Cost-Cutting Technology for Economic EfficiencyStaying competitive in today’s cannabis market requires the highest quality while keeping expenses as low as possible. Technology helps producers improve their processes.
Commercial cannabis operations require consistent conditions for the highest quality products. Automation and sensor controls allow cultivators to maintain the appropriate environment and use fewer resources.
Cannabis Tech spoke with Scott Campbell, CEO of Aroya, about how crop steering and their recent announcement for irrigation controls can help cultivators maintain control over their operations.
Aroya is a business unit of a larger company that was started by his father, who was researching soil-sensing technology in the basement of their home. As the company grew, the technology was adapted for use in greenhouses to analyze various conditions in the water in the soil.
Today that system includes several sensors that collect and aggregate data for the cultivar record. That data can then be used to help increase productivity and yield.
At the Core, Cannabis is Agriculture
Although there’s no plant in the world worth as much as cannabis in the agricultural sector, the demand for cannabis will drive the industry toward a more traditional agricultural crop, and as the industry inches closer, it must start taking those steps for cost-cutting measures.
Production efficiencies help cannabis growers stay competitive in the modern market—technologies like the new irrigation controls from Aroya. Complex irrigation schedules are one of those areas in that technology can assist in keeping costs low while maintaining a high-quality, high-yield crop.
It's important to note reducing labor costs isn’t about reducing staff; it’s more about ensuring employees are being utilized appropriately and efficiently. Sensors and technology that automate laborious tasks help growers maintain consistency and improve their crops.
Crop steering and automation help aggregate marginal gains and increase productivity which is critical for staying competitive in the market.
Efficiency is the Key
Campbell points out that some of the solutions are easy to implement and don’t have to be expensive. The sensors and system for irrigation control with Aroya can be done for as little as $150.
Crop steering helps send signals to the plant to encourage it to focus on different tasks for each phase of its life. Campbell provides details about how the plant uses the water and nutrients to generate particular signals with the plants.
Each day, as the plant grows, the data points are collected and aggregated within Aroya, so cultivators have a dashboard to adjust schedules, so the plants are doing the tasks necessary for that stage in life for the highest yields and quality.
Afterward, cultivators can look at the data for each cultivar and determine what adjustments and changes need to be made.
The Biggest Impact
Aroya helps with data collection and analysis. Campbell discusses the nine things that impact cannabis yields and quality:
- Concentration of CO2
- Air Temp
- Wind Speed
- Light Intensity
- Temp of Substrate
- Oxygen content
The goal is to train the cannabis plant to use light efficiently to grow as much as possible. Everything done in a greenhouse or grow facility is to support the plant to use light as efficiently as it can.
The cultivar record and the data collection help the team make the necessary improvements for each plant. Technology like Aroya makes the cultivation process easier and more efficient and helps track plants and the processes used to grow those plants for compliance and regulation.
Water Activity and THC Potency
Campbell also talks about the inconsistencies in potency testing within the cannabis industry. Water content is the key. Their division, Aqualab, provides a water activity meter to detect the energy level in the water content.
Water activity below .6 protects the samples from mold and bacteria growth. Aqualab and Aroya will allow cultivators to visualize the entire process of water activity and potency potential.
Watch the webcast to learn more from Scott Campbell about these and more technology for the most efficient production and highest yields.