McGill University bioresource engineer Mark Lefsrud said it’s time to take plant research and production to a higher level with LEDs.
Taking LEDs to the next level
Much of the research that has been done with LEDs for the last 50 years has been conducted with low light levels.
“The biggest research area right now is with LEDs at high intensities of light,” said Mark Lefsrud, associate professor in the Bioresource Engineering Department at McGill University in Quebec, Canada. “We have to get into high intensity lighting studies to truly understand what is happening in plants. NASA has done some preliminary work with high intensity LEDs, but we have taken the research further.
“No one grows plants at 150 micromoles. Plants are usually grown at 300 micromoles and higher. We have gone well above 1,500 micromoles and in some of our LED tests, we have gone as high as 5,000 micromoles. The plants start responding to what I consider to be more normal field type conditions.”
Hort Americas offers a variety of LED light fixtures for both propagation and production applications.
GE Arize Lynkproduces the light intensity needed for typical indoor growing applications, including growth chambers and rooms, greenhouses, hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic facilities and vertical farms. Available in 4- and 8-foot LED light bars, the fixtures are easily installed and can be daisy-chained from end to end to reduce costs and time. Arize Lynk is a LED system designed to facilitate indoor farming by providing the most suitable spectrum of light in a uniform pattern for even plant growth. The fixtures can operate in a temperature range of 32°F to +104°F.
GE Arize Lifeis a LED replacement for fluorescent lights used in tissue culture labs or in growth chambers. Available in 2-, 4- and 8-foot light bars, these lights offer all of the LED advantages of longer life, energy savings and lower maintenance. The lights can be daisy-chained end to end making installation easier and faster. The fixtures can operate in a temperature range of 32°F to +104°F.
Philips GreenPower LED toplighting offers greenhouse growers great efficiency. Whether growing bedding plants, ornamentals, perennials, young plants, unrooted cuttings, herbs, or high-wire vegetables, Philips LED toplighting offers the right levels of red, far red, and blue that support quality growth. The lights are available in a variety of spectrums to support optimal plant growth. These LEDs last more than twice as long as conventional horticultural lighting and have a lifetime of 25,000 hours at 90 percent of output.
P.L. Light Systems HortiLED TOP is available in multiple distribution (80º and 150º) and spectral options. It is engineered to deliver lighting performance on par with that of traditional light sources. HortiLED TOP has an easy plug-and-use platform, intuitive mounting and multiple voltage options that allow for quick installation or retrofitting.
The Sharp Linear Interlighting LED Fixture promotes plant growth and flowering through the use of horizontal lighting to areas of plants that don’t receive adequate light from natural sun light or top lighting systems. This high efficient, 8-foot lamp is easy to install for interlighting connection between fixtures. Its slim design ensures no additional shadowing on the plants.
The energy-efficient fixture uses up to 80 percent less energy than standard high pressure sodium lamps. With its reduced heat generation, the fixtures can be situated close to the plants for optimal light conditions.
Philips GreenPower LED interlighting modules make it is possible to provide light between the plants without unwanted heat generation. This enables all the plants to be lit at the points where they gain most benefit. Adding GreenPower LED interlighting to toplighting creates a flexible lighting system that provides optimum control over the plants. A grower can decide how to use light to respond best to plant and climate conditions and the plant load.
P.L. Light Systems HortiLED INTER provides symmetrical light distribution to deliver light uniformity across the surface of the leaves throughout the canopy. An external driver module powers up to eight HortiLED INTER fixtures and allows for easy in-field replacement if required.
U.S. organic industry sets record sales in 2015
The U.S. organic industry saw new records in 2015, with total organic product sales reaching a new high of $43.3 billion. Sales for 2015 were up 11 percent from the previous year’s record level. Over half of all households in the U.S. now purchase organic produce.
The Organic Trade Association’s 2016 Organic Industry Survey reports organic fruits and vegetables retained their longstanding position as the largest of all the major organic categories with sales of $14.4 billion, up 10.5 percent. Almost 13 percent of the produce sold in the U.S. is now organic.
The organic industry saw its largest annual dollar gain ever in 2015, adding $4.2 billion in sales, up from the $3.9 billion in new sales in 2014. Of the $43.3 billion in total organic sales, $39.7 billion were organic food sales, up 11 percent from the previous year, and non-food organic products accounted for $3.6 billion, up 13 percent. Nearly 5 percent of all the food sold in the U.S. in 2015 was organic.
Fresh organic produce sales in the U.S. reached $13 billion in 2015. This $13-billion market includes $5.7 billion worth of organic produce sold in the mass market (supermarkets, big box stores and warehouse clubs), $4.7 billion sold by specialty and natural retailers and $2.7 billion in direct sales (farmers markets, CSAs and online).
Read Urban Ag News Issue 14
We are proud to be a sponsor of Urban Ag News. There are great articles in their latest online magazine issue including cover story looks at Kimbal Musk’s “community through food” philosophy. Kimbal co-founded The Kitchen restaurants to serve food and drink from local farmers, ranchers and suppliers for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community. Kimbal also helped co-found the Learning Gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms and experiential play-spaces that connect kids to real food and empower them to make healthier food choices.