What if I told you that your canopy wasn’t as effective as it could be? What if you couldn’t see it, but each day so many photons that we can’t even quantify them, were going from your roof or your lights right through to the ground.

Let There Be Light
Let There Be Light

Carl Silverberg, Sr. VP Outreach & Public Affairs | iUNU

We all know that light is the key to producing a good crop whether it’s cannabis, produce or flowers. Too much of it and you certainly can’t get much of a cannabis crop, too little of it and your crop isn’t what it should be. 

What if I told you that your canopy wasn’t as effective as it could be? What if you couldn’t see it, but each day so many photons that we can’t even quantify them, were going from your roof or your lights right through to the ground. As one grower put it, “Sunlight hitting the bench is money down the drain.”

Again, you may not see it but let’s say your bench of 140 plants could actually accommodate 150 plants. That’s because you really don’t care how much light filters down to the bottom two thirds of your plant. All you really care about is the canopy. And, let’s say that you had eight benches in each of your greenhouses and your overall facility has five greenhouses. 

Even if you only get six cycles a year, start doing the math. You grow x pounds per bench. Multiply that times eight benches for each greenhouse and then multiply that times the five greenhouses you have. Now, multiply the number of pounds by six for the cycles in a year. That’s what you have now. 

How much more would you have if you added 80 plants in each of your five greenhouses and you did that six cycles a year? I don’t care how much money you’re already getting per pound, are you sure that you don’t want another 400 plants each cycle? 

In order to do that, you need to know exactly where is the optimal place to put the extra ten plants on each of those eight benches in those greenhouses. If you have a computer vision system that tracks everything going on in your greenhouse, you can do it easily. If you don’t, you’re going to have to sit on the rafters, with a pair of binoculars and look at every single plant on every single bench and try to figure out where there is space. 

If you enjoy hanging from the rafters and examining 1,200 plants in each greenhouse, well, that’s a different story. Because, you also want to be sure each plant is getting optimal sun which means that when you’re not looking through binoculars, you’re walking around with a yardstick and measuring each of those 1,200 plants. And, you’re doing that every single day of the cycle, six cycles a year. 

This gets us back to the overall problem which is ensuring that you focus on increasing your canopy to its maximum capacity so that at best, as few photons as possible make it onto the bench and all the rest go onto the leaves. Absent that, each time you start a new crop you are losing money on each bench, in each greenhouse, six times a year. 

A former grower with a large California cannabis company put it best. “Some strains need more light, some need less. Some need warmer climates, and some need cooler climates. The trick is to identify which strains should go on which benches based on those criteria.”

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AgriTechTomorrow

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