Healthier crops, happier workers & lower energy costs

Increasing Profits - LEDs

JEM Farms is trialing supplemental lighting solutions from Fluence, finding that LED-exclusive strategies offer a variety of benefits for both grower and crop.

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May 20, 2022

Photo courtesy of Fluence by OSRAM

After more than 35 years of growing fresh, local produce in Ontario, Jamie and Paul J. Mastronardi know a thing or two about cultivating high-quality crops.

As the president and director of JEM Farms, Jamie and Paul J. oversee more than 40 acres of greenhouse facilities producing cucumbers, mini cucumbers, grape tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes. Wholly focused on delivering exceptional produce to the local Canadian market and surrounding regions year-round, the JEM Farms team optimized their facilities to include advanced supplemental lighting that enables the farm to produce throughout the winter months.

Within the company’s expansive greenhouse footprint sits a specialized, two-acre facility dedicated to research and development. Here, JEM Farms trials and analyzes new technology to future-proof their facilities through the industry’s most advanced cultivation practices. In collaboration with Fluence, JEM Farms is exploring the effects of an LED-only lighting strategy compared to a hybrid LED and high-pressure sodium configuration.

Leveraging Fluence’s VYPR 3p top light — built to maximize crop growth in greenhouse and indoor settings while balancing energy efficiency and the human work environment — JEM Farms is observing how LED technology’s lower heat load enables higher light levels without driving up energy costs.

In a typical greenhouse setting under LEDs, the environment is less affected by heat produced from lighting, relying instead on the more precise heating and ventilation systems designed exactly for maintaining temperature and humidity set points. This enhanced stability from LEDs ultimately translates to less condensation on plants, reduced water use and less dehumidification venting.

The research facility’s LED-only acre is lit with Fluence’s PhysioSpec™ BROAD R6 spectrum, harnessing the power of white light that mimics the sun with a spectral strategy optimized for JEM Farms’ region, cultivars and production goals. The JEM Farms team is realizing benefits for both the plants and its staff — white light allows for greater visibility and a more comfortable working environment. Implementing LED technology also enables the JEM Farms team to experiment with higher light intensities. Studies show that, in many cases, a 1% increase in photosynthetic photon flux density has translated to a 1% increase in yield.

As JEM Farms continues to optimize its cultivation practices, Jamie and Paul J. are empowered to control their supply, build trusted relationships with local retailers and even improve the shelf life of their products.

“We are 100% Canadian-grown and wholly dedicated to delivering year-round, delicious produce to our local and regional markets,” said Paul J. “Through the power of advanced cultivation practices such as supplemental LED technology, JEM Farms is producing the highest-quality produce for our partners and our community.”