Kristina Etter   |   November 15, 2017

Harnessing Spectral Science for Better Yields

The rapidly expanding legal cannabis industry is generating a flurry of technological advances within the agriculture industry. Many forward-thinking manufacturers within the industry have grasped this opportunity to breathe new life into indoor cultivation and agriculture.
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.

LumiGrow, a leader in horticultural lighting solutions, is one such company taking technology and agriculture to the next level, for indoor crops of all types, including cannabis.


Cannabis cultivation is challenging. Environmental factors such as grow medium, PH levels, CO2 levels, temperature, airflow, ventilation, and of course, lighting, all play a role in producing a quality, medical-grade cannabis crop. Through understanding and harnessing spectral science, then coupling it with cutting-edge software, LumiGrow provides a lighting solution so versatile and efficient, it takes all the guess work out of growing cannabis, while providing a more efficient path to greater yield.


How the System Works

LumiGrow’s smart grow light solutions are comprised of LED hardware and cloud-based software, which empowers grower’s control over quality, yield, and plant characteristics. Through smart LED light fixtures and systems networked through the cloud, growers can now control their lighting from anywhere.

Whether the crop is cannabis or vegetables, herbs, or flowers, LumiGrow is building complex, dynamic light recipes for various agricultural applications. Conducting research and development in their own facility, as well as, through partnerhips with cannabis consultants, growers, and third-party research firms, LumiGrow has optimized their Pro Series E LED lights and smartPARTM software to deliver lighting strategies for growers to achieve the best crop possible. Smart LED lighting, producing more red and blue PAR per watt than any other lighting on the market, provides lighting automation and control over light intensity, spectrum, and photoperiod.


Harnessing Spectral Science

By learning how to adjust the lighting spectrum during different times of the plant’s life cycle, growers are seeing an increase in production. Research shows simple changes in light spectrum help influence crop growth for yield, quality, morphology, growth-rate, nutrition, and flavor. Additionally, by creating a more uniform leaf temperature due to the lack of UV previously produced by high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting, plants are producing more flowers throughout the plant rather than just at the top where the high leaf temperatures and light were the strongest with traditional HPS lighting. In an interview with CannabisTech, a LumiGrow representative stated:


“We tend to get more vertical distribution of flower development, when you're using LED. By putting more of our energy into the red and blue wave length spectrum of our fixtures, we get more uniform leaf temperature and deeper canopy penetration, which elicits more uniform production deeper down in the canopy, lower on the plant.”


In addition to just boosting production, growers are also able to boost profiles of the essential components of the plant itself as well. According to a case study on LumiGrow’s website, Mesa Organics, a cannabis cultivation facility out of Pueblo, Colorado not only saw a 50% reduction in energy costs, but were able to use dynamic LED strategies to increase cannabinoid profile and terpene production.  Jim Parco, owner of the operation, states:


“We started using blue light treatments in the last few days of growth to boost terpene production. It’s pretty amazing the things you can do with spectral control! We’ve seen powerful effects on potency and are currently trialing 32 of our strains to find which ones react the most positively to various light treatments and strategies.”


In fact, Dr. Matt Wheatly and Dr. Melanie Yelton from LumiGrow published a paper regarding the reduction of red light during the final three days of the production cycle which showed an increased terpene production to provide a more robust product. Research like this is helping LumiGrow work with various crops to produce dynamic lighting strategies ideal lighting combinations that factor in cannabis strain and growth-stage.


Mother Nature’s Backup Plan

For those using a greenhouse to capture the natural rays of the sun, by utilizing the smartPARTM software and Pro 650e lighting in unison with the sun, they can supplement mother nature’s radiance for even more precise lighting control. LumiGrow’s technology allows for light sensors to determine how much light is optimal for your crop, and adjust as necessary. For example, if the days are cloudy, plants in a traditional greenhouse may not get all the light they need for the best yield. The lights will supplement the deficiency caused by the lack of sun.

Clearly this new technology from LumiGrow is a game-changer in the world of indoor horticulture. Technology, agriculture, and science combined to substitute and/or enhance the power of the sun to produce the optimal conditions for a perfect crop. Whether that crop is tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs, or the life-saving medicine of marijuana, LumiGrow’s technology is providing the optimal environment for the plant to thrive naturally.


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