Gilad Krakower, founder and CEO of Quiclone

"By using clones, you know that you are using strong, healthy, and predictable plants"

The cannabis market is becoming increasingly competitive, with a growing number of countries and producers joining this young business. Exactly because the industry is so young, and considering also the status of cannabis in the past years, a number of growers had a hard time producing high-quality cannabis with consistency. Large-scale cannabis cultivation is a very complex endeavor, and the variables that affect the successfulness of such a crop are many.

Starting off optimally
One of the most important things is of course the starting materials. Some growers rely on seeds and feminized seeds, which, however, do not ensure a successful cycle. “There are many risks associated with using seeds and feminized seeds,” Gilad Krakower, founder and CEO of Quiclone, explains. “You are never fully certain about the germination rate. On top of that, feminized seeds can be very unstable, and therefore they might have some issues that are not clearly visible in the beginning. Additionally, exactly because they are unstable, it might happen that one of these seeds is actually a male. The consequences of such an event can be potentially disastrous for every operation.”

At the same time, starting from seeds is not the only way to commence producing cannabis at scale. “One could use rooted cuttings, or clones,” Gilad further explains. “With clones, you can be sure that the plant won’t turn into a male, first of all. But most importantly, the rooting time is extremely shorter, which is only of 4 to 14 days, as well as plants’ predictability: by using clones, you know that you are using strong, healthy plants whose output would be a specific one.”

Thanks to the shorter rooting time, the efficiency of a cannabis operation would increase exponentially. “Which means that you basically take the clones and just place it in the grow room. Generally speaking, it would be ideal to plant new clones every week as well as harvest every week: in such a way, you constantly have fresh supplies, and the output never stops.”

An automated aeroponic system
Therefore, in order to root healthy and strong clones, Quiclone has developed a fully automated aeroponic system capable of producing more than one thousand clones each time. “Generally speaking, one of the most delicate parts of cloning is the watering,” he says. “Clones need the perfect amount of water in order for them not to experience any stress, which might ultimately compromise the goodness of the plant. In our system, however, our system is aeroponic, and therefore it saves up a lot of labor. Employees only need to prepare the fertilizers in the water tank, and then the system’s automation takes care of the rest: it keeps track of the pH levels, the water temperature, and watering intervals can also be implemented.”

According to Gilad, growing clones from plugs is not only more labor-intensive, but it also requires additional equipment. “You’d need to buy shelves, racks with light, other than needing additional HVAC power, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, automation controllers and so on. But with our machine, if it is placed in a room at a temperature between 3 and 38 degree Celsius, it does not need any heating, A/C, or dehumidification, as all the automation built in the system takes care of keeping everything stable.” Therefore, Gilad points out that cloning with such a system would save money and labor, but also space. “Because of said automation, you don’t have to place additional equipment in the room. Growers can now expand their production capacity without necessarily increasing their working area thanks to an ATS (Advanced Tubing System) rooting tray design that prevents cross rooting (meaning more cutting can be fitted in a tray). A small foot print of (140cm length x 68cm width x 216cm height) also allows more machines to be fitted in a small area.”

“Thanks to all the features our system is equipped with, growers can increase their revenue by having shorter rooting times and higher yield. The automation aspect is also particularly important, as it allows substantial savings on labor, electricity, water, and fertilizers.”

Gilad continues saying that as more countries and growers will come online, more opportunities will come up, which at the same time would increase the competition in the cannabis market. “And this is why it is of the utmost importance to rely on stable and consistent high-quality production. One way to achieve this is by using clones, thus ensuring the highest stability, reducing cycle times and guaranteeing genetic consistency. I do also see that such systems might be placed in stores, so that customers visiting such shops can pick up a clone and grow it on their own.”

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