Large-scale cannabis production presents growers with great opportunity and great challenge: Even the most skilled cannabis growers discover it can be both difficult and costly to scale traditional production methods to commercial levels. Growing precision, operational efficiency and production costs can become far more critical as an operation expands.
As they navigate these growing pains, many professional cannabis growers are finding valuable insights in traditional horticulture. Horticultural distributors, in particular, have a long history of pairing margin-minded operations with cost-effective product and service solutions.
In the early days of commercial cannabis, Griffin was the first national distributor to recognize and commit resources to this emerging market. The result is Griffin’s Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) group, a dedicated team that combines proven tools and techniques with new product innovations to give cannabis growers a competitive edge.
Production efficiencies can be gained several ways, including facility design, equipment choices and changes to crop inputs. Very often, the quickest path to greater efficiency is via nutrient delivery. Here are two steps you can take to reduce costs and waste in future crop cycles.
Step 1: Automate Your Nutrient Blending
Many growers prepare their nutrient solutions in bulk, usually in ready-to-use batches of 55 to several hundred gallons. Each batch is prepared by manually measuring a suite of liquid and/or dry nutrients, often at relatively small volumes or weights. Each measurement is time-consuming, and a potential source of error!
What if you could cut your measuring and mixing time by 50-80%, improve consistency and drastically reduce the risk of mixing mistakes, too? It’s possible with Griffin and Anderson Injectors.
Anderson Injectors use pumpheads (pumpers) to introduce concentrated stock solutions into irrigation lines at a specific rate, measured in mL per stroke. Anderson injectors are plumbed in-line with the water supply, drawing stock on demand when crops are irrigated. These flexible systems work with a wide range of flow rates and support nearly all nutrients, supplements, pH management and sanitation products commonly used in cultivation facilities.
It’s easy to understand how an injector can reduce labor costs and measuring errors. When direct injecting (straight from purchased jug), the measuring step is eliminated. Direct injection also supports production safety, limiting staff exposure to caustic products, such as acids and sanitizers.
When using stock tanks of concentrated solutions, the volumes measured are typically larger and the frequency of measuring actions is greatly reduced, reducing measurement errors. Remember, larger volumes/weights are inherently easier and more forgiving to measure.
Two of the most common Anderson Injectors for cannabis production are the J-Series Ratio Feeder and the Anderson Aqua. The J-series Ratio Feeder injects nearly all nutritional-related materials into the irrigation water (including acids and sanitation products) and is easily customized. These workhorses include local controllers. The Aqua system expands the capability for fully automated, computerized control. Pumper operation is automated based on EC and pH set points. System settings and performance data are accessible via any web-enabled device. The Anderson Aqua easily integrates with most control systems and building management systems (BMS), making it a popular and cost-effective option.
Griffin understands the importance of service after the sale; we appreciate that the Anderson team does, too. We further endorse Anderson Injectors for their top-notch technical support.
Step 2: Choose Smart, Scalable Nutrients
Bottled liquid nutrients can work well for small operations. At large-scale production levels, though, the added expense outweighs the convenience. The basic components of typical bottled liquid nutrients are the same as those in bagged powdered nutrients. At commercial volumes, why pay more to ship and store water when you can easily prepare your own concentrated stock solutions and apply with your Anderson injector?
With Griffin and water-soluble nutrients from JR Peters, savvy cannabis growers enjoy flexible, accurate and cost-effective crop nutrition.
JR Peters has manufactured premium water-soluble nutrients, formulated from naturally mined materials, for more than 70 years. Their Jack’s brand products are a mainstay in commercial horticulture; their newest product line, Jack’s Nutrients, brings extremely high-quality nutrition for high-value cannabis crops.
Specifically, Jack’s Nutrients products provide cannabis cultivation with macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) in perfect balance with highly chelated micronutrients for optimum growth and provide flexible options for two other key nutrients, calcium and magnesium.
Jack’s Nutrients line covers all the bases, from single-bag solutions to Part A and B strategies. Additionally, Jack’s Nutrients provides crop stage-specific formulations, including Clone, Grow, Bloom and Finisher.
Like Anderson Injectors, JR Peters is strong on customer support. At their in-house laboratory, JR Peters designs facility-specific nutrient plans to suit growers’ water types. Work with JR Peters’ technical staff, or Griffin’s GGSPro tech services team, to further customize your nutrition programs based on water and media use.
These steps to streamline nutrient delivery are just one example of how Griffin leverages horticultural know-how to benefit commercial cannabis growers. Contact our team to discuss how we can help your cultivation facility gain efficiencies in nutrient delivery and beyond.