Customer Stories Mar 3, 2013

Barnes Greenhouses Improve Crop Vigor With LumiGrow

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About Barnes Greenhouses

Founded in Dunkirk, New York in the 1920s, Barnes Greenhouses is a leading wholesale supplier of liners and plugs including Vinca and vernalized perennials. Most of the company’s pre-finished products are sold through brokers to finishing growers throughout the northeastern United States.

28% Faster Rooting Rate

Strong Stems, Vibrant Color, Compact Form

100% Rooting Success Rate

Poor Quality Plugs

Barnes Greenhouses Vice President Jarratt Tunstall, a third-generation grower, is always seeking ways to improve the company’s crop quality and financial performance.

In Fall 2012, Jarratt focused his attention on improving the vigor of his Vinca cuttings and rootings. Approximately three plants per plug were not meeting his exacting standards. Noting weak stems, extended internode length and lack of color after transplant, Jarratt called on industry experts at Cornell and Griffin Greenhouse Supplies. Their diagnosis was consistent. As Jarratt and his team suspected, Barnes’ plants weren’t suffering from any disease. They simply needed more light.

The issue was critically important to Jarratt as crop loss forced Barnes to outsource 100,000 cuttings to a Central American supplier in order to meet customer demand.

“Installing HPS was never really an option due to high electrical costs. My operating margins don’t support energy-wasting lights.”

Searching for a Solution

Jarratt soon realized that conventional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting would be cost-prohibitive for his business.

“Installing HPS was never really an option due to high electrical costs,” notes Jarratt. “My operating margins don’t support energy-wasting lights.”

Jarratt came across an article by LumiGrow about specifying LED lighting in an industry trade publication. Days later he was in touch with the LumiGrow team who recommended LumiGrow fixtures for his operation.

In November 2012, Barnes Greenhouses installed LumiGrow LED lights. Though he’d never installed greenhouse lighting before, Jarratt notes that hanging the lights was straightforward.

“It was almost too easy,” Jarratt recalls.

Right away, he appreciated the compact size of the hardware, designed to allow maximum sunlight to penetrate the plant canopy.

Jarratt operates the lights for 12 hours each day from October through March when his plugs are finished. If he needs to make adjustments, he is glad to know that the LumiGrow Customer Service team is available to answer technical questions.

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Improving Plant Vigor

Under the LumiGrow LED lights, the Barnes team is producing Vinca cuttings with strong stems, vibrant color, compact form and a whopping 100% rooting success rate.

Jarratt is experiencing similar success with other crops. “The LumiGrow lights are producing the best quality Begonias we’ve ever seen,” he attests.

Accelerating Growth

In addition to improving crop vitality, Barnes Greenhouses is also achieving faster growth. For example, rooting Geraniums previously took at least two weeks. They’re now rooted in just 10-11 days, a 28% productivity gain.

Trimming Costs

Jarratt estimates that his electrical bill is half what it would be with HPS fixtures. His Vinca crop is performing so well that he expects to avoid the need for costly outsourced cuttings. Additionally, with healthy robust plants, Barnes Greenhouses also reduces the need for fungicides.

With a utility-sponsored energy-efficiency grant application in process and expansion plans in the works, the three generations of growers at Barnes Greenhouses have a bright future. LumiGrow helps light their way forward.

Summary
  • Problem. Cuttings with weak stems, extended internode length and lack of color after transplant
  • Solution. Installed energy-efficient LumiGrow fixtures
  • Results. 28% faster rooting; strong stems, vibrant color, compact form; 100% rooting success rate
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