Emerging Markets Learn From History: Plan Your Cultivation For Maximum Efficiency, Yield And Sustainability From The Beginning
While cannabis operators in mature markets like California and Colorado are experiencing the financial squeeze of taxes and falling prices, many are also staring down the capital expenditure of retrofitting their operations in order to gain efficiencies and reduce costs. Cannabis operators in emerging markets like Missouri, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Maryland, however, have an opportunity to design their cultivation facilities for maximum output from the outset while avoiding costly mistakes.
We recently connected with the team behind Thrive Agritech who shared some insights from their team of cultivation experts. Here you’ll find great tips from Joel Cheney, Director of Business Development.
LED Lights: Totally Worth It. As applicants in states like Missouri develop their capital requirements for cultivation startup, the cost of LED lights can be 3-4 times the comparative cost of high-pressure sodium, metal halide, and fluorescent fixtures, making it a pretty hard pill to swallow. Consider though, that with a 40-70% reduction in energy consumption and potential rebates, the LED fixtures can pay for themselves within a year. Additionally, including sustainable practices in your licensing application plan is a great differentiator in competitive markets. Last but not least, full-spectrum LED lights make for more healthy and robust plants throughout all growth stages; better plant morphology, root development, and node stacking are typical.
Underlighting Your Canopy. This technique enables light to be delivered to lower sections of the plants that would traditionally be less lush and dense than the canopy. Introducing light to the areas generally drives a more dense, full yield by signaling plants to increase bud production, as well as improvements in potency and terpene profiles. Increases in yield and potency can translate to a profit margin increase of 10-15%. To see this practice in action, search for the Terrapin Care Station Under Canopy LED video story on the Thrive Agritech YouTube channel.
Double Stack The Veg. This technique instantly maximizes the production and square footage of a cultivation facility by allowing a cultivator to grow more plants in the same space by going vertical. Stacking a veg space can help keep plants short, allowing them to focus their valuable energy on increasing bud size over plant height. Because LED lights reduce the heat emitted on to the plants, a cultivator can lower their mounting height and even add a third tier to a veg space. Be sure to establish appropriate airflow measures in order to balance out micro-climates at each level.