Project Description

About Tyger River Smart Farm

Tyger River Smart Farm

Tyger River Smart Farm is a family-owned and operated leafy green vegetable farm in Duncan, South Carolina. They offer a wide assortment of lettuce varieties including Bibb, Buttercrunch, Romaine, Summercrisp, Green Leaf, and Red Leaf, in addition to kale, chard, arugula, basil, and more.

The farm is managed by owner and president Ryan Oates along with his mother Joyce. Their facility uses fully-automated, state-of-the-art greenhouses and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) hydroponic systems to create ideal growing conditions. Ryan’s farm consists of a 1,300 sq ft greenhouse, and a new 13,000 sq ft greenhouse to begin operation in the winter of 2016. A proponent of the farm-to-table movement, Ryan focuses on growing year-round produce as efficiently as possible. To accomplish this, he is always seeking new ways to lower operating costs, boost yield, and increase quality.

Our valued growers and partners reap the rewards of our dedicated research team. Working with Tyger River Smart Farm, we developed a custom lighting strategy that increased production and energy savings while producing a superior-quality crop.

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The Challenge

“Our search for a lighting solution began when our greenhouse consultant recommended we switch to 100% LED supplemental lighting,” Ryan tells us. Although he had some experience with LEDs for propagation, Ryan was using all high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights for his greenhouse and wanted to explore energy-efficient lighting options before committing to a solution for his new greenhouse.

The Solution

Ryan came to LumiGrow well-educated about LED technology. “He had lots of questions about spectral control, light output, and performance comparisons to HPS,” noted LumiGrow lighting specialist Ashley Veach. After discussing Ryan’s crop production goals, the LumiGrow team implemented a lighting strategy that considered multiple variables including; site architecture, electrical infrastructure and crop requirements. Together, the LumiGrow team and Ryan worked to prepare a lighting roadmap to successfully transition the farm from HPS lighting to LED lighting.

To ensure that Ryan’s farm met quality control targets and and production schedules, the team recommended a two-phased approach. By implementing LumiGrow Pro 325 fixtures within the smaller greenhouse first, LumiGrow and Ryan fine-tuned the LED lighting strategy so that Ryan would be confident scaling the solution to his larger facility.

The Pro Series 325 fixture enabled Ryan to realize a myriad of benefits compared to running HPS. Ryan purchased 12 Pro 325 fixtures for his smaller greenhouse to test differences in quality and adjust environmental variables. Once the lighting solution was meeting Ryan’s goals, Ryan expanded his lighting retrofit to his larger 13,000 sq. ft. greenhouse, which included an additional 108 Pro 325 fixtures.

The Benefits

“The main thing for me was coming from the plant science side of things, trying to get as many photons as I could to the plants as efficiently as possible. LumiGrow lights were able to do this, as well as require less maintenance due to long life-span, and help me realize energy-savings that I sold back to the utility.”

Although Ryan noted that all plant varieties seemed to improve in quality, his red lettuce varieties improved the most drastically in the winter months showing deeper color, a hardier leaf, and a more compact head. Ryan also mentioned that he’s been able to increase his production by 2 months, realizing that “We’ve been mimicking a full summer day year-round with LumiGrow fixtures. When we were in February it was like we were producing in April, and the numbers show this!”