04 Jul Tips for getting the most out of your agricultural property lighting
Gone are the days when farmers could clock off in time for tea. Modern farmers have to work around the clock, or at least into night hours, to get jobs done. A good lighting system is essential for every farm because of this.
Whether your farm work is outdoors, indoors or a mixture of both, there are lighting systems available to help you work smarter. These can improve workflow, add convenience to chores and even reduce your operating costs. It’s also important to consider lighting from a security standpoint – they can prevent theft.
It goes without saying that not all lighting systems are created equal. And, sadly, it isn’t always as simple as installing a few light bulbs to improve things. Sometimes, an overhaul is needed to get the most out of agricultural lighting.
In this article, we’ll provide some tips to help you do the same.
Tip 1: Automate your lighting systems
‘Flicking on the lights’ can be a thing of the past on your farm. All you’ve got to do is automate certain aspects of the lighting process. Doing so adds convenience to chores and becomes second nature after a short space of time.
We recommend two things to get you started:
- Motion sensors: Motion sensors are suitable for indoor and outdoor farm areas that don’t have livestock roaming around freely. Motion-activated lighting switches on when it detects movement from something human-sized. The system then switches off when movement is no longer detected to save energy. This is perfect for lighting around your property perimeter, or in greenhouses and enclosed crop areas.
- Light timers: If you have a routine (for example, you start work at 5am and finish at 8pm), putting your lights on a timer will add convenience to your everyday tasks. You won’t have to switch lights on and off as it’ll be taken care of for you. Best of all, these timers can be adjusted seasonally. They can also be setup to incorporate your breaks and shift hours. An excellent way to make your lights work for you.
Tip 2: Replace your bulbs with LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs offer up to 90% cost savings versus fluorescent light bulbs and they’re brighter and more efficienct than incandescent light bulbs too. Best of all, LED light bulbs are available in a wide spectrum of colours.
In livestock barns, you might like to install a warmer colour for night use for when you check on animals. Dimmable, soft orange or red LED light bulbs are perfect for this. On areas of your farm where natural light is limited, and you need good visibility, such as in shearing barns, you can install 6.5-watt LED spotlights. You can put LED bulbs on a dimmer switch, so they’re adjustable, and they’re also suitable for motion sensors and timers.
Tip 3: Install dedicated security lighting
Security is an important consideration for every farm. Well-lit perimeters, livestock barns and machinery holds deter thieves. When it comes to security lighting, firstly we recommend motion-activated flood lights because they are extremely bright. These are best for covering large areas of your farm in one go.
Flood lights are available up to 400w to light up every area of your farm. They can be setup to activate when ‘tripped’, such as when an intruder strays into your vehicle lot or into the middle of one of your crop fields. Faced with being visible, thieves will usually turn and run rather than venture any further into farmland.
For smaller areas of your farm, such as doorways and in-between barns, we recommend installing encased security lighting. Encased lighting is less susceptible to being ‘smashed out’ and it should be setup to always be on. You can reduce energy consumption here by using LED light bulbs. The lights should be on a timer system, adjusted seasonally, to make sure that they’re always on at the right time.
Tip 4: Don’t forget about your farmhouse
These tips aren’t just for your farm – they’re for the farmhouse you live in too. Having your farmhouse lights on a timer and installing motion sensors will add convenience to your everyday life. It’s also absolutely essential for your safety that you install security lighting around your home to deter thieves and burglars.
The good news is even on the largest farms, these tips are cost-effective. For motion sensors, timers and LED light bulbs, budget circa £1,000.00 for a full installation. Add a few hundred pounds for spotlights and new wiring.