Artificial lighting creates an opportunity for growers to not only assert more control over their planning and output, but also to help make rapid adjustments in response to market demands. Being less reliant on natural light means being less affected by unpredictable weather and seasonality. When growers are able to stay in the market year-round, they can provide varieties to grocery stores regardless of the season, helping position them as a grocer's first choice.
Thanks to established relationships with industry leaders, and the leading investment De Ruiter™ has made in vegetable research and development, we are able to equip our growers with the variety knowledge they need to benefit from artificial lighting.
Knowledge sharing with industry leaders advances De Ruiter varieties
From energy suppliers to glasshouse builders, De Ruiter partners with a variety of companies to develop technically advanced varieties that perform well under artificial lighting. A collaboration with Philips Lighting Horticulture LED solutions allows us to conduct trials with growers in many parts of the world on new and existing varieties using their LED lights. Learn more about Philips Lighting Horticulture LED solutions on their website. With the combined knowledge of our teams, we help growers understand this new way of growing and work with them directly to make the right decisions for their operation.
“Because of our partnership, we make each other stronger. De Ruiter is helping us learn how their varieties are grown and the necessary specifications, while we’re helping them understand how to use artificial lighting to be even more successful in glasshouse operations,” says Piet Hein van Baar, Plant Specialist in High Wire Crops, Philips Lighting Horticulture LED Solutions.
Growers experience higher production & increased consistency, year-round
Though artificial lighting is a large initial investment, growers are seeing valuable benefits such as higher production potential and more consistency throughout the year. In Holland, Wilfred van Winden and his brother, Vincent own Van Winden Tomatoes, part of the growers’ association, Prominent, that brings together 27 growers and produces tomatoes on more than 300 hectares (~750 acres).
Wilfred Van Winden describes his own experience growing Merlice under artificial lighting by saying, “With artificial lights, planting dates are much more flexible and you can plan production better.”
We grow the De Ruiter tomato variety Merlice exclusively because it has the optimal features when grown both with and without artificial lights. With this variety, we have high production and excellent quality all year. Other similar varieties are not as consistent in quality and production. Our De Ruiter Sales Rep is a familiar face, and we work with him regularly to run trials and forecast our needs. He’s able to advise us on how best to grow Merlice and help us understand how to be successful with artificial lighting. - Wilfred van Winden
To make sure our varieties continually perform their best for growers, De Ruiter developed an innovative continuous light program that allows trials to be run 24 hours a day. Because we’ve been involved in developing artificial lighting trials from the beginning and have been able to help advance the technology, our products are stable and have high performance potential in artificially lit operations. We have a vast portfolio to meet many growers’ needs, from varieties for LEDs that can be used all year round, to varieties that work well with sodium lighting.
The bright future of artificial lighting
In the future, artificial lighting may help reduce the carbon footprint of the vegetable industry by allowing growers to run their operations in locations where their crops are in high demand, helping to eliminate the need to transport crops across the globe. According to the De Ruiter sales team in the Netherlands and Belgium, the number of growers using artificial lighting has increased from 10% to over 30% in the last five years. They expect this number to grow to 50% within the next decade, making this next-generation technology essential to growers in the future. If you’d like to learn more about how you can use artificial lighting in your operation with De Ruiter’s market-leading varieties, contact Ed Ayala in North America or Huib Koerts in Benelux, Poland and GACH.