Being a farmer means the workday starts before the sun rises and doesn’t end until well after the sun sets. That means a lot of work is being done in the dark, which means you either have a good pair of night-vision goggles or your lighting bill is higher than the corn stalks at harvest time. All kidding aside, the design and management of a farm’s lighting system is no small matter. Lighting plays a vital role in many farming operations, including promoting crop and livestock growth, as well as keeping indoor and outdoor spaces well lit and functioning. In fact, lighting and the energy used to create it account for a significant amount of energy consumption on the farm. And since farmers are also businessmen, they need to retain as much profit as possible. One way to do that is to reduce spending, like on the aforementioned energy bill.
Recently, research has rapidly advanced in the farming industry and indicates that upgrading from conventional incandescent bulbs to LEDs (light-emitting diodes) might boost productivity in greenhouse and plant-factory operations, reduce energy consumption and lower maintenance expenses. Yes, the very same LEDs that are increasingly lighting our homes, businesses and city streets may very well offer a money-saving, environmentally sustainable, and potentially longer-lasting lighting solution on the farmstead. And since we know that you can cut through hype faster than a hot knife through butter, let’s take a look at a few of the benefits that LEDs can potentially bring to the farming industry:
Light is an important horticultural production tool and a key factor in plant growth. LED sources can precisely deliver specific wavelengths at each growth phase that can boost plant production and maximize plant photosynthesis, all while using only a fraction of the electricity used by conventional light sources.
Poultry performance with LED bulbs is proving to be as good as, if not better than, performance under traditional light sources. Plus, the expense of lighting a poultry barn with 60-watt incandescent bulbs can be as much as 30% to 40% of the electrical operating cost.1
Energy-efficient and longer lasting
LED lighting is highly energy-efficient, helping farmers to lower electricity consumption and protect the environment. In fact, today’s LED lighting is six or seven times more efficient than conventional lighting, lasting up to 25 times longer than conventional bulbs.2
LEDs are a smart investment due to their durability and resistance to the harsh environments found on the farm, including excessive dirt, dust, heat, cold and humidity.
In light of their energy-saving, cost-reducing, yield-increasing benefits and capabilities, LEDs may be more than a welcome addition—they may soon be poised to play a major role in farm lighting.