How to choose fluorescent grow lights for your farm

Fluorescent grow lights can be an inexpensive lighting option for a small farm operation, but not every fluorescent light is the same. If you’re not using the right kind, you won’t have enough light to grow.

When should you use fluorescent grow lights?
Most large-scale and commercial operations use LED lights because they last longer and emit more light. Fluorescent bulbs are also more fragile, meaning a farmer can incur additional labor costs to maintain them, and that may not be worth the time or money.

However, small-scale or hobby farmers may find fluorescent lights to be an economical choice, especially for low-light plants or plants at a low-light stage of development.

As you scale up in size, make sure fluorescents still make sense cost-wise. “If you’re doing a commercial operation, I’d look at the economics really, really closely before I committed to fluorescent,” says Dr. Nate Storey.

To make the best economic decision about lighting for your farm, compare both the capital and operational expenses of your lighting options over time. Don’t forget to factor in replacement and heat-removal costs! Another option to consider is LED light bars.

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