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)
Nov 25 2015 – Braingrid Corporation is pleased to announce the successful completion of its one year pilot program, field proving the capabilities of its revolutionary Sentroller solar energy monitoring technology.
Committed to energy reform and in response to market demand, in 2012 the progressive technology company developed the Sentroller before testing it in the field at five remote, 10kW residential solar power generation plants (“Micro-FITs”) spread out over a 5km radius within the township of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.
Upon completion of the pilot program, despite harsh conditions the Sentroller successfully and uninterruptedly transmitted energy production and other vital system data collected from the remote solar energy plants for one full year, without falter.
The Company also reports that since the “to field pilot program” was launched in August, 2014, several other Sentroller devises across the Brampton/Mississauga regions have been installed on similar power applications, of which have also been operating seamlessly.
Braingrid CEO and founder Michael Kadonoff comments “We’re pleased to have reached this one year milestone which proves our technical and business convictions about our end-to-end solution… We’re driving the monitoring costs down and ease of deployment up such that a system or fund size is irrelevant when considering real-time monitoring.” Kadonoff continues “When offering clients ten times the features to systems that were once deemed unmonitorable, while reducing other customer’s current conventional monitoring costs by up to 90%, we are delivering true energy reform to the solar sector.”
The Sentroller is a long range, low power, communications gateway that’s coupled to Braingrid’s private wireless network and software platform. It’s specifically designed to collect and deliver critical and relevant system metrics in real-time to asset owners and operators. Armed with derived insights, relevant alarms and actionable facts in addition to raw data, asset and project stakeholders can affect reduced maintenance costs, better yields or efficiency while bolstering ROI.
The Sentroller’s first major application enables residential solar energy systems providers the ability to monitor all of their distributed generation power systems, no matter what their size is and/or where they are located. Simply put, the revolutionary technology delivers the most reliable, cost effective and fully featured means to collect and relay wireless data.
The monitoring platform, including independent internet gateway and reporting software, is available for as low as $4.00 (CDN) per month, per residential system.
Braingrid Corporation is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of advanced digital communication devices and software systems that simplify the management of “things” as they relate to the “Internet of Things (IoT).” (www.braingrid.org)
While the slow and steady pace of transformation isn’t unexpected for an industry founded on traditional knowledge and “green thumb” intuition, the agricultural sector faces tight margins and isn’t used to the risk-reward profile associated with technological R&D and innovation.
Excitingly, the nascent cannabis subsector might just pave the way in demonstrating ROI for data-driven approaches to cultivation. Those growing the most valuable plant in the world, and one that has finicky needs when it comes to light, moisture and other environmental conditions, certainly have reason to invest in gaining data insights to ensure optimal crop health and yields.
At Braingrid, we realized that our monitoring solution could provide the continuous, real-time variety of data that growers need – and that it could be affordable and effortless on their part.
WeedMD Rx Inc, an ACMPR-licensed medical marijuana producer, was our first client to deploy Braingrid’s Cannabis Solution in their Aylmer, Ontario production facility. On installation day, the Braingrid team mounted eight Sentrollers across the facility to gather real-time data on 21 sensing points of interest, including:
- humidity, temperature, CO2 levels and light presence in grow rooms
- humidity and temperature in storage vaults
- presence of UV lights in the water sterilization system
- internal temperature of a composter to ensure that compliant disposal of cannabis material.
As any service provider to the highly-regulated medical marijuana industry knows, getting through the numerous security and environmental safety measures – donning full-body coveralls, going through sterilization chambers, having authorized staff enter various PINs and swipe their security cards – can often be the hardest part of the process!
This is where the simplicity and quick installation of the Braingrid solution really benefits the client – once we get in the installation room, it only takes a few minutes to mount the Sentroller and place the sensors. Operations aren’t disrupted and the client can immediately access real-time data through their online customer portal.
“Cannabis crops are highly valuable and demand constant monitoring to ensure optimal yield and product quality. Braingrid deployed a wireless monitoring solution … This solution helps us demonstrate ACMPR regulatory compliance in ways competitive solutions could not. I found that cultivation and operations can now easily manage issues which may affect the quality of the crop…” – Luc C Duchesne, PhD, WeedMD Chief Science Officer, RPIC & Quality Assurance Person
We are very pleased to hear that WeedMD’s staff has found that Braingrid’s Cannabis Solution has been helpful in optimizing growth cycles and managing environmental conditions that affect crop quality, ensuring correct equipment operations and generating the requisite data for Health Canada audits.
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Michael Kadonoff is Braingrid’s passionate CEO during the day, and an unrelenting inventor by night.
Braingrid is a Toronto based global technology company that provides an affordable, versatile and quick-to-install sensor platform for cannabis cultivators. Braingrid captures real-time data needed to increase revenues, reduce costs and risks, and connects cultivators to their grow on a microclimate level.