Lighting issues for hashish grown underneath glass versus in a extra industrial setting are quite a few. For starters, free daylight is unbelievable for saving working capital on energy prices, to not point out the varied gentle spectrums acquired from the solar versus having to duplicate these totally different spectrums with LEDs or a number of High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights. Additionally, there are growers who imagine pure daylight supplies extra crop safety advantages that synthetic, or supplementary lights, merely can’t.
Grower Thought on Lighting
Jake Van Wingerden, a third-generation greenhouse grower located alongside Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has been rising medical hashish in a customized, Dutch-style greenhouse underneath the model SunMed Growers since receiving a state cultivation license in August of 2017. Today, the operation harvests about 400 vegetation each week, supplying the state’s processors and dispensaries with about 150 kilos of high-quality (i.e., efficiency), greenhouse-produced flower and trim (the non-smokable elements of the plant which can be usually processed into different merchandise like topicals and oils).
“With cannabis, you’re judged on potency and yield; you’re not growing a plant, you’re growing a bud that has a potency associated with it,” Van Wingerden says. “It’s very different from the bedding plant world, which is all about aesthetic appeal. That is not how cannabis is judged.”
When it involves lighting issues, Van Wingerden and SunMed have discovered a direct correlation to the quantity of sunshine you give the vegetation and the yield and efficiency derived.
“Growing [cannabis] in a greenhouse is great in the summer months, because you get free sunlight every single day, as long as it is sunny,” he says. “In the winter months you don’t have that, and you have to have enough supplemental lighting to compensate, otherwise the crops are not going to be as potent and you’re not going to yield as much.”
SunMed deploys a mixture of each LED and HPS lighting within the greenhouse, and Van Wingerden believes the age-old LED vs. HPS debate is extra a query of what a person grower hopes to perform by way of his lighting techniques, versus one kind being the superior alternative.
“LEDs obviously are more expensive fixtures, but at a cheaper operating cost than HPS, which is your tried-and-true standby and fairly inexpensive from a fixture cost standpoint, but also with higher energy costs,” he says.
Bottom line, he says, is dialing in your lighting (and blackout) techniques to present the vegetation their greatest probability to succeed in top-end yield and efficiency potential. In that vein, SunMed leverages Priva greenhouse management techniques to automate lighting changes all through the rising course of, a system Van Wingerden describes as “the Cadillac of [greenhouse] control systems.”
“The plant wants as much light as possible he says. “If you grow in low light, you’re bound to get low potency and low yields. And if you grow in high light, you’ll get higher potency and higher yields.”
Lighting Manufacturers Weigh In
LumiGrow (Emeryville, CA) is a self-described “smart horticulture lighting company” specializing in LED develop gentle options enabled by way of cloud-based software program. The group has developed sensible LEDs for the greenhouse trade for the previous 10 years, in keeping with Marketing Director Brandon Newkirk.
Newkirk shares that LumiGrow’s LEDs are labeled “smart” as a result of they combine with sensors within the greenhouse to permit for on the spot changes based mostly on real-time circumstances.
Another technique that Newkirk is advocating with greenhouse hashish growers is having them dial in manufacturing practices even additional by breaking down greenhouses into totally different administration zones that may then be individually managed for a large number of variables.
“Return on investment is a big talking point right now for a lot of our clients, and it can be measured very accurately for things like yield and quality. Obviously, you need to factor a higher up-front cost with many LEDs, but you also see many growers switching to LEDs now because the payback is so fast. You’re going to pay the same amount one way or another, and our customers would rather own state-of-the-art equipment than tossing money out the window on their utility bills,” Newkirk says.
Meanwhile, Fluence Bioengineering (Austin, TX) says that greenhouse growers producing hashish must hold the product’s finish use in thoughts when designing the lighting setups.
“Whether the cannabis will be used for medicinal, recreational, or industrial purposes,” Travis Higginbotham, Global Director of Cultivation Support, says. “Each end user application, especially if the cannabis will be used in its raw form or will be processed to be used in other products, will change the environmental variables you should consider when cultivating cannabis.”
Along these traces, gentle depth and Daily Light Integral (DLI) options are amongst two of the extra essential metrics for growers to remember.
“This means a lack of high intensity lighting during cloudy days or the winter and fall, can negatively impact consistent and predictable plant production,” Higginbotham says. “DLI does not yet have a known independent impact on cannabis, outside of light intensity. However, growers should be highly aware of their facility location and natural light levels during all seasons to maximize their natural light, as well as how to set their supplemental lighting strategy.”
Higginbotham additionally says that whereas the moniker “supplemental” might maybe infer a lesser significance amongst outsiders, hashish producers should be simply as vigilant with supplemental lighting and controls within the greenhouse as the first fixtures.
“These should really be a top consideration to ensure you have the ability to manipulate photoperiods and intensity during all stages of production,” he says. “Growers should also consider the form factor of the (light) fixture for both indoor sole source lighting, as well as for greenhouse supplementation. The form factor, in a greenhouse, should not cause much shading on your crops.”