UK tomato industry plays leading role in adaptation of LEDs

During the 2014 British Tomato Conference that was held in Kenilworth last month, Philips' Udo van Slooten gave the UK tomato growers an update on the worldwide developments of Philips LEDs in horticulture. Over the past year, Philips has been involved in some remarkable commercial installations of LEDs, and according to Van Slooten's presentation, more interesting projects will be launched in the coming year. “LEDs have the power to radically develop year round greenhouse production in Britain", Van Slooten said.

During his presentation, Udo van Slooten of Philips shared the results of the cultivation with LEDs at Jami in Holland. Also here the grower and marketeer are very satisfied with the LEDs' as the quality of the crop is outstanding.

Over the past year some major growers in Britain have invested in LEDs to explore the possibilities of year round production. Van Slooten expressed his admiration for the UK tomato growers that are eager to adapt Philips innovative LEDs solutions; Since 2013, British growers like APS Salads and Flavourfresh Salads have been working with the Philips LED Horticulture team and their UK certified partner Cambridge HOK to work on some impressive LED greenhouse projects. At APS Salads Philips Interlighting Modules are used for the year round cultivation cocktail tomato variety “Temptation”. Flavourfresh Salads was the first 100% LED trial in the UK, utilising Philips GreenPower LED interlighting and Philips GreenPower LED top lighting.

Philips' latest LED toplighting solutions are now also seriously considered for installments at commercial growers. And again the UK tomato industry is playing a leading role in the adaptation of this technology; North Yorkshire Applied Research provider Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) is currently raising on one of its glasshouses to create a new, state of the art research facility to examine the effects of different LED lights on long season crops such as tomato. In this new trial setting, Philips and STC will study the combination of Interlighting and Toplighting with LED modules. “During research, the most important factor is to understand the effect of light recipes as well as finding the right solution for commercial utilization.” According to Van Slooten, the new project at STC is an excellent example of strengthening forces to achieve optimal results and taking the industry to the next level.

“What we have learned in Britain and other countries, is that seeing is believing; and after obtaining amazing results and lots of interest from growers, we are starting with many new projects in the near future".

As an example, Van Slooten mentioned Dutch roma tomato grower Wim Peters. In 2013, Phillips and B-E De Lier installed a total of 7998 modules measuring 2.5 meters in length over an area of 3.2 hectares. That is equivalent to 20 kilometres of LED lighting. After using the LEDs for the first year, grower Wim Peters was so enthusiastic about the first results, that he opted for doubling the acreage with LEDs!

Van Slooten gave an overview of the running projects all over Europe, North-America and Asia. He revealed that Philips will start several new projects over next year as well.

LED projects announced by Philips are Dutch grower Van der Kaaij in Berlikum, Belgian grower Luc Coghe in Ardooie, French growers Tomwest and Jardin de Rabelais and the Finish growers Martin Sigg and Stefan Gulin. We will keep you posted about these projects.

For more information
Philips Lighting Horticulture LED Solutions
Marjan Welvaarts, Global MarCom Manager
High Tech Campus 45, Ground Floor
PO Box 80020
5600 JM Eindhoven
The Netherlands
C: (+31) 06-1504 3893
T: (+31) 040-275 6499

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