Conversations about the evolution of the cannabis industry often focus on year-over-year industry growth, innovative new products, and the growth of the legal adult-use market, but technology is often a leading driver of change.
This is especially true at cannabis farms and cultivation facilities, like CULTA’s. In an effort to continue the conversation around technology in the cannabis industry and shed some light on how it’s being leveraged by cultivators, we’ll discuss a few of the most important pieces of technology we use at our own farm in Cambridge, Maryland.
But first, a little bit about CULTA and our farm. Established in 2015, we’re a Maryland-based vertically integrated cannabis company with partners that include Cookies and Grass. We have both an outdoor and an indoor cultivation facility and we were the first organically managed outdoor farm in Maryland to be certified by Clean Green Certified.
In 2021, we launched the state’s first cannabis tissue culture lab and have aggressive goals to improve our sustainability efforts. Now, let’s talk tech!
Fertigation & Building Management System
Although indoor growing allows cultivators to produce cannabis year-round and in a fully controlled and clean environment, there are a lot of moving parts to manage.
That’s why we use a fertigation and building management system that’s designed specifically for indoor operations. Not only does it help us deliver the exact nutrient recipes to our grow rooms multiple times a day with amazing precision, but it also monitors and controls environmental factors like temperature, humidity, CO2, and light intensity.
We use Priva, which provides insight into our processes and crops and allows us to view in-depth graphs of our rooms, helping us make better data-driven decisions.
At CULTA, we have aggressive goals to reduce our carbon footprint.
One of the first improvements we made to reach that goal was to upgrade our lighting to LED. Not only does being able to control our lighting enable us to enrich our plants’ cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid profiles (which makes our medical patients happy!), but it also helps us achieve dramatic savings in our operating costs. Plus, they’re a much better option for the environment.
When seeking an LED lighting supplier, it was important to us that they specialize in lighting for commercial cannabis cultivators, which is why we chose Fluence.
Healthy cannabis plants start with clean water, which is why we invested in a state-of-the-art ozone generation system for our crops. This system destroys any pathogens that may be in our water so our plants are only drinking the cleanest water possible.
The dissolved oxygen helps keep root zones clean, healthy, and pathogen-free. As an added bonus, it also helps keep our irrigation lines clean and sanitized which, over time, also cuts down on our maintenance and repair costs.
We use the DRAMM water ozone system, which is engineered for greater efficiency and safety.
Environmental Monitoring System
In addition to the Priva system, we also use an EarthScout environmental monitoring system.
We use this system to develop irrigation, lighting, and environmental strategies that are specific to each individual strain. Yes, you read that right — we use this system to create “recipes” for each and every strain we grow.
The system uses multiple sensors to monitor soil moisture, temperature, salinity, air temperature, and humidity, among other environmental factors. We just started using this system so we don’t have any data to share but we do hope it will help us cut our irrigation and nutrient costs by at least 50%.
Cannabis Tech is Constantly Changing
The best thing about cannabis technology is that it’s constantly changing. New, innovative products are always being released month after month, and for each groundbreaking product, there are ten more that have come and gone without much fanfare, making it difficult to decipher what the future will hold.
While it’s impossible to predict what the next big technological advancement will be, one thing is for certain: it’s coming and it will change how we all do business.
“It is incredible to see how quickly the cannabis industry has embraced technological growth, and it is very exciting to think about the advancements that are just around the corner that could potentially change the industry forever,” Senior Director of Cultivation Jay Bouton said.