LumiGrow, Inc. helps greenhouse growers produce more vigorous and marketable plants, extend the growing season and decrease time to harvest without increasing square footage. The greenhouse supplemental lighting market continues to increase steadily, and savvy growers have learned that LEDs cost the same to install as other lights while keeping electricity costs much lower than the alternatives.
For growers in the know, LumiGrow is the number one name in supplemental LED lighting. In a recent survey, greenhouse growers ranked LumiGrow the top LED-focused horticultural lighting company in reliability, affordability, innovation and quality. LumiGrow was the only company with a dedicated focus on spectrum control to rank that high.
It's not just surveys — LumiGrow gets results in the real world. Roth Fresh Farms in Boscobel, Wisconsin; Barnes Greenhouses in Dunkirk, New York; and Patterson Greenhouses in Broadway, North Carolina, are just three LumiGrow customers that have found a solution to their lighting challenges using supplemental LEDs in their greenhouse operations.
Roth Fresh Farms is dedicated to growing the highest-quality produce as organically as possible without using chemicals like pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and is one of an increasing number of growers using aquaponics to produce crops. Aquaponics brings together aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soilless plant culture) in a mutually beneficial system where fish provide the nutrients plants need and the plants help purify the water fish live in. In 2014, the Wisconsin company realized it needed to increase its output to keep up with demand and determined supplemental lighting was needed. After researching the options, Roth Fresh Farms installed LumiGrow Pro 325 fixtures for supplemental LED lighting for crops such as lettuce, basil and swiss chard in its large two-bay greenhouse. With the ability to steer plant growth without the use of chemical hormones, while using dramatically less energy than other forms of lighting, LEDs make a great fit for this sustainable ecosystem.
"As more greenhouse growers are recognizing the edge that LumiGrow supplemental lighting gives them, we are seeing order volumes rapidly increase among growers who've never used light before," said Neil Coppinger, Vice President of Sales, LumiGrow. "Many of these growers thought they couldn't afford LED lights. They're surprised to see how quickly LumiGrow pays for itself in improved yields and greater marketability, all at a price tag that is now on a par with HPS (high pressure sodium) lights – especially when installation costs are taken into account."
A more traditional greenhouse operation faced the challenge of increased outsourcing costs and looked to LumiGrow to help eliminate this issue. Barnes Greenhouses installed supplemental LEDs in their greenhouse in 2012. During the previous year, the company had to outsource 100,000 cuttings to a Central American supplier to meet customer demand.
A wholesale supplier of liners and plugs, including Vinca and vernalized perennials, Barnes Greenhouses found that approximately three plants per plug weren't measuring up. Weak stems, extended internode length and lack of color post transplant were all caused by lack of light. While this may seem strange for a greenhouse operation, up to 50 percent of sunlight can be blocked by building infrastructure alone. Having never used supplemental lighting before, third-generation grower Jarratt Turnstall did some research before selecting the kind of lighting to use in his nearly 100-year-old business.
"Installing HPS lights was never really an option due to high electrical costs," said Turnstall, Barnes Greenhouses Vice President. "My operating margins don't support energy-wasting lights."
Beyond the well-known benefit of low energy costs, LEDs were also attractive to Turnstall for ease of installation and compact hardware size that allows more sunlight in. Barnes Greenhouses has had a 100 percent rooting success rate of Vinca cuttings since the company began using LumiGrow products. Accelerated growth rates are another benefit with, for example, Geranium rooting time cut from at least two weeks to ten days, a 28 percent gain in productivity.
However, it's not just growers in northern regions like Wisconsin or New York who need to give the sun a little help. Growers in more southerly latitudes, that experience high summer temperatures, typically don't use HPS lights due to their high heat output, are finding a production-boosting solution in LumiGrow LED lights.
"If you average the amount of sunshine we receive each winter, it seems like we shouldn't require extra light," said Ryan Patterson, Owner of Patterson Greenhouses and President of the North Carolina Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association. "If we have three cloudy days in a row, though, the plants don't get what they need so they don't grow as big or as fast."
Newly installed in December 2014, one third of Patterson's tomato crop currently benefits from LumiGrow LED supplemental lighting. The 700 plants soaking up the extra rays are growing faster than those using sunlight alone.
The spectral control enabled by LumiGrow lighting also allowed Patterson Greenhouses to use light to encourage plant growth towards the vegetative or reproductive states. For instance, during the early stages of tomato growth when thicker stalks are desirable, the plants under supplemental lighting were .63 inches in diameter wider than those that didn't receive extra light — a clear indication of their superior vigor.
The versatile and tunable LumiGrow solution provides optimal supplemental lighting for the full range of growing environments and crops.
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