With energy prices spiking and profits under pressure, growers need to press every possible advantage to drive their business forward. The placement of supplemental lighting within the canopy is one potential avenue that is yet to be seriously explored. Current has worked with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) – one of the world’s foremost horticultural research institutes – to change this, investigating how growers can use intra-canopy lighting to boost yields without increasing their energy use. And the results were surprising.
Dividing your supplemental lighting output between LED top lighting and ICL directs more light energy away from often-oversaturated, young leaves at the top, to the larger, more established leaves, with higher photosynthetic capacity, found deep within the canopy. More efficient photosynthesis leads to increased growth or biomass vs energy delivered. In this study, WUR compared 100% top lighting (TL) with a 66:34 TL:ICL split, with the same amount of energy used for lighting across both treatments.
By lowering the intensity of your top lighting and applying 34% of your daily light integral (DLI) to deep within the canopy, your day-to-day running costs for supplemental lighting remain unchanged vs 100% TL, but deliver greater returns and profitability to the business.
With a 14% average increase in yields recorded across the two popular tomato cultivars tested, the TL/ICL combination also proved to maintain the quality of fruit produced, with no noticeable differences in Brix values for sugar content or levels of acidity compared to the 100% TL yield.
To learn more about how ICL delivered double-digit growth in vine tomato yields, download the free research findings booklet at: arizegrow.com/integral
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