanted to find out what effect a hybrid grow light system would have on a cucumber crop,” says Nikolay Gordiy. “If that turns out to be positive, it is likely that LED lighting can help to reduce energy costs. LED fixtures also produce less heat; this is an advantage during periods of warm weather. Furthermore, LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular. At Uman Greenhouse Complex, we find it important to move with market trends in order to maintain our position as market leader. We are looking for the most efficient and productive way to produce our vegetables.”
Lighting plan for optimum illumination
These entrepreneurs approached Hortilux to ask for advice on the best possible hybrid grow light installation for their situation. In 2018, Hortilux had already supplied HPS grow lighting for a greenhouse covering 4.1 hectares in Talne. “The advantage of Hortilux is that they supply both LED and HPS fixtures,” declares Nikolay Gordiy. “But, to us Hortilux is more than just a supplier of fixtures, I regard them more as knowledge partners. They sat down with us and made various calculations using different types of fixtures. They eventually came up with a lighting plan which provides optimum illumination.”
According to Vera Bouklakova, Area Export Sales Manager for Hortilux, the creation of optimum illumination presented quite a challenge. “The greenhouse in question is actually rather low. But we succeeded in the end. We decided to use NXt2 1000W fixtures along with the extremely energy-efficient HORTILED Top fixtures. The fixtures were required to deliver an average light level of 260 µmol/m2/s. In fact, the actual light level is much higher – it is 290 µmol/m2/s. That is almost 10% more.”
Further switch towards hybrid and/or LED lighting
The hybrid grow light system was installed in November and the cucumber plants were placed in the greenhouse in December. Nikolay Gordiy is now able to share the first results. “It is still too early to give detailed results, but we can see that the cucumber crop reacts just as well to the hybrid installation as it does to full-strength (100%) HPS light. That is an important development.”
If the following results are good, these entrepreneurs would like to gradually replace their HPS lighting with hybrid lighting in the coming years, or even switch completely to LED lighting. “It looks like LED lighting is the way forward. And the payback period for this type of fixture is becoming shorter, meaning that this type of lighting is becoming more affordable.”