Category: Agricultural Lighting

LEDs Join the New Wave of Farming Technology

Sorting, washing, packing, shipping, repeat- that’s the day-to-day grind for most in the farming and agricultural sector. When you think of farming, you think of day’s old traditions passed down from generation to generation.

You’d be wrong.

Today, farming is one of the most technologically advanced fields we see. We see new technology in tractors and other equipment that makes the process as efficient as possible. That’s the same approach we see at Veg King in Central Florida. One of the first packing houses to go full LED in central Florida- Veg King has brought a new standard to the process. We were able to completely customize the lighting plan. We provided higher wattages and different lens types in areas where they needed it most while maximizing the overall efficiency of the lighting plan by reducing wattages where it wasn’t needed as much. LEDs in agriculture are becoming more prevalent. Veg King’s D.R. Harris, a 4th generation farmer, told us, “We’re able to provide our buyers will higher quality produce. The new LEDs give us the ability to see imperfections we normally wouldn’t have caught. That’s huge for us as a company. We’re able to load our produce onto the trucks for market with more confidence.”

“Farming is an ever-evolving field. Being able to provide Central Florida growers and packing houses with industry-leading LED technology was a big step forward for us. We’re always looking for new ways to improve our energy use. Being able to help them solve an issue they didn’t know they had as well as lower their energy consumption feels great.”

For agricultural wholesalers, LEDs can plant a seed for efficiency

Production-Quality Lighting

For agricultural wholesalers, LEDs can plant a seed for efficiency.

In businesses where seeing matters, lighting matters.

Southeast Lighting & Design, based in St Petersburg, Florida, recently completed LED installations for several food preparation companies, where employees must be able to see what they’re doing to be efficient.

“For product preparation markets, we’re finding customers come to us and don’t even realize they stand to save 50% on their power bill, while nearly doubling the light output,” Southeast Lighting & Design Project Developer Ira Timmerman said. “They might eventually appreciate the savings, but at the end of the day, for these companies it’s all about lighting efficiency and quality.”

For Nickerson Dairy in Zolfo Springs, Florida, Southeast Lighting & Design recently installed 18 200-watt high bay LED fixtures in place of the family farm’s legacy 400-watt metal halides. According to Logan Nickerson, the family knew they needed to replace their lighting because the old fixtures constantly broke down and took too long to start in the morning. The new LED lights over the company’s milking floor illuminate immediately when the day starts, require less maintenance, and shed daytime quality light on the dairy cows.

Timmerman said the Nickersons knew they wanted LED lights when they came to Southeast Lighting & Design, and his team was able to optimize the lumen output required and wattage necessary for the entire Central Florida milking facility. “They were tired of not being able to see,” Timmerman said. “We looked at what they had before, examined multiple mounting heights, and dialed everything in.”

Nickerson is one of almost a dozen product preparation firms Southeast Lighting & Design has serviced across Florida’s agriculture-rich regions. The Gulf Coast-based LED services firm also recently completed a job for Burgin Farms Quality Produce in Plant City and Wauchula, Florida, where the firm’s fluorescent tube lighting had become too unreliable and dim to keep the packing facility operating smoothly.

Timmerman recommended Burgin Farms install 200-watt circular high bays over the area in which the company stores and sorts produce. The upgrade satisfied regulators at the Florida Department of Agriculture and USDA and increased Burgin Farms’ efficiency.

“For these product markets, we can offer a top-end LED like our ceiling-mounted square high bays or the more cost-effective circular high bays,” Timmerman said. “The high bay is our bread and butter, and these packing houses are tall and wide, which makes them a perfect match for the fixture.”

Email to learn more about this or any of Southeast Lighting & Design’s other projects.


Southeast Shines New Light on Florida Agriculture with LED Lighting Solution

Southeast Lighting & Design’s partnership with a produce company has improved working conditions and the client’s bottom line.

Inside a Veg-King of Florida packing plant, summer watermelons pour in by the busload. Workers on the line sort each passing melon by hand according to size, shape and color. They shout numbers—“36! 45! 60!”—as they categorize each melon. Once they’re cleaned and packed, the melons are stacked on pallets to await shipping to your local supermarket.

For more than 55 years, the Harris family has operated Veg-King in Central Florida, growing the business from its early days as a 50 by 50-foot facility in the small town of Bowling Green, FL. But this year, the watermelon house is looking a lot brighter.

Instead of firing up outdated metal halide light fixtures, waiting through humming, flickering and a five-minute warm up, D.R. Harris can now get right to work when he arrives at the plant. Why? Veg-King and Southeast Lighting & Design worked together in early May to install new high Bay LEDs,

Veg-King workers are now wasting no time waiting on lights, and with higher wattage fixtures over the sorting area, they are able to see the difference. “They’ve been great. We’ve been able to actually work faster now that watermelons are being sorted quicker,” Harris said.

And with supermarkets like Publix as customers, Veg-King has a lot of orders to fill.

“We’re sending out around half a million pounds of watermelon a day,” Harris said.

Veg-King plans to fit all its locations with high bay LEDs during the off season. That includes a packing house 50 yards from the watermelon facility, where they’ve been preparing produce since early spring. Veg-King is currently moving about 2,500 bushels of cucumbers a day.

Harris is a third generation produce broker who understands the importance of implementing new and innovative technologies into business operations. “Things are different from 55 years ago,” he said. “We have to adapt to new technology to keep the produce moving.” With Southeast Lighting & Design’s cutting edge LED technology, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Email to learn more about LED lighting in the agriculture industry or any of Southeast Lighting & Design’s other projects.