More experience is gained in high-tech cannabis growing and more research is being conducted. The importance of sharing this knowledge was acknowledged by five horticultural suppliers three years ago, when they started the ACT Summit. On the third edition, organised yesterday in Las Vegas, the latest updates on this were shared.
The effects of low blue and medium blue in your light spectrum. The results of connecting your controlling tools. The importance of redundancy compared to your ROI. Circumstances required to breed varieties suited for your cultivation and the need to note all the developments on your breeding activities.
It was all discussed during the ACT Summit yesterday in the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. Organised by Signify, Prima, Svensson, Meteor Systems & Grodan over 130 people united to learn on these topics.
In a relatively new industry like the cannabis one, there are many mistakes being made and the ACT Summit provided handles to reduce these mistakes. “In the last couple of years we’ve seen dramatic issues happen”, Jody Vukas with Smart Grow Pros summarised while stressing the importance of integrated controls over setpoint controls, in order to get a complete overview and complete control over your crop. Power management, chilled water, boilers, HVAC, CO2, irrigation, your water system or water management”, he listed. “Integrating these controls make them work as a team. It will come with a price tag, but if you come to the final ROI it’s a no-brainer. Not playing on the top of your efficiency will become a struggle and will eventually result in a fail”, he stated, referring to dropping product prices in Colorado and Oregon.
Optimising efficiency requires knowledge and that’s something the team with Signify invests in heavily. LED lights gave an additional tool to steer the production, whereas before it was mainly irrigation, fertigation and climate. “Nowadays light intensity, photo period, light intensity and light schedule provide additional tools, but you need to know how to use these tools”, Martin Boerema with Signify explained. Research helped the company get more knowledge on this, for example the use of low / medium blue or white in your light recipe and the effects of this on your yield and plant shape, but also the effect of light on the rooting of cuttings and during the various growth phases and the importance on your final ROI of keeping the total light level on your crop on an optimum level during different growth stages. Spoiler alert for the next article, in what we’ll follow up extensively on this: there’s a lot being learned and a lot yet to learn.
Putting all this knowledge into real life growing is still a different story. Paul Selina with Pure Sunfarms has an extensive background in horticulture and showed last year he’s not afraid to show the challenges they deal with and how, helped by partners from horticulture, they are using techniques to overcome these challenges. Nowadays their focus is on optimising their crop and Paul explained how they keep bringing knowledge from vegetable growing to the cannabis industry, with the book Plant Empowerment as a leading guide. “We’re using the plant to drive our climate decisions and are trying to reduce the inefficiencies out of energy use”, he summarised - something that we’ll fill you up on later on as well.
After lunch, the focus was on breeding and varieties. With award-winning Scott Reach with Rare Dankenss, the various aspects of the breeding process were explored. Drawing from his many years of hands-on experience, Scott discussed with passion the challenges of making seeds from the cannabis plant, with a special focus on the technicalities and the science behind the genetics of this living organism. Among the many things discussed, one of the most important was the passion and the work necessary in order to get the most out of the cannabis plant, especially when it comes to coming up with a stable genetic. He also briefly touched upon the topic of GMO cannabis. "There are some GMO varieties that are being researched," he said. "These can be resistant to specific conditions, such as mold for instance."
Propagation for large-scale operations
The last talk was held by Douglas Jacobs with Grodan. He explored the different facets of carrying out propagation on a large-scale. He made many comparisons with chrysanthemum growers, illustrating how these carry out the propagation of hundreds of thousands of flowers according to specific and reliable procedure, that has been optimized over time. He indeed suggested that the current method of propagation for cannabis plants should be revisited, and precisely chrysanthemum growers can be a very good source of knowledge, thanks to their many years of experience on such process.
Stay tuned in the coming days for our coverage of the MJBizCon 2019!