TECHNOLOGY Nora Wolske is ventilation products and controls manager for Canarm AgSystems. She has over 18 years of experience working with livestock equipment and ventilation systems. The language of LEDs What you need to know to get the best out of your lighting system. By Nora Wolske W hile on a recent farm visit, a poultry produ-cer said some-thing that really resonated with me. We were talking about lighting and he referred to the use of incandescent bulbs as “the good old days.” This made me think about how tech-nology rules our lives today. As consum-ers, we are inundated with the “newest this” or the “fastest that”, but often end up frustrated because these so-called “new and improved” products don’t al-ways work as promised. Perhaps part of the problem is that we don’t have a full understanding of how the technology works. Lighting technology in poultry barns has come a very long way in the last 10 years. I have helped many produ-cers navigate this new world of lighting and I would like to share some important tips. Although not as energy efficient as their successors, incandescent bulbs did their job well. They dimmed when we asked them to, were readily available for purchase and most of the dimmer switch-es available could control these bulbs. When compact fluorescents (CFLs) be-came available, this technology promised to be cheaper to operate and more effect-ive. Over time, the poultry industry learned the dos and donts as well as the tricks to make these bulbs work. But the transition to the latest lighting 18 CANADIAN POULTRY technology, the Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulb, has not been as smooth. LEDs promised to save more energy than CFLs, provide a cleaner light and be more robust. Initially quite expensive, payback came in significantly reduced electrical consumption. However, this phase in the evolution of barn lighting has had many growing pains. LEDs are different First, remember that the incandescent was simple. It was a bulb that turned on when you applied power to it. It dimmed without flickering when voltage was ap-plied using simple triac technology. Today we have LED bulbs that rely on electronics inside the globe to produce light. The quality, tolerances and specifications of February/March 2018 P H O T O CRED IT S : C AN ARM A GS Y S TEMS It’s important to ask LED suppliers the right questions to ensure you make an informed decision.