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Profit & Potency: Improving Financial Performance via Secondary Metabolites

Profit & Potency: Improving Financial Performance via Secondary Metabolites

As cannabis cultivation becomes ever more sophisticated, growers are paying extra attention to plant chemistry. To explore how ensuring plants get exactly what they need for optimal metabolic function — which increases yield and quality of crops — Fluence recently teamed up with Maximum Yield to present a webinar detailing this issue.

Fluence cannabis solutions architect, Ryley Leech, hosted the webinar — titled “Potency and Profit: Improving Financial Performance via Secondary Metabolite Production.” He began by asserting that most growers are “looking to maximize the trichome density on plants,” then shared how smart growers look at trichome stalk size, head size, and uniformity, which are important indicators of quality.

He then moved into an overview of the chemical processes undertaken by a cannabis plant that lead to the production of terpenes and cannabinoids on the trichomes. These processes are of course influenced by the environment in which the plant is growing. Light, nutrients, soil — all the inputs the plants need to create the necessary enzymes — must be carefully controlled and monitored by cultivators.

Providing the correct inputs directly impacts the quality of the product and has significant financial implications. More product plus better product equals increased revenue.

An important starting point, according to Ryley, is cultivar selection. With so many genetics available, and more entering the market daily, it is crucial to select the plants that are the most vigorous and which produce the best flower and cannabinoids that your company desires. It is best to look for plants that fit your schedule, your facility, and your business plan.

Backing up his assertion, Ryley showed a scenario based on studies conducted in the field with quality-trichome-producing cultivars. The scenario compared same-wattage HPS and LED lights in a 20,000-square-foot facility. Knowing that LEDs have a higher PPFD output, a shorter cycle time, and better light management–resulting in higher quality trichomes, Ryley demonstrated that even when taking into account the higher cost of installation, LEDs represent a positive and striking annual delta of $3.6 million.

Following the presentation, Ryley took questions from webinar viewers, a few of which are below. See the entire webinar here.

Q: Given the inconsistencies in genetics, how can I choose a genetic that is right with my lights?

A: At Fluence, we have developed a spectrum that works with almost all genetics, but you need to use the dimming ability of our fixtures and a light meter to understand how to properly ramp up that light level.

Q: Why does trichome shape matter? What’s the difference between each type?

A: Trichome shape matters because trichomes carry the plant’s potency and terpenes. The shape isn‘t as important when it comes to solvent extraction. But when we’re looking at solventless extraction, trichome shape becomes extremely important because we’re collecting trichomes based on their size and uniformity, which is directly related to financial performance.

Q: Does light spectra have an impact on THC and CBD?

A: Yes, it does. That mid-nanometer lighting—green and yellow lighting— really has an impact on secondary metabolite production.