Signify and propagator Perfect Plants are expanding their collaboration on grow lights. Driving this partnership is Perfect Plant’s ambition to become a global leader in starting materials for medicinal cannabis cultivation. The company is competing for a Dutch license for legal cultivation of cannabis and recently invested in facilities for research and production. Signify supplies flexible GreenPower LED systems and specialist knowledge.
Perfect Plants, originally from the Netherlands, has a rich history in the in vitro propagation (tissue culture) of ornamental plants. Even before its acquisition by Canadian investors in 2019, the company's focus had shifted to the propagation, breeding and maintenance of food and pharma crops. "We work on dozens of crops and add value at the beginning of the chain," says Jan Jaap Stelwagen of Perfect Plants. "Ornamental plant cultivation remains important to us, but we currently see great opportunities in food and pharma crops. That's what we're investing in."
Food and pharma
In the food segment, these opportunities include the cultivation of certified mini tubers for potato seedlings. In pharma, cannabis is the leading crop. "There is significant investment in it globally, but the genetic variation is large, the quality of the starting material is very diverse and the quality for cultivation is far from homogeneous", says the production manager. "We can and want to initiate a positive change based on the knowledge of varieties, state-of-the-art propagation through tissue culture and optimization of cultivation recipes. Grow lights play a prominent role in this."
Two new climate cells
Perfect Plants has branches in the Netherlands, Canada, and South Africa. In the Netherlands, the company recently acquired two new climate cells of 35 m2 each, which were specially built for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. The fully conditioned rooms have one cultivation layer and are equipped with dimmable Philips GreenPower LED toplighting compact grow lights and the Philips GrowWise Control System.
"The right grow light is essential for the proper development of starting material and mature plants in climate cells and greenhouses," says the production manager. "Signify is much more than a supplier of LED lights in that respect. It is a valuable knowledge partner for optimizing our growing processes efficiently and serving our customers better."
Flexible grow lights
Signify's plant specialist Sabrina Carvalho focuses on cannabis cultivation and supports clients in numerous countries. "The fun and challenging part of this project is that Perfect Plants is active on many fronts, even within one crop. It propagates plants through tissue culture, it turns plantlets from tissue culture into high-quality starting material for producers, and it grows full-sized plants on a small scale," she says. "Each developmental stage of the plant places special demands on the climate and light conditions."
Carvalho's colleague Eelke Hempenius, responsible for the marketing of the biobased activities, adds: "There is a need for better and uniform plant material, for detailed knowledge of variety characteristics and for cultivation recipes that are tailored to them. Perfect Plants is one of the few companies specialized in this. Signify contributes its knowledge and expertise on grow lights. By working together and applying flexible LED installations, we can quickly realize improvements, including variety-specific light recipes. These translate into higher yields, quality improvement and lower energy costs."
Jan Jaap Stelwagen subscribes to that expectation. "Our customers include both production companies and breeders. Both groups have an interest in sound feedback and advice. There is still a lot to discover and improve in professional cannabis cultivation. We like to contribute to that by creating stable and uniform starting material for a higher yield. You also need full facilities and partners for that."
Less is more
This fits in seamlessly with the approach advocated by Signify. "Ultimately, everything is about profitability, regardless of your place in the chain," Carvalho notes. "We use our knowledge of grow lights, climate management and crops worldwide to help customers achieve higher returns. You always have to look at the yield and cost effects in conjunction with each other, especially now that energy prices have risen sharply in a short time. It strikes me that cannabis is sometimes lit with light intensities that are too high. I often say that 'Less is more.'"
Effective and efficient
Perfect Plants now has a light system that can be used effectively and efficiently in every growth phase. The strength of the collaboration lies in the fact that we share our knowledge and experience and continue to learn from each other. "This is also how we do things in other places," says Carvalho. "It is one of the reasons why Signify is at the forefront in knowledge and added value."
The climate cells have now been put into use and Stelwagen thinks his first crop is doing well. "Sabrina is making a good contribution to the process and we look forward to the next steps in our cooperation," he says.
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