Blog posts for BrainGrid.org
You make it sound easy. What can go wrong in a situation where you are expecting a nine-week harvest and it isn’t happening on schedule. What could be going wrong?
For example, adequate CO2 levels are critical. Not having the right levels can slow down the process by at least three or four days or the plants don’t grow to their full potential. So if your planning to have 30 cm tall plants and on the third week you don’t have enough CO2, the plants will take another week until they reach the 30 cm height that you expected. Same goes for watering and amount of fertilizer, in terms of frequency of feedings. It all must be correlated to the stage of the plant.
Another example is about 60 to 70 percent of the plant’s growth occurs in the first hour of the day. So, if you don’t provide enough CO2 in that first hour of the day then you’ve lost a day or half of a day. Over a week it begins to accumulate and plants will be 60cm tall instead of 80cm tall. All these little things add up and become critical to the success of the operation.
How do you measure quality as a grower?
If you look at a variety, let’s say for argument’s sake, White Widow and we know that we should expect 19 to 22 percent THC, if you’re not a precise grower you may harvest in eight and a half weeks because it is an eight and a half week variety, however, you won’t get the full potential of the THC, so maybe only 13-15 percent. You have to provide the plants with the full complement of tools in order to get their full potential. Also, the yield might be lower if you don’t have the right environmental recipe.
How do you leverage data to optimize a grow?
Basically, it’s all about collecting data and implementing the accumulated knowledge from what you have collected.
I used to turn a plant over and look at the roots to give me a good indication of the health of the plant. If the roots are brown it will take another three days until I see the results on the leaves – meaning I would have lost 3 days in my harvest cycle. If I can determine, before I burn the roots, what caused them to burn, I can eliminate that loss. If I am collecting real-time pH levels, for example, I’ll be able to avoid that damage rather than to see the damage on the roots and two days later to see damage on the leaf. It’s important to use technology to keep an eye on the elements, and to prevent mistakes before they happen.
Only by collecting data and tracking all the elements whether it’s temperature fluctuation or whether it’s humidity fluctuation or the best time to give CO2, will you have a successful harvest?
I encourage each grower to do as much of trial and error as possible because you only learn from mistakes. But, if you don’t collect the data from your mistakes and begin to analyze that data – then you haven’t learned anything.
Leveraging more scientific approaches and new technologies will definitely help growers with the success of their operation. I’m excited to see more and more cultivators moving in this direction.
Last week we sat down with Master Grower, Shlomo Booklin, Braingrid’s Cultivation Expert, to learn a bit about his techniques that have made him so successful in the Cannabis industry.
1) Shlomo, what is your background and experience as a horticulturist?
I grew up in Jerusalem and studied agriculture. I was lucky enough to work for some very large companies in Israel. After a number of years, I moved to Australia and managed a large flower operation.
I stayed in Austraila for about three and a half years exporting cut flowers to Japan. After that, I moved to Portugal where I managed a facility that exported young plants to Europe – mostly Poinsettias. We did an average of six to eight million plants every season which translates to 250,000 plants per week. I had to arrange to ship a month in advance, so I had to order the truck weeks before I had the plant in the ground meaning everything had to run like a Swiss clock.
In 2002 I moved to Canada. Initially, I worked in a couple of big facilities in B.C. They were about two and a half million square feet of glasshouse growing flowers. In early 2014 I was approached by one of the first LP’s in Canada. They wanted someone that had experience with large-scale facilities to turn the facility into a more modern operation. I helped them design the irrigation system, layout and SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures).
I then moved to Toronto and joined MedReleaf. I designed a new irrigation system and switched them from normal, very expensive fertilizer to rockwool and a custom recipe, reducing their costs from thirty thousand dollars a month to about two thousand dollars a month!
I did that for a year before I became a consultant, working with many new LP’s in Canada, Colombia, Portugal and Greece.
2) What are some of the things you look for that result in a successful high-yield high-quality outcome?
It’s a combination of a couple of things but you must have a good strain from excellent mother stalk to start with, and it can’t be susceptible to disease or powdery mildew which is one of the biggest problems in the industry. Newer and more sophisticated commercial methods are also key like control systems and fertigation systems while collecting and monitoring data will increase the productivity, yield and of course the quality. Consistency is something that is really lacking and it’s critical, especially for medical cannabis. Yield and quality are important but equally important is consistency – harvest after harvest.
