Why do you have lights on in the evenings in your fields?

We recently received this question from some of our neighbors on Molokai. Here are a few fun facts about what we’ve been up to at our farm on Molokai.

As we’ve done in previous years, we planted about a hundred acres of “winter generation” soybeans over the last 6 weeks on our Molokai farm. Unlike the U.S. Mainland where it’s too cold right now to grow soybeans, the mild Molokai climate allows us to plant even during the winter months.

Most soybeans grow best in places with long, sunny days – like in the Midwest during the summer, where soybean crops thrive in 14 hours of sunshine every day. Hawaii doesn’t get quite that many hours of sunlight, so to help our young soybeans grow, we use night lights to mimic those long sunny days. These night lights are temporary; the crops only need them for about 6 weeks each year. We’ve also been consulting with a biologist and experts at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to ensure our night lights are compatible with local wildlife.

Thank you to our neighbors and fellow community members for your helpful comments and questions.