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Do LEDs make turkeys happy?

Posted on May 6, 2013 Category: Energy-Efficiency Articles

A new study by The Minnesota Project revealed that energy-efficient lighting such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) indoors may lead to more productive flocks among turkeys. According to Midwest Energy News, a Central Minnesota turkey farmer installed dimmable and programmable LEDs to simulate natural light patterns to help the turkeys.

Evidence from the study suggested that dimming schedules can help regulate circadian rhythms of the birds and result in healthier and more prosperous animals. The LEDs are 87 percent more efficient than the 100-watt incandescent light bulbs previously installed at the turkey farm in Eden Valley, Minnesota. Midwest Energy News said that is also allowing farmer Mike Langmo to save money on energy costs.

"Any way that we can help farmers reduce their production costs is beneficial to farmers individually and rural economies in general," said The Minnesota Project's clean energy Manager Fritz Ebinger.

One dozen farmers in Minnesota are testing out the LEDs in their turkey barns that have shown they can hold up to dusty and dirty conditions often times seen in a barn, the report stated. Due to assistance from The Minnesota Project and partner Once Innovations, more farmers are able to adopt the lighting retrofits and turn to energy-efficiency.

According to the article, LEDs give farmers control over both color and brightness and allows them to schedule dimming programs like those used in Langmo's barn. Not only are farmers interested in LEDs because of the energy savings the bulbs provide, but they also don't contain any mercury like compact fluorescent bulbs, so farmers don't have to worry about the possible dangers posed to the birds if the bulbs were to break inside the barn.

LEDs are expected to grow in popularity among farmers and in poultry barns. One of the goals of The Minnesota Project is to give rural farmers more access to rebate programs to boost interest in LEDs.

"Once you hit that tipping point of acceptance, it's going to happen really quick," said Brian Babb, head of new business development at Once Innovations. "We expect to see something in the neighborhood of 50 percent penetration in less than five years."