Customer Stories May 17, 2017

Oregon State University Speeds Up Flowering and Experiences Greater Yields

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About Oregon State University

Oregon State University’s Crop and Soil Science Division is committed to studying applied knowledge of field crops and cropping systems in an ever-changing world.

Sagar Sathuvalli, Ph.D., is a leader for potato breeding and genetics, growing various potato seedlings and tubers for the University in Corvallis, Oregon. Focused on controlling time to flower and eliciting quick tuberization, Sagar’s lab is helping to develop the next generation of high-volume and high-quality potato production.

Increased Tuber Size

Reduced Energy Use

50% Utility Rebate

Slow Tuber Production

Sagar acquired two off-campus greenhouses to expand his research into a larger space at Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center.

“We like to have at least 2 to 4 grams of tubers, but most of our previous harvest what we’ve seen has been pea-sized, 70 to 90 days after we transplant,” noted Sagar.

The small tubers were being produced slower than the high-quality tubers during summertime.

Sagar’s goals for a new lighting strategy was to gain more control over seedling tuberization, and to speed up flowering times.

“I noticed the size of the tubers increased significantly when turning red light intensity down to half!”

A Reliable Solution

Sagar came to LumiGrow seeking a reliable solution that achieved high efficiency while matching the intensity required for his crops.

LumiGrow Lighting Specialist Mike McCoy recalls, “Our in-house research team determined through commercial trials that we needed to get 85 umol (of light) for Sagar’s potato crops. We knew we could achieve this while realizing significant energy-savings at reduced up front cost due to local utility rebates. Our first step was to provide a detailed light plan that suited Sagar’s goals, then we explained how best to implement our spectral control strategies.”

“I’m confident that we’ll be able to better control flowering time of our parent material using LumiGrow lighting.”

Increased Tube Size

With the LumiGrow lighting solution, Sagar noted a myriad of benefits. He received a rebate from his utility company, Energy Trust of Oregon, for 50% of the lights’ cost, and immediately began to see benefits for his crops.

Through implementation of the variable light spectra per the LumiGrow research teams’ advice, Sagar saw an improvement in the size of his tubers.

“I noticed the size of the tubers increased significantly when turning red light intensity down to half!” exclaimed an exuberant Sagar.

On top of the initial savings from the rebate, Sagar noted that his electricity bill was shrinking while his tubers grew larger during the winter months. As promising data continues to come in.

Sagar notes: “I’m confident that we’ll be able to better control flowering time of our parent material using LumiGrow lighting.”

Summary
  • Problem. Needed more control over tuberization during winter for potato plants
  • Solution. Installed energy-efficient LumiGrow fixtures with smartPARTM Wireless Control Software
  • Results. Tuber size increased; 50% utility rebate
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