August 10, 2021

RED x Pierrick L’Eost

The world-travelling journalist conquering the strawberries of Plougastel

Pierrick L’Eost is a strawberry producer in the “Fraise de Plougastel” region. After a career in journalism and a trip around the world, Pierrick decided to settle down in 2019 in Loperhet to set up a 1.3 hectare farm.
He produces the Gariguette and Mariguette strawberry varieties in a hanging garden, under a glass greenhouse that has a drip watering system and misting.

In order to produce a quality strawberry, he emphasizes the success of his integrated pest management program:

"I would like to prove that it is possible to obtain a qualitative production without any treatment, thanks to the use of crop auxiliaries."
Pierrick Leost
Strawberry grower

Extend the production period to retain staff

When Pierrick decided to turn to production lighting, his objective was to complement natural light to spread out his production.
"A season is largely determined by the quality and availability of staff, producing for longer allows me to keep a trained local workforce for longer.”
Pierrick Leost
Strawberry grower
During his initial research, he chose to discard the HPS lamps, which he considered too energy-consuming and which considerably increased the temperature of the plant. Pierrick wanted a solution that would guarantee him plants ready 10 days early with a low energy cost.

“When I met Louis and Yassine, the directors of RED Horticulture, I was immediately convinced by their speech and their explanations, and I invested in a 1500m2 surface.”

Teaching the specifics of LED lighting

When equipping a greenhouse with LED lighting for the first time, Pierrick asked to be guided by RED Horticulture’s teams for the equipment installation.

"Pierrick's greenhouse has a low ridge height. Thanks to its 300W and wide lighting angle, the TAURUS 300 promises maximum homogeneity on this type of structure."
Louis Golaz
CEO at RED Horticulture

Pierrick chose the TAURUS 300 lighting system, installed under the ridge and controlled using SOLSTICE.
“With RED I found a complementary lighting system that allows me to obtain tastier strawberries while increasing my yield.”

Support in order to provide the necessary knowledge on photobiology

On a daily basis, Pierrick is accompanied by Raphaël Quenum, agronomist at RED Horticulture and specialist in strawberry production. The support consists of one visit per month and regular telephone calls.

Pierrick’s objective is to understand the light factor in order to be able to make the right decisions. Understanding how the plant reacts to each wavelength according to its stage of development is one of the priorities for the Finisterian producer.

"Raphael is very knowledgeable. He is a person who has a very good feel for the plant and so I trusted him to implement his own light recipes."
Pierrick Leost
Strawberry grower
During the first season under lighting, Pierrick let Raphaël take the reins of the lighting strategy.
Becoming more comfortable during this second season with the light spectra and the light needs of the plant, Pierrick wanted the collaboration between RED Horticulture and himself to be based on exchange and education.
"With Pierrick it's a common learning process. He passes on to us the specificities of his culture and the environment around him and we share our knowledge on light."
Raphaël Quenum
Agronomist at RED Horticulture

Precocity, yield and quality: objectives achieved

In spite of a delicate weather spell with hot nights following a snowy episode causing the loss of several stems, Pierrick keeps productive plants and measured a 25% higher yield on the lit surface.

Concerning the earliness, the LED production was ready 10 days ahead of the rest of the production. However, for Pierrick, the most important fact is the earliness of the production peak:

"The plants under artificial lighting reach their peak production three weeks after the first harvest, as opposed to the usual five weeks. It's interesting because that's when prices are highest."
Pierrick Leost
Strawberry grower
While yield is of primary importance, taste quality is just as important. The objective is accomplished with brix rates largely superior for the production equipped RED:

“Under the lit surface we measured brix rates going all the way up to 12 euros against rates between 7 and 8 euros for the non-lit production”.

Pierrick emphasizes the well-being of the staff, for whom the lighting is not a nuisance.

"Some of my employees used to work in tomato production with interlights that made harvesting very difficult. Now, with the TAURUS 300, they no longer have any problems."
Pierrick Leost
Strawberry grower

An increasing production area for the next seasons

Later, Pierrick intends to increase his production area, in particular by taking over the family farm in the area of Le Relecq-Kerhuon.
He will also double his lit surface on the site of Loperhet. To both teams’ satisfaction, the successful collaboration between RED and Pierrick is just beginning.

"I invested with the idea of doubling the lit area if the results were convincing. They are very convincing and so I will have 3000m2 under LED in the next season."
Pierrick Leost
Strawberry grower