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Sklarczyk Seed Farm:
Also seed potatoes benefit from LED lightingSklarczyk Seed Farms is a family-run potato farm established in 1942 in Johannesburg, Michigan. They grow high-quality seed potatoes in their greenhouse and recently installed innovative LED lighting in order to strengthen their competitive position in an increasingly progressive market.
The Sklarczyk Family in their seed potato greenhouse
In the 1980’s, Sklarczyk Seed Farms (SSF) helped lead innovations in the utilization of tissue culture for seed potato production. By the 90’s, their greenhouses were converted to hydroponic potato production. Always leveraging new technology and methods to keep their quality above the rest, SSF has garnered a myriad of awards in the potato seed industry. SSF continues to meet increasing demand by producing over 6 million seed potatoes a year.
The ChallengeSklarczyk Seed Farms began researching the use of more innovative lighting strategies after they saw 10% yield losses in their indeterminate varieties when comparing HPS lighting to their standard production without supplemental lighting. “We wanted an energy-efficient solution that was inexpensive to install, while providing sufficient light output to extend our growth period to match the longest days of the year.” explains Ben Sklarczyk, Owner of Sklarczyk Seed Farm.
The SolutionLumiGrow Lighting Specialist, Ashley Veach worked with Ben to put together a custom light plan. “First we determined optimal light levels for their seed potato production and addressed Sklarczyk’s light variability objectives.” said Ashley. LumiGrow then worked with Sklarczyk Seed Farms to design a crop-specific light plan and determine rebate eligibility.
“I then consulted other growers who had used LumiGrow lights and heard nothing but great things about your customer service.” exclaimed Ben Sklarczyk. “We were eligible for a utility rebate that saved us over $100 per fixture by choosing to go with LumiGrow, not to mention the energy savings compared to HPS. To top that, the controllability of the fixtures would allow us to further reduce electrical loads during the end of the day, when supplemental lighting doesn’t need to be as intense. In the end, it was really an easy choice.”
The BenefitsLumiGrow offered SSF several benefits, not all of them foreseen. When building out a new greenhouse, Ben realized that the lower electrical draw of the LumiGrow LED fixtures meant that less wiring had to be installed. Instead of 4 HPS fixtures per circuit, the electrician could put up to 6 LumiGrow fixtures on each circuit. Due to the lower electrical draw, the new greenhouse did not require their facility to upgrade their power supply, which is an expensive process. “The low power consumption of LumiGrow fixtures saved us some significant capital right off the bat by minimizing greenhouse electrical infrastructure upgrade costs.” said Ben.
Since the installation, SSF has continued to benefit from LumiGrow LEDs in new ways. By using spectral strategies enabled by LumiGrow’s tunable spectrum and increasing the ratio of blue light, SSF has observed optimal vegetative growth among their plants and boosts in quality. LumiGrow continues to be helpful in assisting Sklarczyk Seed Farms with their lighting strategies and lighting research.
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Publication date: 3/10/2017
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