Jelle Boeters, Stolze

“Focus is key when starting a new cultivation facility”

Many people are interested in joining the cannabis industry nowadays. Dutch installation company Stolze has a long background in horticultural engineering and has been active in the cannabis industry for several years now. Jelle Boeters with Stolze talks us through the key topics when starting a cannabis venture.

“The major discussion points in the cannabis sector currently are about the basic cultivation matters. Water, light and fertilization for example”, Jelle starts off. “Starting a facility requires thinking more broadly, including topics like the size of your company, the varieties you’re looking to grow, and the logistics in the facility. Technically there are many possibilities. With Stolze we provide growing installations custom made and help growers realize the system they want. It is all done based on the grower’s wishes: How a grower wants to treat the plant.”

Jelle Boeters, commercial technical advisor with Stolze

“Humidity is a major issue, since it directly affects the health of plants and disease pressure. Then there’s the various growing phases affecting the way a facility will be designed. Think through how to design the starting phase where the motherstock is being cut, how you will take care of widening for the vegetative phase and finally the installation for the flowering stage and processing area.”

Research and experience
In contrast to the many horticultural vegetable projects Stolze is active in, there is a lack of broadly accepted knowledge on growing in cannabis cultivation. “Luckily we can rely on ongoing research projects and knowledge from the greenhouse industry, making it possible to optimize the facility. One thing’s for sure: in cannabis, focus is key”, he adds. “You have to get straight what you want to focus on before you start growing. The installations necessary for growing for different markets differ,” he says. “Do you want to grow for the medical, or recreational market? Growing for recreational use can be seen as easier than growing for medical use. Medicinal growers have to comply with strict regulations and deliver consistent quality product year-round to comply with the rules.”

Focus on the final product
Focus on the final product should be at the base of the choice for cultivation options like growing in an indoor farm or a greenhouse. “There’s different opportunities for the various cultivation facilities, affecting the cost price. Indoor growing is often grown on tables, while most of the greenhouses grow in gutters. Indoor facilities are often smaller and much more precise, while greenhouses are often much larger operations and have more opportunities to lower the cost price by spreading out the technical investment over a larger amount of plants,” Jelle continues. “Then there’s the light, a very important subject in cannabis growing. In greenhouses too you need to be able to supplement with lighting during the winter, because there will not be enough natural light coming in to get the plant to grow optimally. Still, the light that enters the building has its effect on the cost price of the final product. The knowledge from vegetable horticulture and help of partners like Signify makes it possible for us to help growers with the amount of light to be added, taking into account the need of the plant and the location of the facility.”

“When growing indoors, the total amount of light needed for the plants does not change, but the amount of supplemental light that is needed is obviously much higher. Combined with the logistic(-s) opportunities and the upscaling, it makes the greenhouse an interesting choice for optimizing the cost price – if it suits the product you want to grow. The preciseness of indoor farms allows possibly better control of the final product, since the total light given to the plants can be controlled.”

He explains how that will also be one of the main chances for the future: more knowledge on the crop in for example the light recipes. “We know that lighting has an effect on THC and CBD levels. If we can figure out what that impact is, it will help growers further develop their facilities for particular markets. As said: technically there (are) many possibilities and for us it is important to know from the start what a grower is looking for. That said, it makes that one of the most important things in this sector is getting to know what you want – and don’t change your ideas too many times. Keep your focus on your final product.”

For more information:
Stolze
Jelle Boeters
Commercial Technical Advisor
T +31 174 513 779 
info@stolze.nl 
stolze.nl  


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