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Dutch propagator dials down new lights because they’re 'too effective'

Proving that it is possible to have too much of a good thing, a Dutch tomato propagator had to dial down the hybrid LED/HPS (high-pressure sodium) lighting in a new greenhouse because growth was outpacing the tomatoes in an existing greenhouse and, as a result, upsetting the overall crop cycle.

The good news is that the illumination that Westlandse Plantenkwekerij (WPK) installed in the new greenhouse at its s-Gravenzande facility resulted in what WPK has described as a higher-quality tomato than those grown exclusively under HPS lights in the existing greenhouse at the site, yielding an advantageously compact morphology and darker and richer colors.

The problem was that the quality plants were coming on too fast!

So WPK “(reduced) the lighting hours to keep the propagation period equal and limit the differences between plants grown in the old and new facilities,” a spokesperson for LED luminaire provider Fluence told.

The combination LED/HPS installation covers 3 hectares and took about two weeks to complete in August 2021. Austin, TX–based Fluence provided its VYPER series LED luminaires, and The Hague-based Industria provided the HPS fittings.

The parties declined to reveal how many fixtures they installed, but the LEDs accounted for about two-thirds and the HPS about a third, the Fluence spokesperson said.


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