LED lighting grows bigger, better strawberriesTuesday 23 June 2020
University trials that set out to prove the benefits of LED lighting in strawberry cultivation have proven successful, with findings demonstrating that strawberry plants subjected to specific configurations of LEDs produce a better yield and a higher crop quality.
Tungsram, a lighting technology group based in Budapest, Hungary, teamed up with the University of Reading to understand better how LED lighting could be beneficial in strawberry cultivation, with a particular focus on out-of-season greenhouse crops.
The trial aimed to compare the difference between growth, crop yield and quality of a commercially grown strawberry under LED lighting configurations with four different spectral distributions, as well as how the plants performed under different lighting methods such as high-pressure sodium lamps.
Strawberry plants were grown in four individual greenhouse compartments, set up to resemble commercial conditions. Each compartment benefited from an LED lighting setup with a different spectral distribution, which ran for 16 hours a day.
The results of the trial showed that all of the LED lighting treatments produced strawberries with higher average weights than both the natural and high-pressure sodium lighting. In addition, the yield of class 1 (good quality) fruit was much higher than the plants grown under natural light.
Keith Thomas, Commercial Leader of Tungsram, said “In addition to better yield and higher crop quality, the most immediate benefit of using LED is to reduce the amount of power that is being used for plant cultivation. The results of the experiment showed that energy consumption dropped by 40-50% in some cases.”
The trial is set to undergo a second phase with some test parameters changed in order to greater understand the potential benefits.
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