Tomato growers find success with 100 per cent LED lighting

UK tomato growers APS salads and Flavour Fresh have experienced increase yields and product quality during year-long trials of Philips LED lighting.

Image: HW
Image: HW

At APS' Wight Salads site on the Isle of Wight, it uses horticultural LED lighting with Philips GreenPower toplights and a double row of interlighting in place of a hybrid lighting system.

Group development director Phil Pearson said: "Before with the hybrid HPS/LED system, we couldn't achieve consistent crops at an affordable cost, and we were also producing too much heat via HPS lighting in the winter.

"However, after 12 months with 100 per cent LED, we are growing consistent quality tomatoes right through the winter that taste as good as mid-summer ones. Furthermore, we are using two-thirds less power compared to when we were running HPS-lit greenhouses. The new more sustainable system will have paid for itself within three years."

Lancashire-based Flavour Fresh Solfresh Group previously used only natural light to grow their tomato crops before moving to horticultural LED lighting, which now enables it to grow year-round. Its production manager Andy Roe said: "The lighting and heating work hand in hand to reduce the need for ventilation and in turn, this reduces the total energy requirement by up to 35 per cent which is a win-win situation for the environment."

Flavour Fresh is expecting an increase in yield of its tomato crop using the LED technology of around 30 per cent.

Philips Lighting's horticulture business leader Udo van Slooten said: "APS Salads and Flavour Fresh are a testament to how 100 per cent LED light can bring reliability of yield and taste all year round, removing the black cloud of unpredictable weather throughout the seasons that can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line."

Both systems were installed by glasshouse specialist Cambridge HOK.

  • News from today's Tomato Conference in next week's Horticulture Week magazine.

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