As the cannabis industry emerged, a whole new set of technologies became available to growers around the world. Transitioning from small-scale to large-scale operations requires growers to be particularly in tune with their growing equipment, as there are many parameters to have under control, which needs to be adjusted according to the situation. Therefore, growers started looking not only for information on best cultivation practices, but also information on how to better use the vast array of technologies at their disposal. Bluelab is a company focused on measurement, monitoring and control of pH, EC, moisture and temperature. In addition to that, Bluelab was one of the first horticultural tech companies to serve the cannabis space, and they have been aware of the necessity of education for operators since the beginning. “Even though many growers could make technological solutions work, a great number of them did not know how to use them properly – to get the most out of them. This is exactly where our Growers Success Workshop program comes into play”, Cindy Farnsworth with Bluelab points out.
The importance of education
“We came to retail stores and offered retailers to train them on our meter. Part of our training was on our meter, and part of that was on the importance of pH and other parameters. We started in January 2011 with training the stores. We’ve trained more than 1,500 stores thus far. In this way, they themselves could help growers to be successful.” As she takes care to remark, this came from an education perspective: “There was a need to educate people on the importance of meters, pH levels and so on.”
According to her, the next step was to educate growers on the importance of being in tune with the equipment and how to keep it. “This is why we created A Grower’s Workshop Program,” she says. “We saw that multiple growers had problems with equipment, as they kept upscaling and becoming bigger and bigger. The turnover was very high, also,” Jon Greene with Bluelab explains. “Therefore, head growers had a very hard time taking care of all of that. So, we started going there, and talk to these guys. We wouldn’t teach them how to grow, but we would teach them how to take care of the equipment: troubleshooting, cleaning, calibrating, hydrating. By going there and teaching these guys, we found that they did a better job. Just the fact of going there and educating them, releases a lot of pressure from them.”
Achieving consistency is a big challenge
Consistency is the big goal that every cannabis company aims at, especially if they plan to tackle the medical market. However, since many growers transitioned from small-scale to large-scale operations, achieving consistency is one of the biggest challenges. “Bluelab is instrumental in helping growers preserve quality while making that transition. Our tools are designed to achieve consistency,” Caroline Nordahl Wells with Bluelab says. “Our Pulse Meter has been developed exactly for that.”
One of the issues that makes achieving consistency difficult is the high level of turnovers between growers. “However, the Pulse meter shows moisture content, EC and root zone temp,” Jon remarks. “This knowledge can then be passed on to other growers working in a facility, and a new head grower can pick up from there and keep doing the same job as the old one, thus achieving consistency all the time,” says Jon. “There was a grower that was struggling a lot, but he could not figure out what was wrong with his grow. Therefore, we visited him, and we found out that the moisture level was incredibly high. So, he adjusted that, he saved on water nutrients and saved his crop from being watered down,” he recounts.
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