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Changes made in Dutch cannabis research facility

In yesterday's article, we discussed the morning program of the Dutch cannabis day that was held last Monday. Now let's move on to the afternoon, where visitors could expect another research facility visit. This time, at Cultivation for Compounds.

Changes made
Cultivation for Compounds is a consortium that runs for 4 years total. They have been doing research for two years now at their two research compartments at Vertify. Kjell Sneeuw from Cultivators gives a research update and explains that some changes were made since last year.

"We now grow in gutters instead of on tables," Kjell says. "We started with tables with the airflow coming from underneath the table. However, we had some trouble with botrytis. This was happening because we couldn't get a homogeneous distribution of air throughout the compartment, resulting in certain areas building up in moisture and heat. Back then, we were growing a variety that was already sensitive to botrytis, so it was basically a recipe for disaster. We had to make some changes."

After consulting with a member of the Cultivators team who is a climate expert, they came up with a solution. "We take out the tables and build gutters. Again, with the airflow coming from underneath. But this time as a unified approach, all the air will enter from the bottom and through the gutters, being able to reach the plants on both sides. Whereas a table is closed from the bottom, the gutters have of course open spaces in between. It has really improved the distribution of moisture in the compartment and we have now greatly reduced the occurrence of botrytis," Kjell says.

Research insights
So what research is being conducted? "Biobest has been testing a new type of predatory mite: Pronematus. It was already known that it established on cannabis and that it was feeding on unwanted mites. Yet as a by-effect of another research, they saw that plants treated with Pronematus got lower rates of powdery mildew. It turns out that it doesn't only eat unwanted mites, it also eats mildew."

DCM has been testing different fertilizer strategies. "Results showed that under the total organic cultivation strategy, remarkably more roots are formed"

In the compartments, plants from F1 SeedTech are used. "We use it because we get a very strong start from the seeds. It's very space-efficient and also really resistant to botrytis. With the Miss Beauty variety, we haven't had a single spot of botrytis so far."

Together with Fluence, Cultivation for Compounds is looking at different lighting strategies. "Specifically for the early phases of the crop. How can we use light intensity to our advantage to create a strong root growth. For germination, right after emergence we quickly bring the light up to 250 ╬╝mol to stop the seedlings from stretching and to prepare them for the production environment. For the vegetative phase, we keep the light intensity a little lower. Afterwards, we ramp up the light intensity. After that, the plant is running at full capacity."

Grodan has been doing research on irrigation strategies. "The results showed that with a high water content in the block, we got a lot more production. We think that's because we grow under such high light intensity and under quite a lot of heat. So the roots need all of this water and these nutrients to keep pace with the upper part of the canopy."

For more information:
World Horti Center