Greenhouse strawberry production around the world is on the rise. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of food production and are looking for alternatives to imported, chemical treated strawberries that may be harvested before peak maturity.
– Whereas the radiant heat from HPS lights is often welcomed by vine crop growers in Canada, this heat can be detrimental to strawberry crops which prefer cooler temperatures. Because of this, growers can only use subpar light levels for strawberry production under HPS.
– Since LEDs produce less radiant heat, growers can apply much higher levels of light, achieving high yields without stressing the plants.
– There is a lot of unknown in greenhouse strawberries as most growers are still working out exactly how to manage the greenhouse environment for this novel crop – fully dynamic LED lighting allows growers to adapt their light parameters according to newfound knowledge, rather than be restricted by their lights.
• Studies are showing that cultivars have variable responses to lighting conditions – what works for Albion may not work for Harmony, for example.
• Fully dynamic lighting allows growers to apply the best lighting parameters to each cultivar rather than attempting to find a happy medium.
– We’ve learned that the first stretch of stems and flowering clusters is critical for ensuring proper airflow in the canopy, thereby reducing the proliferation of fungal pathogens, and facilitating scouting.
• With far-red light, greenhouse growers can boost stem elongation early on, then remove far-red once adequate stretching is achieved. Alternatively, growers can also keep far-red on during the winter months when low ambient light levels would otherwise limit flowering.
– Fully dynamic lighting may prove useful for managing greenhouse pathogens, with multiple studies indicating that pathogens respond to different light conditions.
• Currently under study: which night interruption techniques, if any, can help greenhouse strawberry growers mitigate damage by powdery mildew?
– Powdery mildew is Enemy #1 in greenhouse strawberries, but specific lighting treatments have the potential to drastically reduce the infection rate, making dynamic lighting another tool in the toolbox. More to follow!
– Light levels vary strongly depending on the type of gutter system installed (i.e., stacked, staggered, rotary, tabletop).
– Fruit quality is higher under LED lighting than HPS, with waste lower under LED lighting.
• There is also the potential to improve fruit quality with unique light treatments.
– Cultivars all respond differently to light, which makes multi-zoning an incredibly useful feature in a lighting system.
Want to learn more about Sollum Technologies and its dynamic LED grow light solution? Visit our Clients and Science section.