GE Current, a Daintree Company Helps Ensure Supply of Premium, Homegrown Strawberries for Britain’s Leading Supermarkets Through the Winter
GE Current, a Daintree company is helping Global Berry bring high-quality British strawberries to consumers all year round by installing more than 4,500 of its latest-generation Arize® Element L1000 LED top lights in Global Berry’s 3 hectare (30,000m2), Taunton glasshouse. Paired with Current’s Daintree wireless lighting control solution, the L1000 grow lights deliver the optimum light energy required to supplement the available sunlight throughout the day, allowing Global Berry to produce winter strawberries that rival the quality of those picked at the height of summer. Currently available to British consumers at Sainsburys, Aldi and M&S, winter strawberries grown in the UK offer better taste, with higher nutritional value and a longer shelf life than lower-quality imports that often sell at a premium.
Current worked in partnership with TCE Electrical to create a bespoke lighting design to achieve maximum efficiency and ROI for Global Berry. John Downes, Managing Director at Global Berry commented: “Current’s team worked with us from Day One to build the most effective plan for our operation. We worked with their plant scientists to establish exactly what the strawberry plants would need in terms of supplemental lighting on the darkest English winter days and then once we had the maximum output required and the most suitable light recipe, the designers modelled the exact layout of fixtures required to achieve our production goals with the minimal number of lights.”
Designed to offer a true 1:1 replacement for 1000W HPS greenhouse fixtures, the Arize Element L1000 Next-Gen is available with a choice of eight optimized light spectra and a light output of up to 2250µmol/s. Current’s proprietary wide-angle XW Optic also ensures uniform light distribution across the crop, typically reducing the number of fixtures required by up to 15% and allowing for easier installations in greenhouses with less headroom.
When paired with Current’s Daintree wireless control solution, the L1000 can be automatically and intelligently adjusted in real time, to minimize energy consumption and take full advantage of all available, natural daylight. With PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) sensors positioned outside and within the growing area, the Daintree system actively monitors the amount of useful, natural light reaching the crop and will then either dim or increase the amount of supplemental light delivered by the L1000 to achieve the daily light integral (DLI) requirement for the crop. This approach to daylight harvesting minimizes energy consumption and lowers operational costs on sunny days, enhancing profitability without any impact on productivity.
Malcolm Yare, Horticulture Commercial Leader at Current commented: “Strawberries are an iconic summer crop that consumers want to be able to buy all year round. Nothing can compare to a homegrown strawberry but with advances in greenhouse lighting and technology you don’t need to wait until the summer months to taste a British strawberry. Global Berry is proving that with the right technology and approach, you can produce berries under glass in the middle of winter that are just as large, sweet and tasty as the fruit you’d pick at the height of summer.”
John Downes said, “Securing supplies of high-quality fruit and reducing our reliance on imports in a sustainable way is a key priority for British retailers. By ensuring year-round production of strawberries, we can also provide more reliable, year-round jobs for seasonal workers, consistent quality of produce on the shelves and a more established domestic supply chain for UK consumers with a lower carbon footprint than you’d see from winter imports of berries originating in warmer climates.”