Impressive: Covering Crops in Red Plastic Helps Increase Yield by up to 37 Percent

The yields of certain crops may be increased if they’re covered in a material that will boost the red light they’re receiving.

A simple tech like using red plastic can help feed the growing population of the planet, though additional research is necessary to see if this has any effect on the nutrition profile and taste of the crops.

For centuries, people have used greenhouses in growing plants outside of tolerable conditions. With this new finding, it might even be better to use red houses rather than green ones. 

Why Is Red Spectrum of Light Good for Crops?

The red spectrum of light is known to stimulate the plants’ leaves to boost their production of chlorophyll. An Australian ag-startup is focusing on this basic science to produce thick red films that will be used as cover for current greenhouses.

They will better the production beyond what the sun or greenhouses are able to do. Luminescent-Light Emitting Agriculture Films or LLEAF is founded by scientists from the University of New South Wales and Western Sydney. 

They’re producing and testing various films that will be used to boost crop yields. Each one is tailored to a distinct type of plant. 

According to the co-founder of the Company, Dr. Alex Soeriyadi, their LLEAF is made to supercharge the natural light by shifting it into a light spectrum that’s even better for the growth of the crops. 

Their trials show potential for higher yield, better plant cycle, and improved management of harvesting. One of the films, LLEAF 620 is a low-red spectrum color that helps enhance photosynthesis and encourage the production in most plants.

For aquatic plants, LLEAF 590 is an optimal choice due to the need for the penetration of light through water for higher growth.

The far-red spectrum light is intended for trees and flowers and LLEAF has two different films for this purpose, one is for growth and the other for production. They climb to the 700-nanometer range of the spectrum. 

What Are These Films Made Of?

These innovative red light films are made from specialized dyes which absorb and diffuse photos from the green light spectrum and then reemit it as red light that helps encourage photosynthesis. 

The dyes used are carbon-based and entirely biodegradable. They’re free of metals while the plastic sheeting is 100 percent recyclable. 

They lower the light amount that the plant can’t use and the light emission is more even. It can be retrofitted to any greenhouse structure and the films are highly durable.