Tuesday July 9, 2019
Since 2014 and the start of adult-use retail cannabis in the United States, people have been referring to how the cannabis industry has finally, “moved out of the basement.” The phrase extends to all sorts of cannabis activity, but feels especially poignant in reference to grows. Commercial cannabis cultivation has come worlds away from the underground, finally allowed to adopt the more advanced grow practices of other agricultural industries, as well as innovate its own. An array of ever-improving technology is being integrated into modern grows, and as cannabis reformation continues to sweep through the US and abroad, that trend is only going to increase.
Advancements in Cannabis Grow Technology
When it comes to technological advancements in the cannabis cultivation realm, there are seemingly endless possibilities. New companies are creating products and processes every day that are catered specifically toward improving the overall efficiency of growing marijuana, leaving businesses who don’t adopt new technology in the dust. That’s why it’s becoming more and more important for cannabis growers and business owners to stay on the cutting edge. Thankfully, there are some great resources available to help, like Higher Yields Cannabis Business Consultants. Higher Yields has designed and built over 1 million square feet of cannabis cultivation facilities and their team of experts is well-versed in helping business grow cannabis at the highest caliber possible. Check out some of the areas of innovation consultants like Higher Yields can help with:
Automation in cannabis grows used to amount to adding a Christmas-light timer to your hood lights. Today, it can extend anywhere from dynamic lighting cycles to precise watering and nutrient delivery systems that monitor and manage themselves. Automation not only allows for larger scaling of grows, but also better execution of grow plans, and overall increased efficiency.
The Energy Use in the Colorado Cannabis Industry 2018 report states that lighting and climate control are the two most energy-intensive equipment pieces. Such expenditures of growing cannabis heavily impact the environment, but are also concerns for cost-conscious business owners.
Solar and wind options are more affordable than ever, and new water conservation technology and energy efficient HVAC systems can drastically reduce both operating costs and environmental impact at the same time.
Mold, pests, bacteria – there are numerous contaminants that can affect the health of cannabis plants and those who subsequently consume them. Modern grows have produced a number of options for cleaner cultivation practices. From simple solutions, like using beneficial insects, to advanced humidity control and lab-grade grow rooms, modernized grows can produce some of the cleanest cannabis the world has seen.
The Benefits of Cannabis Grow Consultation
In the old days, getting grow advice meant hoping you knew a friend of a friend’s uncle with some experience. Today, not only is there a bevy of information on the topic readily available to get anyone up and running, but entire companies specializing in building and operating modern grows. Consultants can help design and build custom grows to address the future needs and concerns of the rapidly changing landscape, or identify complex issues in existing grows to offer detailed, data-driven solutions. Employing the services of a consulting firm can get you miles ahead of your competition and leave more time for research and development for other advancements within your business. Even more, consultants can offer key insight into the cannabis industry and provide solutions for problems that a business owner might not even foresee.
We spoke with Bryson Guyer of Higher Yields Cannabis to get a better feel for just how adaptive a modern cannabis cultivation facility needs to be. As Bryson explained, “There are a lot of things to take into consideration such as the types of site improvements that may be required. For example a raw piece of land 20 miles outside of the city is great for a ground-up build, but there may not be enough power or water available to keep costs low on the site improvements, deeming the property unusable to our team.” He went on to mention the importance of starting off early to avoid any lapse in efficiency. “The facilities are getting smarter and smarter. Clients see greater returns in investing greater, earlier into these projects rather than having to come back and improve areas once operational. A small margin of 2-3% could be millions of dollars of revenue to a facility that is 500,000 sq. ft or greater.”
Essentially, working with consultants can help eliminate the headaches commonly associated with designing a commercial grow operation and allow businesses to get up and running faster and more effectively – resulting in a quicker return on investment and a visible path to profitability. Additionally, as we mentioned briefly above, cannabis consulting firms can also help to incorporate technological advancements and innovation through a calculated approach that drives tangible results.
Coolest Cannabis Grow Innovations
One of the most exciting aspects of the cannabis industry is cultivation. Cannabis grow tours continue to be a popular attraction for consumers as more and more people are trying to gain insight into how a commercial marijuana grow operates. Since cannabis grow technology is so captivating for both consumers and business owners alike, we sat down with Higher Yields to check out some of their coolest builds to date.
As the Energy Use in the Colorado Cannabis Industry 2018 report states, “monitoring is the first step to lowering a cultivation’s energy costs.” When the growers leave for the day, plants continue to grow and be affected by their environments. Innovations in monitoring have allowed for growers to address these needs in extreme detail, around the clock.
Higher Yields Cannabis’ systems have the ability to detect humidity spikes or temperature abnormalities, all the way down to specific areas of a grow.
Innovations aren’t just for big grows either. There are a number of new options for self-monitoring home-grow boxes on the market for those that aren’t looking plant a small forest. Some even update you through an app on your phone, so you can check your dank the same as your bank account.
Dramatic Resource Reduction
Illegal operations can be devastating to the surrounding ecology, but the impact of legal grows is also a sizable concern. As with all things cannabis, as legalization spreads, this problem is only likely to amplify unless innovation steps in, and thankfully, it has. Higher Yields reports that with implementing newer techniques, they have been able to reduce water usage by almost 97% in some cases. Last year, San Francisco grower Sense became the first operation to run on 100% renewable energy. These types of innovations are excellent for business in the form of reduced bills (ideally, the systems will eventually pay for themselves), but also a huge benefit to the sustainability to the industry at large.
Data synergy sounds like the kind of thing accountants discuss at cocktail parties, but in practice, it may be the thing to take cannabis growing to the next level. Understanding how one part of a grow fits into the meta-understanding of the whole enables grows to maximize efficiency, output and potency. Is money being spent on nutrients when there’s actually a lighting problem? Are the genetics of the plants being grown fitting to the way the facility is designed to grow them?
Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting sees data synergy as crucial to the industry, as CEO Cory Waggoner explains “We are creating independent eco-systems within these facilities; as the industry grows bigger the margin for error becomes less and less. Without proper insight, problems can be misdiagnosed due to lack of understanding of the controls. From here it is a vicious cycle for growers as they begin to chase their tails and create bigger problems.” Data synergy is what helps figure out those problems, solve them, or even see them before they happen.
What’s in Store for the Future of Cannabis Growing?
The easy answer is that grows of the future will continue to refine and improve energy- and water-saving technology. Beyond that, it will be about looking at each step of the growing process, from building the facility to shipping off the finished product, and looking into the dusty corners, each and every light bulb and fan blade, asking, “How can we improve this?” Get ready, the future is coming.
What are some cool cannabis growing innovations you’ve discovered? Share them in the comments below!