Recent studies by Signify, in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research and vegetable breeder Nunhems, have explored the effects of far-red light on tomato cultivation. While some benefits have been observed, the overall results are inconclusive, leading experts to recommend sticking with current light recipes for tomato growers.
The agricultural technology sector constantly evolves, with researchers and companies striving to optimize crop yields and quality. One area of focus has been the application of LED lighting in agriculture. Signify, a leading company in the field has been conducting ongoing research to determine the most effective light recipes for various crops, including tomatoes. Far-red light has recently gained attention, but the results have been mixed.
The Research For Tomato Production
Signify’s research, conducted in partnership with Wageningen University & Research and Nunhems, aimed to investigate the effects of far-red light on tomato cultivation. The studies found that far-red light could make it easier to direct available energy to the fruits of the tomato plant. However, the degree of production increase varied significantly depending on the variety of tomatoes.
The research also indicated that far-red light might make crops more manageable and forgiving under suboptimal growing conditions. However, these benefits were not uniform across all tomato varieties; some even showed adverse effects.
Practical Implications For Tomato Production
For tomato growers, the inconsistent results make applying far-red light a risky venture. The studies revealed that the benefits of far-red light were most significant when applied throughout the entire photoperiod, which in the studies was 16 hours a day. However, this led to disproportionate increases in energy costs, making it less appealing for commercial application.
Moreover, some studies showed that it could negatively affect the quality of the green parts of the plant, potentially reducing shelf life and overall crop condition.
Energy Efficiency Concerns
One of the significant drawbacks of using far-red light is its higher energy consumption compared to PAR light. Given the already high energy costs associated with agricultural technology, adding it could further strain growers’ budgets without guaranteeing improved yields or quality.
While the research on far-red light in tomato cultivation has shown some potential benefits, the inconsistent results and increased energy costs make it a less attractive option for growers. Signify recommends sticking with current light recipes for tomato cultivation and will continue to monitor any developments that may warrant a reevaluation of far-red light’s utility in the future.
For now, the consensus among experts is clear. If you want healthier plants and more yield, optimizing existing light recipes rather than venturing into the uncertain territory of far-red light is better.
Image provided by Signify