Cannabis cultivation is evolving
People cultivate cannabis for different reasons. Over the years, these reasons have shaped different cultivation methods and identified important parameters or data points to optimise and improve yield.
Every part of the cannabis plant has been used to solve a real-world problem, from energy, building fire-resistant buildings, bioplastics, and pharmaceuticals to industrial products. These plants are either cultivated outdoors or in specialised indoor environments.
While it is quite impossible to pinpoint when indoor cannabis cultivation started, it is pertinent to note that the debate between indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation has existed for over five decades.
Anecdotal evidence shows that people adopted indoor cultivation to take cannabis off the public’s prying eyes or minimize theft. Some evidence also points to how indoor cannabis cultivation became a widespread norm in the 20th century and has since developed into one of the most preferred cultivation methods for recreational and medicinal cannabis.
Outdoor vs Indoor Cultivation: which is better?
Both cultivation methods have unique strengths and weaknesses, making them better adapted to different areas or climatic conditions. While outdoor cultivation is often cheaper (requires low energy), indoor cultivation gives cultivators easier control over data points and growth parameters like temperature, humidity, light intensity, and nutrient supply.
Some reports suggest that indoor cultivation may favour the growth of flowers with higher THC and controlled cannabinoid concentrations since farmers can easily exercise control over environmental stressors like solar radiation. It is easier for cultivators to manipulate the plant into producing a certain cannabinoid in indoor cultivation. This may be suitable for cultivating chemovars with rare cannabinoids.
Constant exposure to outdoor stressors like solar radiation can prompt the production of more cannabinoids, thus, supporting higher levels and diversity. This is why outdoor plants grown under the broad full spectrum light of the sun contain more cannabinoids and terpenes. Since this is often not controlled in outdoor cultivation, it may end up supporting the synthesis of several compounds in the cannabis plant.
Note that the sun contains two forms of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. These are characterised as UVA and UVB. While UVA presents little threat to plants, UVB can lead to DNA damage. Cannabis plants tend to create protective layers of resin loaded with secondary metabolites like cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and alkaloids to protect themselves against UVA and UVB.
The attention given to indoor plants creates room for lower pest invasion and allows the cultivators to exercise total control over growth parameters. These parameters serve as important factors in optimising and improving yield. They also play critical roles in meeting regulations and regional laws. This is where our cultivation software comes into the picture. It allows growers and cultivators in the cannabis industry to monitor their indoor and outdoor plants and how they can improve yield. These parameters are discussed below.
Important data points to monitor and optimise during cannabis cultivation
Data points are important parameters that must be observed regardless of your preferred cultivation methods. These form the basis of compliance and determine the quality of the final products in a production site to optimise cultivation operations. These data help you to stay abreast of the latest developments in the market, optimise efficiency for your business, improve the quality of plants and understand how these parameters can affect the overall income of your company. At Cannavigia, our cultivation software is equipped to collect the relevant data:
1. Environmental conditions
Our cultivation software monitors environmental conditions like light wattage, sunlight, carbon dioxide, humidity, temperature, and plant height. This helps to give you total control over cannabis cultivation. It puts you in charge of important environmental conditions while giving you real-time updates on how it can be optimised to improve plant yield. In most cases, these cultivation facilities are fitted with IoT (Internet of Things) devices that collect data and transfer them to production management. The devices can also alert farmers of plant growth parameters such as soil moisture levels and climate values.
2. Pest management
Integrative Pest Management (IPM) activities allow users to keep track of pest invasions and success of implemented measures. The collected data is also useful in adjusting cultivation parameters so the final product can comply with regional laws and international regulations.
Timing also plays an important role in pesticide application. In most cases, authorised pesticides should be applied with enough spare time before harvest to minimise the accumulation of pesticide residues in the final product.
3. Irrigation and nutrient supply
Our cultivation software allows you to monitor the volume of water used and the nutrient supplied to each plant in indoor cultivation or during irrigation. This helps to understand how to improve your plant’s potency. Note that nutrient supply plays a major role in cannabinoid concentration and combination in the plant. They control cannabinoid production and can come in handy in refining the plant over time. Research shows that excessive fertiliser use can reduce the final concentration of cannabinoids in cannabis plants.
4. Plant growth characteristics
Plant growth characteristics like genetic drift can be monitored with our cannabis cultivation software. It also allows you to record the growth of individual cultivars and their response to certain growth parameters like susceptibility to pests, flowering duration, and the quality of the flowers. It comes in handy in determining what variety to cultivate and which to abandon.
5. Cannabis yield data
Yield data is critical in tracking legal compliance and the cultivation process. It lets cultivators know what cultivar is performing well under certain growth conditions and how to improve them. The yield data will help cultivators to assess all other environmental and cultivation data that suit their cannabis strain of choice.
The success of cannabis cultivation heavily relies on monitoring. Monitoring plays a critical role in optimising yield regardless of how you choose to cultivate your plants. It gives you total control over cultivation parameters and allows you to learn what is best for your plants. Indoor or outdoor cultivation does not matter as long as you observe the plants and all the parameters around them.
Obtaining the right information on your plants goes a long way in optimising yield and compliance. At Cannavigia, we provide plant cultivation information whereas one of the biggest strengths of Cannavigia is the easy input of data into the system via mobile app and browser application.