Kristina Etter   |   June 01, 2022

Competing with Synthetics in a Yield-Driven Cannabis Market

Staying organic when the competition isn’t.
Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology and IoT in agriculture. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for cannabis as the Editorial Director for Cannabis Tech.

**Disclaimer: This article contains sales promotions for some products. Cannabis Tech makes a small commission from the sale of these items. We appreciate your support of our publication!

In a competitive market, such as cannabis, two key factors drive sales – quality and price. Obviously, the end goal is producing the highest quality product possible at a price the consumers are comfortable paying and still turn a profit. And the key to increasing profits is increasing yields.

Cannabis Tech spoke with Jamie Filipuzzi, CEO and co-Founder from Way2Grow Biopharma, as well as Jessica VanDyk, their Head Grower, about their processes and methods. A company founded on trying to make a difference for medical cannabis patients, Way2Grow Biopharma, combines science and technology to grow the cleanest product possible in a hospital-style, organic cannabis facility.

Chasing the Organic Market

While many producers may implement synthetic nutrients and chemical additives to increase the size, density, and potency of their flowers, this can put organic growers at a significant disadvantage in the retail market. Although organic methods are better for the consumer and the environment, when compared side-by-side, it's like comparing an all-natural bodybuilder to one who uses steroids.

But Jessica admits that keeping up with the highly competitive cannabis industry can be challenging. "In the organics, sometimes there's a bit of yield struggle. We're not using synthetic, chemical nutrients, so while we might have a high-quality product, there are often lesser yields," she explained.

Making a conscious decision to keep their products organic, Jamie stated, “We ended up really chasing the organic market – no pesticides, nutrients, or things like that; everything is custom – living soil systems and vertical racking. We’re trying to stay true to the medical brand.”

Enhancing Mother Nature’s Processes, Naturally

At Way2Grow Biopharma, Jamie admits they are always looking for opportunities to do research and try out new methods. "We're always open to finding new ideas and solutions, not that we’re not happy with our yields, but as a business, we’re always looking to enhance our processes and gain an edge in the competitive space,” he added.

However, the challenge of finding and testing new products in Canada can be daunting. Jessica pointed out, "Here in Canada, we have very strict analytical testing standards that we must adhere to – no pesticides, no PG, no fungicides. There's a very low threshold for bacteria, molds, and microbials.”

Jamie added, “Most products we try to sample from the United States won’t even cross the border.”

Increasing Nutrient Bioavailability

Just as we think about supplement bioavailability for humans, plants also absorb nutrients from the water and the medium they’re grown in. In living soil systems, the plants get all their nutrients from the soil. In hydroponics systems, the plants are fed liquid nutrients.

Using their experience testing various grow methods, Way2Grow partnered with NanoGrowMax to test a new growth catalyst that naturally increases the bioavailability of nutrients available to the plant. Jamie said, "We were interested in seeing if this could boost the nutrient availability and look for any differences in this batch compared to our other plants."

Working the NanoGrowMax into their daily workflow, Jessica said they use a 2-part system feeding the solution at the roots and as a foliar spray. She explained, “We have living beds, so we feed less frequently, but a little higher dose.”

She noted, "the product is clear, doesn't have much smell, and doesn't leave anything residual on the plant." NanoGrowMax is entirely non-toxic, which means it doesn't require any PPE for application, and there are no concerns about safety for their staff.

Increased Yields and Recovery Solution

As they say, “The proof is in the pudding.” Jessica added that besides noticing a color difference with darker greens in the testbed, they also reported a 38% increase in yield compared to the control bed.

Interestingly, they also discovered that NanoGrowMax might do wonders for cannabis plant recovery and repair. Jamie recalled, “We had one section of a bed that was dying.

By using the NanoGrowMax, the plants had started to regain color within two days, and within one week, the plants caught up with the others. Speculating, Jamie stated, "I think what the [NanoGrowMax] did was made the viability of the nutrients in the soils easier for the plant to uptake, which helped bring them back to life.”

Jessica added, "We're running the second test now, and we're expecting to see similar results." Pending the outcome of those test plants, Way2Grow plans to implement NanoGrowMax across their entire facility.

If you’re interested in learning more about NanoGrowMax for your facility, click here to set up an appointment with our sales team.


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