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Not only plant lighting LEDs can help poultry and aquaculture
- Oct 15, 2018 -

Awesome, LED lights can be used not only for plant lighting, but also for animal lighting such as poultry and aquaculture.

In floating farms, LED lights grow forage

According to the BBC, this year, the world's first floating farm opened in Merwehaven, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to help the city continue to produce more of its own food. Dutch real estate company Beladon is building the world's first "floating farm" in Port Moselle, Rotterdam, and will use it to breed 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows.

It is worth noting that there are robots to help with milking. Beladon's farm has three floors, anchored to the sea floor and is expected to open by the end of 2018, producing about 800 litres of milk a day.

The building floats on the sea and is connected to the land by three corridors. In this way, the building can be in contact with the land. The two corridors lead to the upper and lower spaces respectively. The upper layer is used to raise cattle. It is the space where cattle live. It is decorated like a small park with green trees. The lower layer design is more diverse, including pasture areas, milk production areas, cattle waste collection, seawater desalination and energy production.

The production of additional pasture is produced using a greenhouse and LED lighting. Soilless cultivation is realized through the greenhouse, and the growth speed of the grass is greatly improved by LED illumination.

Mina van Wingerden, wife and business partner of Beladon's engineer Peter Van Wengerden, said the farm will start with 40 cows, enough for the company to break even. Mink said: "We will also plant duckweed as an animal feed. It is rich in protein and grows rapidly. It can be fed with cow urine. We will install four or five vertical platforms under special LED lights for planting these plants. ”

LED application in urban indoor farms

If the global population grows to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 70% of the population will live in cities, then urban indoor farms will become indispensable. In these indoor farms, crops are planted vertically in rows of shelves under the illumination of ultraviolet or LED lighting. But can such a farm produce enough food to feed the world's growing urban population?

Dr. Fenton Beed, a manager of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, believes that urban farms are useful because they use less water, fertilizers and pesticides than traditional production systems. But he also acknowledges that limited space may hinder the production of enough food to meet the needs of the world's rapidly growing urban population.

Dr. Beder said: "The limiting factors for producing food in a controlled environment include the cost of initial investment, LED lighting and continuous energy supply.


Plenty grows crops vertically indoors

But this concern has not prevented companies like Plenty from attracting large investments. The San Francisco-based startup produces green leafy vegetables on indoor farms and claims that the planting efficiency per square meter can be 350 times higher than that of outdoor farms. Its crops are planted on vertical poles 6 meters high, using hydroponics (water supply only planting systems) and LED lighting, without the use of soil or pesticides. Infrared sensors monitor the growth of the crop so that the system can adjust the light, heat and water flow accordingly.

Since its inception in 2013, Plenty has raised $226 million in funding, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Softbank's vision fund and Innovation Endeavors. This year, the company will expand its operations in the United States and open its first farm in the Middle East.

 led plant grow light


LED application in poultry breeding

LEDs are the most efficient and environmentally friendly products in agricultural lighting solutions, producing white light by combining blue LEDs with red and green phosphors. The spectrum is close to continuous (Figure 3), blue is particularly strong, but there are plenty of green and red.

Although not entirely daylight, from a human perspective, LED spectroscopy provides approximate daylight and no spectral gaps like other technologies. In addition, they have the longest life (up to 10 years, all-weather operation), are rugged, resistant to vibration and allow for color shift and color control. LEDs have high upfront costs, but these costs can be recovered through energy savings, minimizing total cost of ownership.

The biggest advantage of LEDs is the ability to provide a customizable, tunable spectrum. The spectral sensitivity of animals is different from that of humans, as is the spectral requirement. By optimizing the spectrum, radiation and modulation in the barn, farmers can create a good lighting environment for livestock, allowing livestock to be happy and promote their growth while minimizing energy and feed expenditures.

Poultry is four-colored. Like humans, poultry has a peak sensitivity to green at 550 nm. But they are also highly sensitive to red, blue and ultraviolet (UV). But the most striking difference between humans and poultry may be the ability of poultry to visually sense ultraviolet light (peak at 385 nm).

Each color has a significant effect on the physiology of poultry. For example, the proliferation of skeletal muscle satellite cells can be enhanced by green light, increasing growth rate at an early stage. Blue light increases growth by increasing plasma androgen at a later age. Narrowband blue light reduces motion and also reduces self-killing rates. Green and blue light together promote the growth of muscle fibers. Overall, Blu-ray has been shown to increase feed conversion by 4%, reducing cost per pound by 3% and increasing overall live weight by 5%.

Red light can increase the growth rate of chickens at the beginning of the feeding period and increase the amount of exercise of the chickens, thus minimizing leg disease. Red light also reduces feed consumption per egg production, and the eggs produced do not differ in size, weight, eggshell thickness, egg yolk and albumin weight. Overall, the red light has been shown to increase peak production, with an increase in egg production per hen by 38 eggs and a 20% reduction in consumption.

By using LED lighting, using the unique spectral needs of poultry, pigs, cows, fish or crustaceans, farmers can reduce stress and poultry mortality, regulate circadian rhythms, and dramatically increase yields of eggs, meat and other protein sources, while significantly Reduce energy use and other input costs.

Solid-state lighting (SSL) niche applications include agricultural-specific lighting, which can generate huge revenue potential. Major manufacturers such as Philips and Osram have developed spectrally-adjustable LED lights for the agricultural and horticultural industries, as well as small businesses such as Once Innovations and NextGen Illumination, which produce LED lights for the poultry market.

LED application in factory aquaculture

According to Song Changbin, senior engineer of the Semiconductor Lighting R&D Center of the Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in the article "Application of LED Lamps in Industrialized Aquaculture" in the Journal of Lighting Engineering, light is an ecological factor that enters the water ecosystem, not only for fish. The class brings the necessary water and plant energy, and it can directly or indirectly have an important influence on the feeding, reproduction and endocrine of fish. With the development of semiconductor technology, LED chips of various wavelengths and sizes have been developed and widely used in various industries. It is gradually recognized that LED artificial illumination as a physical means can not only increase the growth efficiency of aquaculture, but also promote fish. It grows and regulates the gonad development of fish and obtains green high-quality food.

In 2016, China's aquaculture production was 51.423 million tons, and the total output of factory aquaculture was about 406,600 tons, accounting for 0.79% of China's total aquaculture production [2], and the overall proportion was still small. In 2017, China implemented a severe environmental storm on the disorderly development of inland lakes, reservoirs and offshore cage culture in the aquaculture industry. It is expected that the growth rate of clean water for industrialized circulating water will accelerate in the future. The national aquaculture farmland area in 2008 and 2016 was respectively 29.07 million m2, 65.548 million m2, and the annual average added value was 15.69%. Therefore, the annual growth value of LED lighting growth potential: 1.65 billion × 15.69% = 259 million yuan.

This is an ideal increase in the number of LED lamps. The main reason is that there are currently more than 40 kinds of famous aquatic products, and the photobiological mechanism and utility of LEDs on these varieties are poorly understood. Farmers do not know what light environment is responsible for certain metabolism of their cultured species. LED manufacturing and engineering merchants also lack relevant knowledge in this link. This requires the experimental data of research institutes and the support of expert experience. For example, the development of the gonads of the Atlantic Ocean and the development of the larvae of the Abalones of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found that the photoperiod is the main factor affecting the development of the gonads in the Atlantic, and the blue-green light significantly increases the development rate of the larvae. The area of each pool of the yellow strips produced by a company in Dalian is 56 m2. The LED illumination of 130 breeding ponds is completed under the guidance of scientific research units.