Eliminating the yield gap for growers
As the cannabis industry has expanded due to more jurisdictions legalizing the production of medical marijuana or recreational cannabis, there has been an increase in demand for consistent high yield for industry production.
To eliminate the yield gap for growers, advanced cannabis cultivation technology has been developed to increase production, control environmental factors, and produce more consistent high quality cannabis. Whether you grow cannabis for recreational use or are growing medical cannabis, all growers want to eliminate the yield gap to maximize production or revenue.
The yield gap dilemma – harvesting cannabis
There is a gap between the current yield in commercial production and the maximum cannabis yield possible. Some things that are critical to the yield and quality of cannabis growers can improve are light quality, intensity, source, and photoperiod. The light spectrum is important to photosynthesis in certain strains when growing marijuana. Other things that can have a strong effect on plant growth are temperature and irradiance levels.
Scientific Approach to cultivating cannabis
Scientific studies have been and are being done on how to create advanced cannabis cultivation but there is still a lot of research to be continued in the cannabis industry.
Studies have found that environments that are drier and CO2 enriched with high intensity lighting stimulates high photosynthetic activity. Different varieties of cannabis may respond differently to production conditions. But science shows there are some stable environment enhancers like LED lighting which increases power-use efficiency and plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) which increases nutrient efficiency and can regulate most growers’ cannabis yield. More specific to varieties of marijuana, nutrients may have an effect not only on the crop yield but also on the levels of THC and CBD. Science has shown that making the flowering period longer can impact yields and THC levels in a good way, this can be done by reducing the vegetative period.
What are the advancing cannabis cultivation techniques?
Advanced cannabis cultivation is about refining and improving the grow space for plants.
There are a few ways you can go about cannabis cultivation. The different methods of advanced cannabis growing techniques commercially are:
- Hydroponically: In this method cannabis growers don’t use soil to grow their plants. In deep water culture (DWC) the whole plant sits directly in an oxygenated, nutrient-rich solution that goes straight into the roots. Many growers like this method because the plants tend to grow faster and bigger with this solution due to not having to waste energy searching for food and water in traditional soil. Hydroponics gives growers control to provide nutrient uptake for optimal growth of their plants.
- Organically: Organic cultivation uses soil and plant or manure-based composts. Living microbes slowly break down into the soil and release nutrients to the cannabis plant. The process can require more labor but you are able to claim that your cannabis is organic which can be good for the selling purposes.
- Hybrid: This method is most used by facilities that have a main focus of mass production at an affordable price. The plants are grown in beds of soil adapted with organic materials and growers feed the plants water-soluble hydroponic nutrients. Growers are able to control the nutrient requirements this way.
How Microbes For Cannabis Can Close The Yield Gap
A diverse soil structure of microorganisms contributes to healthier cannabis production. Microbes such as rhizobacteria can be associated with promoting plant growth. Rhizobacteria is beneficial bacteria that is deep within the soil molecules in land where the roots of the plant push through when searching for food and water. Some benefits of the plant growth-promoting bacteria are:
- Enhancing mineral nutrition, better nutrient uptake
- Producing plant hormones or other molecules that stimulate plant growth and plant defenses biotic and abiotic stresses
- Protecting plants against pathogens
Rhizobacteria has also been found to be helpful in not only soil but all environments where roots grow. Plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) makes a big difference in cannabis production. It reduces time between growth cycles because the soil is healthy. Plants grown outdoors can also ‘weather the storm’ better with rhizobacteria because it supports soil texture and structure.
How to Incorporate Rhizobacteria In Cannabis Cultivation
It is recommended to cannabis producers to incorporate rhizobacteria into your growth of cannabis sooner rather than later. Use it as a preventative measure before you realize your growing plants have signs of issues in their soil. When used as a preventative measure cannabis growers can reduce their costs while maximizing their crop yield in both weight and quality.
Some tips about incorporating microbes into your cannabis cultivation include:
- Use regularly
- Don’t compact the soil
- Incorporate plant-based fertilizers
The best method of growing cannabis will depend on your needs. If you’re growing to sell a whole flower to a dispensary growing in a greenhouse or hydroponically indoors may be the best method for you. If you’re growing for mass production and extraction you could do a hybrid approach of a greenhouse and outdoors.
Growing cannabis clones can be a faster method in the growing process. Clones are a more mature seedling that are ready for the flowering stage. Other ways to speed up the growing process and get to the flowering period if you don’t want to use clones would be to have control over the growing conditions. When growing in a high-tech greenhouse with environmental controls your crops will grow faster because you can provide them with the right care and not have to rely on inconsistent outdoor weather conditions.
To grow your plants faster and make them bigger, controlling the environment they’re growing in can work to your advantage. If you are growing in a greenhouse with grow lights, temperature control, and other environmental controls, your crop yield will be faster and bigger. Using the hydroponics cannabis cultivation method produces larger plants and bigger yields because the nutrient-rich solution is delivered straight to the roots.