Grow lights are not a new idea in the agricultural market. Many farmers and growers use high-pressure sodium and metal halide bulb grow lights. However, these lights cannot offer plants specific wavelengths to optimize and reduce grow time. They also run the risk of burning the crop if placed too closely to the plant. Now, LED grow lights are changing the grow light market and the face of agriculture all together.
LED Grow Lights: How They Work
In order to perform photosynthesis, plants need more red and blue light wavelengths than green light wavelengths. With new LED technology, the lights are able to deliver the plants with only the particular wavelengths needed. This minimizes energy usage while still “feeding” the plants and increases ROI on plant harvest.
While LEDs hold the advantage over traditional grow lights with their reduced energy savings, they also do more to benefit the plants in general. Due to their decreased heat output, the LED grow lights are less likely to burn the plants, allowing the lights to sit closer to them during the grow period. Studies have also shown LED grow lights shave 10 percent off grow time to harvest.
To paint you a picture, the grow period for lettuce clocks in around 30 days. When using LED grow lights, the growing period is cut down to 27 days. Over the course of the year, a farmer is able to produce 13 harvests instead of the usual 12. This is an example of how the thinking behind LED grow lights has shifted from reducing energy costs and heat output to increasing plant yields.
How LED Grow Lights Could Change the Face of Agriculture
While much of today’s farming is located in open, rural areas, LED grow lights open up opportunities for urban farming. Opposed to growing food in rural areas and shipping them into larger metropolitan communities, urban farmers could set up indoor growing areas, creating fresh local produce close to home. While cultivating land in large cities is not feasible, many abandoned or un-leased buildings could be repurposed into an urban farm.
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Posted in LED Agriculture Lighting, LED Products and Innovations