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Controlled environment agriculture specialists, Light Science Technologies, believe 2024 will be another year of significant increase in the volume of crops grown under glass in Europe and the UK.

And, the lighting experts are also anticipating a longer growing season than ever before, as innovative new technology is employed in commercial greenhouses.

“We tend to think in terms of quite a narrow growing season, particularly in Northern Europe. However, with the right mix of supplementary led light, we can extend the growing window by starting earlier and finishing later when growing the warmer-weather crops we need” says Craig Price, Operations Director of Light Science Technologies.

Established in 2019, Light Science Technologies help provide crops grown under glass with the perfect ‘recipe’ of light. Their lighting systems are used within commercial greenhouses and polytunnels and for vertical farming and medical plants.

Commercial indoor horticulture has experienced significant growth following extreme weather and supply chain instability in some of the countries which have historically provided crops which European and UK shoppers enjoy.

“The storms in Spain early last year meant bare supermarket shelves, inflated prices and helped reinforce the need for the home-grown production of salad and other crops in Northern Europe” adds Craig.

In 2022, the then UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice spoke about the British government’s ambitions for expansion in the horticulture sector, particularly under glass.

Speaking to the BBC at the National Farmers Union Conference, Mr Eustice stated his department was looking to what it would take to develop a whole new generation of glass house production in the UK.

Light Science Technology has developed lighting technology which can provide the ideal mix of light frequencies to promote healthy and sustainable growth in plants.

As well as installing the technology in commercial structures such as greenhouses and polytunnels, the company’s horticulture research laboratory has also helped identify and test differing ‘recipes’ of light in controlled conditions.

“Light is a fundamental building block of life and whilst sunlight is excellent it can be illusive and inconsistent in what is referred to as the shoulder months. Coupled with our sensor technology, we can aid making profitable year-round growing a reality” states Craig.

Light Science Technologies sensorGRO system gathers real-time data on light, temperature, humidity, CO2, and pressure to enable growers to allow growers to make more informed decisions to help optimise their yields.

Light Science Technologies sister company, Tomtech, also designs, manufactures and installs greenhouse control systems which monitor and control ventilation, heating, irrigation, fertigation and lighting.

Light Science Technologies has incorporated Tomtech’s products and is promoting the combined solution across Europe, whilst Tomtech focuses on the UK market.

“Together, Light Science Technologies and Tomtech are helping growers cut waste, water, energy, labour and other costs, whilst increasing yields and profitability by extending the growing season” concludes Craig.