Invisible But Essential

Special Report - State of the Growing Environment

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March 5, 2020

RYLAND ZWEIFEL | Adobe STock

Many key components of a cultivation operation are tangible, such as lighting, growing media, nutrient solutions, irrigation and containers. Cannabis Business Times has conducted research in some of these areas, including lighting and nutrients, to examine how cultivation companies are managing their operations and to discover trends and best practices.

“Invisible” aspects that comprise an overall growing environment like humidity, temperature and airflow can get lost in the myriad responsibilities of running a healthy, productive facility, but they are essential. Maintaining appropriate temperature, humidity and airflow levels can protect crops from pests and disease. And, unlike people, cannabis plants can’t cover up with a cardigan or take shelter when it’s too hot or cold, as noted by David Bernard-Perron of The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD) in the case study published in this report. They respond to stress differently, and those responses can greatly impact yield and cannabinoid and terpene development.

To better understand how cultivation companies manage their growing environments, CBT, with support from Hawthorne Gardening Company, conducted exclusive industry research for the first-ever “State of the Growing Environment Report.” In order to get the most meaningful results about how cultivators approach temperature, humidity, airflow and more, the report includes data only from companies that grow cannabis indoors or in greenhouses.

Cultivation has often been referred to as an art and science, as growers account for everything from balancing the multiple variables in their cultivation environments, while factoring in facility size, geographic location, the type and number of supplemental lights used, plant genetics and the cultivator’s objectives, whether focused on yield or cannabinoid or terpene content. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, which is part of the challenge and why research is so important.

This in-depth report explores everything from cultivators’ biggest challenges to their struggles with and causes of pests and diseases to their climate preferences and primary considerations in selecting HVAC systems, among others.

The case study on TGOD chronicles how the company adjusted components of its growing environment for a greatly expanded operation, and a feature by John W. Bartok, Jr.—an agricultural engineer and emeritus extension professor at the University of Connecticut—provides tips on how to prevent pest and disease outbreaks using strategic environmental control.

The “State of the Growing Environment Report” provides cultivators with the opportunity to review the strategies of their peers and compare them to their own, as well as to glean insights into best practices that can help improve their growing environments to improve yields, plant health, pest control and ultimately, profits.