Cannabis Cultivation Taking Steps Towards AI
Growing cannabis – or any other crop – in a greenhouse is a careful balance of temperature, moisture, pH, and more. That means collecting data constantly so that growers can react to any changes that could affect crops. It’s a time-consuming business, and mistakes can lead to smaller or even dying crops. At a time when there is a serious shortage of cannabis in Canada, those are costly mistakes.
Several companies are using new “weed tech” to help them increase crops by making data collection more efficient.
“Nobody can manage a million square feet by themselves the old way, which is to look, see, smell,” said Michael Kadonoff, the founder and CEO of the cannabis technology firm Braingrid. “You need bionic eyes. You need more nerve endings.”
Braingrid’s high tech sensors are about the size of a small laptop. They are strategically placed throughout the greenhouse. All data is collected and sent wirelessly to a central data collection centre within minutes. This gives growers up-to-date information about the growing conditions at all times.
Growing conditions aren’t the only concerns. Calgary-based FluroTech tests cannabis samples for pesticides and other contamination. BlockStrain in Vancouver has developed a platform that registers and tracks intellectual property in the industry.
Weed tech is especially important when it comes to growing cannabis. That’s because it needs more attention than most crops. It’s a “demanding plant” said Chad Rigby, the cultivation manager at Beleave in Burlington, Ont.
“It doesn’t stop growing and you kind of need to work on its schedule and its schedule is 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.
Rigby when on to say that technology will allow companies to do more with their employees, too. Not only can they be more productive, they can be more focused on more advanced tasks like improving strains.
“You want to make sure your entire facility is working at a 100 per cent. It’s going to be a dog-eat-dog market out there, and the guys who produce the best product are the ones who will be coming out on top.”
Perhaps for all of these reasons, “weed tech” will be the next big thing – for both industries.
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