It’s simple economics, when there is more supply than demand prices begin to fall. The same rules apply to the cannabis market, and can be witnessed first hand every harvest season when huge amounts of outdoor grown product floods the market. During this time prices can get very competitive and finding local buyers can become an issue. So how do outdoor growers survive the glut? Either they grow some really high quality product or they invest in a greenhouse with a Light deprivation system.
Light deprivation (light dep) is by no means a new technique in the world of agriculture. However, it is newly gaining momentum in the cannabis industry as it creates a competitive advantage for greenhouse growers; allowing them to harvest earlier and more often than traditional outdoor farming. Depending on a handful of factors some growers claim to have anywhere from two to five harvests a year after adopting a light dep system, which can be a substantial return on their investment.
How does a light dep system work?
Light dep is the process of controlling the plant’s light cycle in order to force a vegetating plant into flowering. Just like turning a grow light on and off in an indoor grow room, a light dep system allows outdoor greenhouse growers to control the budding cycle of their plants by blocking the sunlight. This creates an environment that is typically 12 hrs of light max with 12 hours of complete “black out” darkness. This ultimately tricks the plants into thinking it is time to start budding at any time of year the grower chooses.
With this technology a grower can strategically harvest at times when the market is short on supply, increasing the value of their product and the demand. There are a few ways to black out a greenhouse, some manually lift a tarp over their structure every day, some larger structures have hand cranks, and some lucky growers have motorized/automated systems. Below is a video of a motorized light deprivation system installed on a AgraTech North Slope 30 greenhouse.
While growing cannabis outdoors cuts costs substantially compared to indoor growing, the intense competition come harvest season destroys the profit margins for outdoor growers. As this industry continues to blossom, greenhouses have become an important tool for gaining the cost related advantages of outdoor with the consistency and quality of indoor. A light dep system is the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and provide stability for greenhouse growers in the cannabis industry.
If you are interested in the pros and cons of light dep, the first steps towards setting up your own system, and the companies that offer light dep systems, then stay tuned for Light Deprivation: Pros vs. Cons and Light Deprivation: Methods | Tarps | Suppliers.
Do you have any experience with this topic? Any opinions on the companies that offer light dep? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.