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Orchids and lettuce flourish in Taiwan

Sun Sing Garden is an innovative nursery in Chiayi County, Taiwan and a leading supplier of oncidium and butterfly orchids to local and international markets. The company has a reputation for growing fresh, premium quality young, medium and mature oncidium plants, as well as potted flowers and cut flowers.

To increase its competitive position in the future, Sun Sing is diversifying into new businesses. After years of preparation, it began growing lettuce in 2017 to meet the demand for fresh, locally grown produce at high-end supermarkets.

Taiwan’s subtropical climate presents challenges to growing orchids and lettuce. The oncidium flowering process is triggered by low temperatures, meaning the Taiwanese greenhouse climate is too warm to induce flowering in a controllable way. Sun Sing moves the oncidium seedlings into a closed cooling room to induce flowering. This environment requires artificial grow lights that are energy efficient, provide high light output and radiate very little heat.

The new lettuce venture was interesting for Sun Sing, because Taiwan relies on imports to meet local demand. The company hoped to use advanced LED technology to grow lettuce seedlings in a multi-layer closed environment. This would provide more control over production and improve the quality of the seedlings to be grown in the greenhouse.

Tseng Ming Chin, General Manager of Sun Sing, is Secretary General of the Taiwan Oncidium Association and has 22 years of experience in oncidium cultivation. After meeting with Philips Lighting representatives at trade shows, with Philips Lighting partner Tsing Hua Environmental Protection Co. Ltd. (Pest Control), and with Plant Specialist Dr. Dai Jianfeng, he decided to trial the Philips GreenPower LED toplighting module for oncidium production.

The oncidium trials lasted three to four years. Different Philips LED light recipes were tested and successfully triggered the flowering process, which is impossible in Sun Sing’s temperate greenhouses. The company went on to trial Philips GreenPower LED production modules on multi-layer lettuce seedlings for two years. Based on the excellent results, Sun Sing implemented Philips GreenPower LED production modules with two light recipes above seven layers of lettuce seedlings in September 2017.

The leaf length, leaf width, red coloration and flavor of the seedlings have improved. Production is more efficient with high germination rates, seedling rates and a high rate of strong seedlings. Energy consumption has been significantly reduced. Better production control and a more stable production cycle have boosted productivity and ensured consistent supply of product.

Mr. Tseng said, "The Philips LED light recipes delivered the desired results. We are very satisfied with the better red coloration, higher quality, more stable production cycle and more efficient utilization of production resources in multi-layer lettuce seedling growing." He added, "A consistent supply of high-quality lettuce is key to our business success. Philips LED meets the demand and places us in an advantageous market position."
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Publication date: 1/26/2018



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