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Why PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) and spectrometry are essential for horticulture

Why PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) and spectrometry are essential for horticulture

In contemporary horticulture, precision and optimisation play a crucial role to maximise crop yields, improve crop quality and make efficient use of raw materials and resources. Measuring Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) and performing spectrometric analyses are vital for these goals. Below, we explain why these aspects are so important for horticulture, and how they contribute to successful cultivation.

1. Photosynthesis and growth:
PAR refers to the part of the electromagnetic light spectrum (400-700 nanometres) that plants can use for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the driver of plant growth. In this process, light energy is converted into chemical energy needed for the synthesis of organic compounds or plant/crop growth.

By measuring PAR, horticulturists can determine the optimal light levels needed for healthy photosynthesis and thus for optimal growth of plants, flowers, vegetables, fruits or other crops.

2. Light utilisation efficiency:
Measuring PAR allows horticulturists to assess the light utilisation efficiency of their crops. This refers to a plant's ability to utilise the available and present light for photosynthesis. By monitoring and adjusting PAR levels, horticulturists can improve the efficiency of their cropping systems, which can result in higher yields per unit of lighting energy.

3. Light spectrum and crop quality:
Besides PAR, the spectrum of light (the different light colours) that plants receive is also very important for crop quality. Different wavelengths of colour in turn have different effects on growth, flowering and, in the case of food such as tomatoes or cucumbers, the flavour and nutritional value of plants.

Measuring and analysing the full light spectrum received by plants is called spectometry. This is important for crop quality.

Spectrometry allows horticulturists to analyse the full light spectrum their crops receive. This allows them to optimise growing conditions to improve desired characteristics such as colour, aroma, flavour and nutritional value.

4. Climate Control and Energy Efficiency:
Measuring PAR and analysing the light spectrum help horticulturists optimise their climate control systems, such as lighting, screens and air conditioning. By fine-tuning these systems to the needs of crops, horticulturists can save energy and reduce the carbon footprint of their cultivation. Thus, it contributes to the sustainability of the nursery.

Conclusion
PAR measurements and spectrometry have become indispensable tools in modern horticultural practice. By optimising light levels and spectra, horticulturists can improve the growth, quality and yield of their crops, while saving energy and reducing their carbon footprint. Accurately measuring and understanding these parameters is essential for promoting sustainable and profitable growing practices in the horticultural sector.

PAR measurements and spectrometry are crucial for modern horticultural businesses. By optimising light levels and spectra, horticulturists can improve crop growth, quality and yield, while saving energy and reducing their carbon footprint. Accurately measuring and understanding these parameters contributes to sustainable and profitable nurseries.

We are happy to help you achieve accurate and reliable results with one of our measuring instruments. Check out some of our range of PAR and Spectrometers below.