Once we have established a good way to grow we will make it into an SOP which will help tremendously in maintaining the consistency level and lead to branding which puts a grower ahead of the competition.
But if we look at it from the medicinal standpoint, consistency with the right balance of CBD, THC, CBN and terpenes is definitely something that is critical when you are treating a specific condition. The levels need to precise. It isn’t a fine art – it’s a science!
3) How do you manage the timing of the harvest?
You need to follow strict SOP’s which lets you know that this particular plant is supposed to be harvested on a specific day. You can be accurate within a day or two. That enables you to plan your production schedule.
I think most of the growers who calculate what the yield potential is and divide that by the days of operation they will recognize the value of each day lost in the production. It can be anywhere between $10,000 dollars a day to $50,000 dollars a day. It’s a lot of money.
4) So you touched on a number of things. One is the time it takes for harvest, second is repeatability and the third is collecting information so that you can achieve that repeatability. What are some of the things you need to maintain a consistent harvest?
The idea would be to get between five and six harvests in a year. I personally like to work with cultivars that are eight to nine weeks. I can predict timing within a day or two window.
The second thing, obviously, is collecting data during the growth cycle so that you provide the plants with the right recipe of food depending on the cycle of the grow.
Each stage requires different temperatures, humidity, CO2 and different frequency of watering and fertilizer regimes. So, once you track all that data and you have it quantified it’s almost like a mathematical graph, you can execute.
It’s easy to repeat because you’ve established that on day 25 you have to give, let’s say 1500 ppm CO2, and a specific recipe to fertilize etc.. it’s only a matter of repeating the same thing, again and again, cycle after cycle after cycle. That is the key to success!
In part 2 we touch on variable risks, measuring quality, and optimizing a grow with data!
Our CEO, Michael, gave an interview to cannabistech.io describing his vision for a data-driven cannabis grow.
Braingrid is honoured to be receiving a Business Impact Award at the 2017 IoT Evolution Expo, held this year in Fort Lauderdale on February 7-10. This award is given out to companies that have successfully implemented IoT solutions which solve business problems, improve efficiencies and drive revenue opportunities.
We are very grateful for this recognition, and look forward to presenting on how Braingrid’s low-cost platform can capture and control critical business heartbeats to optimize operations across any industry sector or function.
Toronto, Ontario – Dec.1, 2015: Braingrid Corporation has unveiled its “Sentroller” – a wireless internet gateway and software platform designed to enable solar energy system providers the opportunity to offer an economical monitoring service for any smaller scale and/or remote photovoltaic (PV) power station.
The Sentroller internet gateway connects to the system inverter before transmitting data collected over Braingrid’s proprietary 900MHz wireless system. The software platform then processes the data collected from multiple data loggers at multiple locations, enabling stakeholders to manage each power station remotely.
The Sentroller solar energy monitoring platform, including independent internet gateway and reporting software, is available for as low as $4.00 (CDN) per month, per system.
This announcement follows other recent Braingrid news highlighting the Sentroller’s one year, field proven anniversary in Fort Erie, Ontario.
Internet of Things World Forum 2015, Dubai:
Led by CEO and founder Michael Kadonoff, the Braingrid team will be presenting the Sentroller by appointment at the 2015 Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF). Hosted by Cisco Systems, the invitation exclusive event will be held in the United Arab Emirates at the Dubai World Trade Centre on December 6-8.
Braingrid Corporation is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of advanced digital communication devices and software systems that enable the monitoring and management of of “things” as they relate to the “Internet of Things (IoT).” Braingrid is energy reform simplified. (www.braingrid.org)
Braingrid is a global technology company committed to the best interests of the precision agriculture industry for the long term. We provide valuable grow information by capturing real-time data using our technology platform to increase revenues, reduce costs, risks and improve yield – making it easier for the grower to operate efficiently and effectively. Braingrid is providing the cannabis industry with powerful technologies, now and into the future. The Company is listed on the CSE under the symbol BGRD.