Philips Hosts LED Lighting Event in Finland
On March 8 and 9, a group of 50 tomato growers, owners and consultants from nine countries participated in the third Philips High Wire Event organized by Philips Horticulture LED lighting to learn from each other.
Participants visited four greenhouse growers in Finland who are using LED grow lights to improve the yields, quality and cost-efficiency of their tomato crops in the northern climate.
“This year we traveled to Finland with its harsh winter climate of extremely cold temperatures and short daylight periods. This climate poses extreme challenges for greenhouse operations, and we can learn a lot from the growers who are using our LED grow lights in this environment,” said Udo van Slooten, manager of Philips Horticulture LED lighting. “This event presents a unique opportunity for people across the tomato community to learn more about applications in different climates and varieties.”
The tour began at Martin Sigg’s greenhouse in Närpes, Finland which moved to a 100 percent LED installation for his Merlice variety.
“I was proud to share our experiences using a combination of two lines of LED interlighting with LED toplighting with the visitors,” Sigg said. “This installation gives us much more freedom to achieve even higher light levels without the higher heat levels created by HPS lighting. It is the perfect solution for a lower greenhouse like ours.”
Sigg said that the crop looks very strong and generative and production has exceeded his expectations so far. Growing under LEDs allows him to maintain a good balance and openness, which is crucial for scaling up to higher stem density at the right moment, Philips said.
Stefan Gulin from the Gulin Oy Ab nursery grows Encore tomatoes and increased his yields by 20 percent in an LED interlighting trial. That’s when he decided to expand the LED area to an entire climate area using a combination of HPS and two lines of LED interlighting. The tour also stopped at the Stig-Erik Vikars nursery, which is using a combination of HPS and LED interlighting to improve the quality and yields of its Encore tomatoes. Another example of the HPS and LED interlighting combination was also shown at the nursery of Johan Lassander Oy Ab. With this installation they have achieved year-round tomatoes for the Sassari cherry tomato variety.
“Our customers were inspired and got a deep understanding by discussing experiences and ways of working with peer growers and crop consultants. This often leads to new insights, and inspires new strategies for growing using LED lighting,” van Slooten said.
One participant said, “This is really like the G7 for tomato growers.”