Signify is set to provide Kwekerij Loos with 2.1 hectares of LED lighting this autumn. At its sites in Moerstraten and Lepelstraat – both located in North Brabant – the grower has opted for Philips GreenPower LED toplighting compact in combination with flowering lamps. With this investment, the nursery is switching over to a full LED installation in less than a year, enabling it to achieve energy savings of around 40%. It already made the partial switch to LED lighting last year, which has been a success. With the current high energy prices, the Brabant-based company didn't need long to decide whether to take the next step.
With this investment in grow lights, Kwekerij Loos is consolidating its position in the market. "You have growers who want to be on the market early, and you have growers who want to supply all year round," says owner Arno Loos. He himself falls into the latter category, making him one of the few year-round strawberry growers in the Netherlands. "We sell large quantities of strawberries via machines," he explains. "This is something we do in sixteen different locations in cities and hospitals."
Major boost to light output
As a supplier, it's important to have these machines filled. As a result, in 2005, Kwekerij Loos decided to focus on year-round production, making the company one of the pioneers in strawberry cultivation. At the time, it was still done entirely with the aid of SON-T lighting. Over fifteen years later, together with Signify, Kwekerij Loos has made the switch to Philips LED in one cultivation area. "In this greenhouse, covering 9,000 square meters, we had a much lower light output. That meant we were able to take an important step in the right direction by introducing Philips LED, all the while saving energy at the same time."
In the other cultivation compartments, Kwekerij Loos already had a higher light output. "With the current energy prices, you start looking at how you can make your cultivation practices as efficient as possible," says Loos. "You'll quickly discover that LED lighting is the best solution. In our case, we will be making energy savings of around 40% compared to our previous set-up. If current energy prices persist, which is of course not to be hoped for, we can recoup our investment in three to four years."
The optimum light for strawberry plants
At both cultivation sites, Kwekerij Loos has chosen a configuration using Philips GreenPower Toplighting compact and flowering lamps. The company is pleased with this combination: "The plants grow more easily," says Loos. "We were also looking for a light spectrum with more far-red and some green light. The addition of far-red light to the customary red/blue spectrum encourages the elongation of petioles and trusses in the winter period. With the new FR_5 spectrum, we're able to achieve an optimum light level for strawberry plants. In those moments when we don't need any far-red light, we can switch off these lamps."
This enables Loos to have better control, achieve crop uniformity, and save energy. A major benefit, according to Peer Hermans, Plant Specialist at Signify, is that the new lamps are easy to install. "In that regard, Philips GreenPower Toplighting compact is a 1-to-1 replacement of SON-T. One difference is that LED barely creates any radiant heat. In certain periods of the year, this is a major benefit, but at other times it also poses a challenge." Last winter, the quality of Kwekerij Loos's product was very good, giving them the confidence to make the switch to LED completely.
Increasing the light level and production
With the same quantity of lamps, Kwekerij Loos will be raising the light level from 195 to 220 µmol per square meter. "We anticipate an increase in production, but how much remains to be seen," says Loos. Altogether, 2.1 hectares of greenhouses will be fitted with the LED lights in September or October by installation partner Hortipar. Signify was the logical choice for Kwekerij Loos. "Signify is a reliable partner with a proven track record. Following an initial successful installation, we have complete trust in the company. The options and color spectrum offered by Signify are an excellent fit for us."