So in late 2008 we made a choice to invest in some artificial grow lights to assist in giving us more favourable conditions when our shade pattens are at there worst in the mid winter months.
The Telstra Dome (now called Etihad stadium) in Melbourne were the first venue in Australia to use the new Gro Light system and have had great success with them, they have reduced the need to make mass turf replacement as they have done in previous years.
So with nothing but positive results and reports from the system and the quality of turf being able to be maintained for a much longer period of time we threw our hat into the ring and purchased 6 large units and 2 small units
The units when in there folded up mode take up as much space as a bus and when they are opened cover just on 400m2 each, each unit contains 60 bulbs at 600 watts each. What the lighting units have brought to us is the ability to increase surface temperature, create longer light growing hours and dry the surface due to the heat the lamps omit.
After the completion of each match the units are erected on the arena, a task that takes 2 hours, powered up and on cloudy days run 24hours per day and on open sunny days only run during the night. A few changes in cultural practices were required, when the units are out you can not irrigate, it is difficult to spray and mow, so timing of all these processes are critical.
However we are learning to deal with it. Rain does not affect the units only moisture from underneath due to the heat generated by the globes.
The photos are the units erected in open mode on the arena, they look quite impressive when all powered up and so far are tilting conditions in our favour. They are quite often used in conjunction with our Ground Germination Matts which we use to generate a quick seed strike.
The lighting units are11.83m long x 2.26m wide x 2.54m high.
When opened light up an area of over 360m2.
Run 60 armatures type 600 watt globes.
Have 60 light fittings units per rig.
Each unit weighs 1.6 tonne
Each extension cable we run to each rig is 50m in length and 25mm in diameter