Today, new tools that automate cannabis cultivation operations emerge every day. Any cannabis cultivator, from home growers to large-scale commercial cannabis producers, can benefit from automated systems. Not only do they streamline your operations by managing time-consuming tasks like regulating temperature, humidity, airflow, and more, but they can increase plant growth and crop yields while decreasing operating costs.
How to Approach Automating Your Indoor Grow Room
As you scale your cannabis cultivation business, you might be thinking about automation to cut down your workload, reduce human error, and reduce labor costs. First, you should determine whether you can afford to automate in one fell swoop or if you need to go step-by-step to help you create a plan. If you need to automate one system at a time, take some time to assess which systems, if automated, could help you achieve a more consistent crop, reduce human error, or scale your cannabis business. To help you get started, here are a few ways to introduce automation into your indoor cultivation facility.
1. Implement Automated Data Collection in your Grow Room
Automating your cannabis cultivation systems with advanced technological solutions gives you access to precise data collection. Receiving data from numerous environmental control systems allows you to adjust for consistent conditions and climate controls essential to producing high-quality cannabis. Adding sensors to various locations in your grow facility will help you monitor and control conditions like:
- Air Flow
- CO2 Levels
- Light Levels
- Soil Moisture
Grow room data may be more crucial for cannabis companies that produce medical marijuana and must meet THC and CBD dosage standards and certifications. Whether you make recreational or medical cannabis, you can use the data you collect to determine which conditions produce the best cannabis plants and adjust to recreate the same results.
Pollination from nearby grow facilities and hemp fields infiltrating your ventilation system can lead to cross-pollination, reducing yield and causing crop loss. Take the extra step by implementing sensors that continuously check the air for particulates like dust, mold, and pollen. Some sensors can even identify different species of mold and pollen.
2. Regulate the Lighting Cycle in your Cultivation Facility
The time for manually controlling your grow room lighting systems is over. Automation is a no-brainer with technology like light cycle controllers and timers, light moving systems, and light intensity meters.
If you have one grow light, a simple outlet timer will do the trick. However, controlling multiple grow lights with one outlet timer is unmanageable and unsafe. This is where a grow light controller comes into play. A grow light controller can handle powerful surges, control the lighting cycle for all of your ballasts, and is typically hardwired into your grow facility’s power source.
It is vital to ensure your plants get adequate light from every angle throughout the day, just as they would from the sun. A light-moving system is a great solution that slowly shifts your light fixtures so that they alternate positions over your canopy. This continuous movement increases overall coverage and keeps your cannabis plants from burning.
3. Maintain Consistent Climate Control
Consistent temperature is non-negotiable for a cannabis cultivation operation. The temperature in a grow room should never vary by more than 10 degrees. A temperature controller will help your grow room remain in its optimal range throughout the day. Some temperature controllers can even sync with the cycle of your grow lights and will turn off fans and air conditioners at night when the lights are off.
As they do with temperature, each cannabis plant and growth stage have an ideal humidity range. If the humidity levels are too low, crops will not absorb moisture through their foliage. Alternatively, if humidity levels are too high, the risk of mold, mildew, and pests increases. A humidity controller takes away the pain of having to stop by your grow room multiple times a day to check the levels because it works with your humidifiers and dehumidifiers to maintain an optimal range.
An automated ventilation system is key to preserving environmental control and keeping odors at bay. A fan-speed controller will exchange fresh air into your indoor grow room at the power level and intermittent intervals you set.
4. Manage the Irrigation System for Uniform Water and Nutrient Dispersal
It is easy to automate hydroponics and top-feed irrigation systems in a cultivation facility if you haven’t already. Automation is especially useful if you implement a fertigation system. You can control how much water goes to the cannabis plants, provide a consistent nutrient solution, and manage run-off production.
There are many solutions on the market to help you automate your irrigation systems, such as drip emitters and hydro halos that work with hydroponic water pumps to distribute water to your plants from a reservoir. Additionally, you can use an auto-dosing pump that will deliver the perfect amount of nutrients with the correct pH levels, whether you are there or not.
Not sure where to start on automating your cannabis cultivation systems? Let us help. Contact one of our knowledgeable grow room consultants who are ready to answer any questions you have and help set your grow room up for success!