The challenge for a medical cannabis grower is to be able to produce a uniform, and therefore reliable, end product. The end product must consistently be of the same quality. Technically, you quickly end up with indoor cultivation or a closed greenhouse system. In this way you keep natural influences at bay as much as possible, which benefits the product. We spoke to someone from Delphy: “When we enter a cannabis cultivation company in America, it seems like science fiction. It's so clinical. I do understand it. Malicious residues are quickly found. Pesticides, from nearby companies, and metal particles (via dust) are blown in through vents and cracks. That is really not allowed. So pollution is lurking.”
Starting material is the starting point
Medical cannabis products meet strict conditions. The producer indicates in advance how high the content of THC and CBD is. The deviation may then only be 10%. That is a narrow margin. Incidentally, the cultivars are decisive in this. The cultivars determine the level of the ingredients (THC and CBD). By obtaining tissue culture or cuttings from a mother plant with the correct ingredients, you can grow genetically identical plants. This gives you a uniform crop with equivalent ingredients. Breeding is receiving a lot of attention. Delphy does not breed itself, but it does have close contacts with those parties.
In order to be able to deliver a constant product, the crop is controlled accordingly. Delphy's experiments have already yielded a lot of valuable insights. Thus far, tests have been done mainly on light, substrate, starting material and the addition of biostimulants. The use of two types of light has been examined: deep red-blue and deep red-white spectrum. This test was not done in an indoor setup, so the incidence of natural light could not be ruled out. Delphy: “We saw no significant difference in these tests between these two types of light. It is expected that these differences will increase if cultivation is completely closed and the influence of natural light is not present.”
Delphy's cannabis trials have so far been conducted on coconut substrates. It showed the results of the block were better on a mat. An additional advantage was that the plant is easier to move on a block. Rockwool substrates will also be used in the new trials. Delphy: “Because rockwool is a very uniform product with different qualities than coconut substrate, it is interesting to see what the crop growth is like here. Each substrate has its qualities and advantages and disadvantages. It is important to be aware of these differences and ultimately make a conscious choice about them.”
Last year, a whole arsenal of biological control agents was used in Delphy's cannabis trials. They can handle thrips, spider mites, aphids and whitefly. Mildew and, especially Botrytis, are fungi for which biological agents are not yet permitted. To this end, climatological actions must be undertaken and, last but not least, biostimulants must be used. With beneficial fungi in the soil and a throbbing assimilates and moisture balance, you make the plant stronger, making it less susceptible to diseases and pests.