Additional intercanopy lighting allows more light to penetrate from the top to lower parts of the plant, resulting in large, heavier flowers from top to down canopy with a significant upgrade of side flowers. The total yield and the value per unit also increase significantly with LED intercanopy lighting, meaning more marketable products.
More than five years of research into lighting strategies in cannabis cultivation has provided Signify and its customers with useful knowledge and insights. For example, extreme light levels above the crop (1,500 – 2,000 μmol/m2/s toplighting) result in higher energy costs but do not always produce the expected higher yields. It has recently been re-confirmed that intercanopy lighting (IL) does add value, even at lower light levels. Recent experiments have been achieved in our CannabisResearch Tech Center (CRTC) in the Netherlands. Collaboration with Light4Food and Plagron has brought us new insights into the interaction of intercanopy lights with climate and irrigation. There are several advantages, all of which yield returns.
As the world leader in LED grow light systems for horticultural crops, Signify is at the forefront of applied research into lighting strategies for cannabis cultivation. We do this not only with research partners in the Cannabis Research Tech Center, but one-on-one with other partners and growers.
One of the recently confirmed insights is that intercanopy lighting is an absolute must as a supplement to toplighting. Despite the high light levels that are common in cannabis cultivation, the plants grow so fast that side shoots are quickly overshadowed by newly formed crop parts. Heavy trimming and de-leafing are usually practiced to allow more light to penetrate from the top to the lower parts of the plant. Despite those actions, our measurements have shown that the lower inflorescence will still encounter a significantly lower light level compared to the top inflorescences. While the upper part of the plants sometimes receives more light than desirable, the lower part could use a bit more light—the entire plant benefits from that. After several crop cycles with different varieties, we determined that IL can achieve an average yield increase of 30%. As a result of the use of efficient IL LED lamps, the increase in biomass per kWh is even higher.