LED lighting system boosts vegetative growth

An LED lighting control system being used in Finland to grow cucumbers and tomatoes was introduced at Horti Fair by Finnish product developer Netled.

Project manager Niko Kivioja said: "We showed the LED curtains last year, but this allows growers to increase the blue and dim the red to promote vegetative growth, whereas red light promotes generative growth. They might want blue light in the morning and red later in the day."

The curtains, which increase plant growing efficiency, have LED strips from Osram on alternating sides and can be strung between crop rows. Because they emit virtually no heat, they can be close to the crop, ensuring even light coverage, Kivioja added.

"We are trialling multi-tier lettuce growing and seed germination," he said. "Cucumbers can use 18 to 20 hours of light a day and they will grow twice as fast with this."

On the LED market in horticulture, Kivioja said: "Philips has a huge budget, but there is plenty of room for other firms. We used to be tomato growers ourselves, so we understand the needs of the crop.

"The technology is getting more efficient all the time, and commercial investments are growing."

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