Location
Understanding crop and pest responses to LED lighting to maximise horticultural crop quality and reduce the use of PGRs

Research

CP 125 - Understanding crop and pest responses to LED lighting to maximise horticultural crop quality and reduce the use of PGRs

Start Date: 
01/04/2014
Completion Date: 
31/05/2017
Project Leader: 
Phillip Davis, Stockbridge Technology Centre
Code: 
CP 125

Industry representative(s): James Bean, Ian Nelson, Fay Richardson 

HDC project cost: £375,000

 

Project summary:

 

Light influences many aspects of crop biology, and LEDs provide a novel means to manipulate many of these responses to the benefit of protected crop production. In this project, we will demonstrate that high quality plants can be produced year round using LED lighting and investigate the use of multiple layers for increasing land use efficiency. We will investigate the influence of light quality on plant morphology, development and pigmentation to assess the potential to improve crop quality and reduce the need for plant growth regulators in traditional glasshouse production. We will also examine the potential to improve cutting rooting and strike rate by applying different light recipes to cuttings.
The majority of the experiments will be performed under red, blue and far-red light (the most energy efficient light spectrum) but the influence of other regions of the spectrum will also be investigated. In particular we will assess the influence of UVB, green and white light on plant growth and development.
Alongside the plant light response assessments we will also examine the influence of light quality on pest populations and bio-control agents with the aim of developing integrated pest management strategies for LED lit and/or multi-tiered growing systems.
 
 
Aims and objectives:
 
 
Aims:
 
To demonstrate the benefits that LEDs can provide the horticulture industry by improving crop quality while reducing inputs (particularly plant growth regulators) and production times.
To create the knowledge base required to develop integrated pest management schemes for LED lit systems.
 
Objectives:
 
 
Work package 1 - General agronomy under LED lighting
1) Demonstrate that high quality plants can be grown in multi-tiered LED illuminated growing systems thus extending the British growing season and increasing land use efficiency and potentially reducing total energy inputs compared to single layered production systems (relevant to PE, PO & HNS).
2) Examine innovative LED lighting design and deployment systems focused on minimising energy and capital inputs.
Work package 2 – Influence of light quality on crop development and morphology
1) Light quality as a growth regulator. We will examine the role of light quality on plant morphology and development and explore the potential for using light as a growth regulator (relevant to PE, PO & HNS) with the aim of replacing chemical plant growth regulators.
2) Examine the role of light quality on leaf and flower colour (relevant to PE, PO & HNS).
3) Investigate the potential to improve cutting propagation by manipulating the light spectrum with LED lighting during preconditioning and propagation (relevant to HNS).
Work package 3 – Light quality and its influence on IPM
1) Evaluate the effectiveness of existing pest traps and integrated pest management systems in the multi-tiered LED lit environment (relevant to PE, PO & HNS).
2) Pest cultures will be maintained in growth facilities so they can be used as required throughout the project.
3) Assess the influence of light recipes on pest populations from the perspectives of both host pest-resistance and direct pest behaviour (relevant to PE, PO & HNS).
4) Evaluate the influence of light spectra on the effectiveness of biocontrol agents (relevant to PE, PO & HNS).