There are many voices in the industry saying that the cannabis market will be similar to the brewery one, with two separate segments: mass produced commodities sold for a relatively cheap price, and premium-quality product aimed at those more educated consumers. Both of these can be extremely profitable, provided that a grower is capable of growing cannabis while efficiently managing the economics of production.
When it comes to growing cannabis, there are many different styles of cultivation that one can use, and each of them is going to deliver different levels of quality for different shelves and different consumers. “Cannabis can be a spectacularly profitable crop,” Phil Gibson, Vice President of Marketing at AEssenseGrows says. “In order to maximize profits, careful planning is required, especially with regards to the type of consumer a grower wants to satisfy. Superior quality buds require a superior cultivation methodology and equivalent environmental control choices.”
AEssenseGrows is a company focused on providing growers with aeroponic systems for the cultivation of premium-grade cannabis. “It is critical to understand the economies of scale,” Phil points out. “Any new technology has to be compared to current methods and offer profitability to justify the new investment. That’s how you get your production volumes up and lower your cost of production to make your products more attractive moving forward.” That is exactly where AEssenseGrows comes into play today.
Photo courtesy of Farmagrowers
“Aeroponics increases yields and eliminates the labor related to moving buckets of soil around and brings the cost of production down for our customers,” he says. “In so doing, it lowers the prices they can charge their customers for superior product. Aeroponics gives them a technology edge in their market so they can put their competitors on the defensive. Aeroponics utilizes a perfect combination of nutrition and light cycles to optimize taste and flavor: you can tune the nutrition, the irrigation and the light cycle so that you get the flowers that you want.” That is why AEssenseGrows systems are equipped with individual dosing units. “And now we are looking at how to optimize that environment for flexible farming of fresh produce as well. We can optimize the batches, the germination times, and the grow cycle to deliver premium-grade produce to local consumers directly from plant to table.”
Photo courtesy of Agrios Global Holdings
AEssenseGrows originated with aeroponics for food production; then, they discovered that cultivators wanted to use their systems for cannabis, the profits were overwhelming in the premium segment of the cannabis market, and a new target emerged. “Especially in the US, the majority of cultivators grow in soil, coco, or rockwool, thus having a number of problems exactly because of that,” he points out. “It is easier for plants to experience issues and there's an increased pest management pressure.” To explain the difference between growing in soil and growing in aeroponics, Phil gives an example. “It’s like comparing a modern Tesla automobile with a horse and buggy,” he says. “Yes, back then, everyone used to go around with beautiful horses, and there were a lot of stables and blacksmiths doing shoeing for horses. But that’s not going to keep up with the Tesla.” In other words, it is true that there are methods that are proven to be effective; but as time goes on, more innovative and more efficient methodologies show up, and it is up to forward-looking people to pick them up and capitalize on their technological advantage.
Photo courtesy of Farmagrowers
According to Phil, aeroponics is at the beginning of the adoption curve, and it is only a matter of time before more and more growers will start growing in aeroponics. “There is an intrinsic efficiency advantage relative to the way in which plants are grown,” he says. “Plants grow healthier and faster and are easier to harvest and replant, thus allowing a grower to have more cycles during the year. More cycles means more velocity and more revenue, at the end of the day.” AEssenseGrows’ precision sensors and software are constantly being updated and optimized for new and improved recipes, allowing growers to grow the best quality cannabis with peace of mind. “The secret is of course are sensors. Data and repeatability are extremely important, and relying on them allows growers to be able to know what’s going on inside the plant during every stage of growth.”
The cannabis industry is still at a rather infant stage, and there is a long way to go in this market. “Commercial pressures will continue to increase in cannabis to become as efficient as in other horticultural operations,” he says. “We are spot on in this market and completely focused on providing growers with the tools to allow them to grow the best quality cannabis, to lead their competitors into the future.”