'Where in recent years vertical farming enthusiasts have perhaps been mainly qualified as hipsters with a rather expensive hobby, this new branch of horticultural sport is steadily on the rise and traditional growers are also finding their way to the multi-layer installations.'
They see opportunities in using techniques from vertical cultivation, for example in propagation. “It is not just about improving the quality of the young plants, but above all about the controllability of the cultivation, and thus the speed and quality,” says Koen with Mechatronix.
"How much far-red light plants need, changes during the season and even during the day," says Koen of MechaTronix. Lighting with an adjustable partial spectrum allows for this kind of control: the standard spectrum remains the same and the intensity of red and far-red light can be adjusted. "You only have dynamically what you want to have dynamically.” We expect that all lighting will be dynamic eventually.
Football club VVV Venlo chooses the new approach in sports field lighting with the lamps from Stogger. Hi Sports provides the experience and knowledge to make the turf in the stadium stronger.
Cucumber grower Verbaarschot expands with 4 hectares "Year-round cucumber cultivation will become the new normal"
Year-round cucumber cultivation is on the rise. This is also the case at Dutch grower Ties Verbaarschot. He expanded by 40,000m² this winter after taking over a greenhouse from a neighbour across the street. Verbaarschot is one of no fewer than seven growers who invested in new or adapted greenhouses with a high light level before the winter of 2020-2021. In total, roughly 160,000 m² of cultivation expansion. This makes it clear that Dutch and Belgian cucumber growers have determined their strategy for the coming years. "Year round cucumber cultivation will become the new normal," they expect.
Bromeliad is a tropical crop that’s grown in the Netherlands at relatively low temperature (21˚C in winter), receiving supplemental lighting with only ±40 µmol/m²/s SON-T. A recent study has shown that more light provides significantly more growth, while a higher temperature hardly has an effect. Doubling the intensity of the lighting hardly has an impact on electricity cost with LED.
Tom Lefevre replaces part of SON-T lamps with LEDs ‘In spring I can still light with high power for a long time’
After having fitted a part with LED lamps at first, Merksplas-based Hortipower kicks off the lit tomato season with a full hybrid lighting installation. With the dimming function, the growers are even better able to control the climate and thus guarantee their product stability.
Growers, researchers and lighting suppliers agree, far-red is the 'x-factor', but when this x-factor should be deployed, that is a different story.
At the Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt (testing station for vegetable cultivation) in the Belgian town Sint-Katelijne-Waver, they are conducting research into high-wire cucumber cultivation with both full led and hybrid lighting in various spectra. One thing is sure: the light recipe for the tomato is not sufficient for an optimal production of the fresh green fruits.
For many years by now the cucumbers at Van Gog Kwekerijen have been growing under SON-T lightings. Recently 5 ha of the Dutch greenhouse was enriched with additional LED-lights, making it one of the first commercial, large-scale cucumber crops with a hybrid installation.
Switching to LED lighting is a big, expensive decision. It's, however, worth the investment, according to MechaTronix's Patrick Casteleyn. "Investing in LED lighting is a sustainable choice," he explains. "It contributes enormously to reducing growers' environmental footprint, certainly in the long run."
Tomeco is the collaborative effort of several experienced Belgian family-run businesses to grow the best possible specialty tomatoes with the utmost respect for nature and the environment. Within the Tomeco group, the growers share their experience, values and vision: to deliver a sustainable and customer-oriented high quality product.
MechaTronix becomes LED grow light technology partner for the AGROS program by the Wageningen Research University (WUR)
Society has become more critical of the greenhouse horticulture, arable farming and dairy industries and demands change, but the current farming systems can only meet this demand to a limited extent. The way forward will involve a transition to a healthier and more resilient agricultural and horticultural system. In the new AGROS programme, we are investigating how technology can help with this transition.
It's time to put the spotlight on the strawberry - and not just the spotlight but also the HPS and the LED lights. Following tomato growers, more and more strawberry growers opt for year round production of the red fruits. According to Koen Vangorp with Mechatronix, it is both the favorable market conditions as well as the lowered cost price that makes LED lit cultivation interesting to growers.
Compact and extremely powerful – that is in a few words what the CoolStack® LED grow lights stand for.
While the efficiency and technology of HPS SON-T grow lights has stabilized over years, the efficiency of LED grow lights moves up every year.
Just a few years ago we could still discuss if LED grow lights would offer a major advantage over the well-known and proven technology of HPS SON-T lamps.
Today it is clear that the future of horti assimilation lighting is completely turning in the direction of LED technology.
On the innovation square of the Aardbeien Demodag in Egchel we saw some advanced novelties from companies active in grow lights and water hygiene.
For the second year in a row, Proefcentrum Hoogstraten is executing tests with lighting for bell peppers. This season, harvest was extra early, last Wednesday January 8 to be precise. Roel Vanderbruggen, manager at the test center: "Normally, the first harvest is in March or April."