- VP Growing Operations
- Head Grower Strawberries, Australia
- Growing Manager for Hydroponic strawberry producer
- Farm Manager Costa Rica
- Regional Sales Manager Fresh Produce
- Head Grower Strawberries, Norway
- Export Trade Manager
- Business Developer - Northern Europe
- Orchard Sector Manager
US: Happy, tasty lettuce at VEG-E Systems thanks to LED Lights
“HPS, metal halide, T5, induction, LED … we tested everything,” says Dennis Riling, VEG-E Systems Founder and CEO. “Illumitex compared well. Very well.”
A former conventional farmer who took a close look at the agriculture industry and decided hydroponics was the way of the future, Riling is passionate about both horticulture and technology.
And when it came time to build his own indoor growing company, he knew he had to do the research and analyse the data.
In comparing Illumitex Eclipse LED grow lights with the others, Riling and his team evaluated numerous economic factors, including startup costs, energy usage, bulb replacement, cooling costs and more.
“Clearly, the long-term play is LEDs,” he says. “We’re seeing an overall reduction in energy costs. We’re calculating heat and we see we can reduce AC usage because we’re switching from T5 to LEDs.”
Like any entrepreneur, Riling is interested in the payback he’ll get from LED lights as he expands his operations. He’s looking at economic viability and he’s proving the cost out. He’s wondering how long it will take to get his money back. “What’s the most economical way we can possibly build the system?” is among the many questions he asked himself and his associates as they conducted their R&D.
“We can see night and day that the Illumitex LEDs are better, ” he determined.
In addition to looking at the economics of switching to LEDs, VEG-E Systems also is comparing biomass production and nutritional content of the greens they are growing.
“We’ve seen higher yields from the Illumitex lights, “ says Riling. “We’re seeing heads of red butter lettuce that are more than twice as large as what we get under other lights. In the same time frame.”
Better quality food with a higher nutritional content is important to the company. “We might be able to produce a cheaper head of lettuce, but at the end of the day, we also want to produce the most nutrient-dense product,” says Riling. “That’s important to our customers. We’ve seen a quality difference in our plants, and we think our customers are willing to pay for a higher-nutrient plant.”
Appearance is important to consumers, too. “The darkness of our red butter is way better” under Illumitex lights, Riling says. “We can see noticeable difference in cuticle thickness.”
As the young company’s extensive R&D phase wraps up, VEG-E Systems eagerly looks forward to an ambitious expansion, with more distributors for their “Doylestown Fresh” produce line and more growing facilities in other communities.
“We’re doing the R&D so that we can scale our growing operations in other areas,” says Riling. “For example, we don’t want to just ship lettuce into Philadelphia; we want to provide jobs there, too.”
Riling’s enthusiasm for his work is apparent. “At the end of the day, we’re growers. We want to grow the best product we can,” he says.
Illumitex is pleased to help VEG-E Systems do just that. We only wish Austin, TX, were a little closer to Doylestown, PA, so we could sample the delicious fruits of our lights a little more often.
For more information:
6301 E. Stassney Lane
Building 6, Suite 400
Austin, TX 78744
T: +1 512.279.5020 (Main)
T: +1 512.279.5036 (Sales)
F: +1 512.279.5030
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