Use of light in Agriculture
Over the years the use of light has expanded beyond lighting to other crucial areas like Agriculture. Use of light in agriculture is by no means new to humans, early scientific experiments concluded that light was an essential factor for germination of plants to takes place In recent years following technological advancements, outdoor lighting projected in LED screens have served great purposes in lighting agricultural fields As the world embraces green energy, solar powered LED screens have been installed in may Green house farms to provide the light necessary for germination and to allow workers in the farms to conduct their activities both day and night
LED lighting not only saves energy but also produces a narrow wavelength and pure light, spectral energy intonation which is suitable and low fever, durable and small size lighting which is very easy to focus on the execution of balanced plant brachtheraphy of the preferred wavelength (Black & Chin, 2000). In a nut shell efficient LED devices are used to attain the best light to augment the production of leafy vegetables which is usually not the case when natural light or high intensity discharge devices are used.
Since light is a crucial environmental factor during growth of plants, adjusting the wavelength and the color of the light can have great effect on the plant growth cycle. For instance, Metal Halide lamps which produce blue light are used in growing plants that are in vegetative state of leafy growth like spinach and lettuce. On the other hand, high sodium pressure lamps which emit red light are extensively used in green house farming to substitute daylight and in indoor growing of beans, lilies and strawberries
Presently many plant factories have adopted LED lighting so as to help reduce the food shortage crisis. LED lighting is now applied in plant production, mushroom production microalgae cultivation, and aquaculture among other forms of agricultural production. In livestock production, LED technology has be widely used in illuminating livestock fields, fishing light, poultry light and in selective insect trapping lamps.
Following drastic environmental changes in recent years, where extreme weather changes have been witnessed, scientists have exploited LED lighting further to contain the situation. For instance, the Northern hemisphere experience winter from 2011 to 2012, intense cloud cover and extreme rainfall which significantly reduced the amount of sunshine time favorable for agricultural development. Most large scale farmers in these areas, adopted LED lighting to substitute for sunshine light and considerable amount of food was able to be harvested.
In a nutshell, lighting is indispensible in livestock keeping and plant production. As technology advances, man has found other ways of sourcing light for these two agricultural purposes to supplement of substitute the natural sun shine light. Man has also manipulated the two main features of light: wavelength and color to ensure greater efficiency and desirability in plant production
Black, Colin, and Chin On. “Utilisation of light and water in tropical agriculture.” Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 104.1 (2000): 25-47.