Metal rolling benches have made their way into the cannabis industry providing some serious benefits over stationary benches or growing on the ground. Generally used in production greenhouses to help lower cost of production, rolling benches allow the grower to gain growing space, accurate temperature control, and avoid humidity related diseases. Below are two videos from GGS Structures Inc. which explain some of the benefits of metal rolling benches.
In terms of grow space, rolling benches allow the grower to maximize production per square foot of their greenhouse. The unused space that was once required for isles can now be used for product. in most cases, rolling benches can increase in the grow space from 60% (stationary) to 90%. This can have huge impact on your bottom line especially with a high grossing crop like cannabis. Not only will this capitalize on the unused space in your greenhouse, elevating the crop off of the floor helps with energy efficiency and plant health.
Airflow under the plants help by creating appropriate climate controls and reducing humidity induced diseases. Root-zone heating, where you heat the plants and immediate surroundings rather than the whole greenhouse can save approximately as much energy as turning down the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees. This can be accomplished through forced-air systems or hydronic systems underneath or on the bench. Airflow and heating under the plants will also help keep crops dry, preventing mold and root rot.
Elevating and mobilizing you crop streamlines all phases of production including potting, spacing, trimming, picking, etc. The plants are at a desired height which promotes a better work environment for you and your staff. Productivity also benefits as you can create a central work area for more efficient working conditions. It is hard to come across any negative comments in regards to galvanized steel rolling benches, except their relatively high cost. Below is a video from GGS comparing rolling metal benches Vs. wooden benches.
In their scenario they gained 180 trays from upgrading to rolling benches. In addition to the advantages mentioned above, they also acknowledged profitability as a benefit.
Overall, rolling benches increase the usable grow space in a greenhouse, potentially save energy, promote a dry environment for the plants, and improve the work environment of your greenhouse. While rolling benches hardly vary in material they do differ between widths, lengths, drainage, and load capacity. These aspects will all need to be taking into consideration for your unique scenario, but in my opinion increasing the usable grow space of a greenhouse from 60% to 90% is enough to make the investment worthwhile, especially for a high grossing crop like cannabis.
Do you have any experience with this topic? Any pictures of your own benches? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.