Cannabis cultivation has become a key livelihood strategy in rural Lesotho, where communities have been forced to diversify their income sources as traditional cash transfers decline.
The cannabis trade is a political issue in Lesotho, with rural farmers lobbying for police action to reduce drug trafficking and crime. However, this has not necessarily led to more aggressive policing from the Lesotho LMPS or SAPS.
Crop Steering and Data
Crop steering and data collection in cannabis cultivation are an essential part of maximizing crop productivity. By adjusting the environment to encourage a specific type of plant growth, cultivators can increase bud production and quality while optimizing crop density.
Vegetative or generative steering involves altering environmental cues that stimulate different stages of plant development, including irrigation, climate and lighting. The goal is to create a healthy and balanced grow room that promotes the maximum production possible.
Many commercial growers are experimenting with both vegetative and generative steering techniques to achieve optimal plant balance and produce the most profitable crop possible. Some go back and forth between these strategies to ensure plants remain balanced until they are close to harvest.
The timing of these adjustments is crucial to maximize crop yields and keep the plant healthy. By adjusting water availability through different life cycles, growers can optimize growth in all phases, from the early development of buds to the final stages of flowering.
When implementing this technique, cultivators must be careful to avoid overdoing it. Too much steering can cause a plant to become overhydrated and lose the ability to absorb nutrients properly, which can result in lower-quality crops.
Instead of relying solely on environmental clues, cultivators can collect data from a wide range of sensors to gain an even better understanding of their grow rooms. This allows them to make real-time modifications to the environment that will benefit the plant, according to Seth Baumgartner, client success manager at Aroya.
By collecting and analyzing this data, they can make the right adjustments to their fertigation and environment control systems to help maximize crop growth. This process enables them to improve yields and quality while minimizing cost.
Some commercial cultivators also use the concept of stress priming to encourage plant responses without causing too much strain on the plant. The benefits of stress priming include the creation of more robust immune response mechanisms and the activation of innate defenses, such as hormone signaling systems.
The use of stress-primed plants for disease management can be a valuable tool in combating pest infestations. It can also be used to enhance growth and maximize yields when the cultivator incorporates a strong root system and uses a balanced nutrient diet.
Crop Steering and Monitoring
Crop steering can be applied at any stage of the cannabis plant’s life cycle to achieve a grower’s specific goals. This technique can help cultivators maximize yields, trichome development, and overall performance.
Often adapted from other fields of agriculture, crop steering is the practice of controlling environmental cues (lighting, irrigation, climate) to steer a plant toward its desired growth. It can be used during the vegetative or generative stages of the plant’s life cycle to increase size, bud formation and cannabinoid production.
Many commercial cannabis growers have been using a combination of vegetative and generative crop steering throughout the flowering cycle. This helps maintain a balanced plant that is able to produce large quantities of flowers.
However, there are some key things to consider before applying a crop steering plan on a large commercial scale. Proper research and testing must be conducted to ensure that the technique is working within an operation’s environment and goals.
When considering a crop steering strategy, it’s important to take the needs and preferences of different varieties into consideration. Choosing a strategy that works best for a variety of plants will ultimately result in better yields and quality.
Regardless of the cultivar, growers must be careful not to dry out a plant too early. This can cause it to become susceptible to wilting.
Another important aspect to consider when implementing a crop steering strategy is timing. This can be influenced by the amount, frequency and duration of water intake in the grow room.
For example, reducing water intake during the vegetative stage can be beneficial to cannabis growers looking to increase bud development and yields. This is because lower water intake allows for more frequent nutrient uptake and can therefore increase the number of buds on a plant.
To get started, growers need to familiarize themselves with the different growth stages of their plants and what environmental factors are required at each stage. They can then purchase equipment to monitor these factors, such as light meters and soil moisture sensors.
Then, a software system is needed that brings all of this data together and provides cultivators with insights. This can be done with a sensor and data monitoring platform, such as Aroya.
Crop Steering and Varieties
Crop steering is a way to manipulate the growth of a cannabis plant to reach a desired outcome. This involves adjusting grow room conditions such as lighting, irrigation or climate to trigger certain outcomes during the vegetative and flowering stages of the crop.
Various techniques can be used to implement crop steering, including the use of specific nutrients and minerals. These nutrients help a crop to thrive throughout its life and are essential for proper growth.
A cannabis crop needs an astounding seventeen different types of nutrients to grow well, but these need to be applied at the right time to avoid stress on the plants. By applying nutrients correctly and at the right times, a crop can be steered to develop as it should and save money and effort.
In addition to nutrient steering, cultivators can also use crop diversification techniques such as generative and vegetative steering. This method helps a cultivator keep the plant healthy and improves bud fattening during the early stages of the flowering cycle.
Generative steering occurs when a cannabis cultivator changes the photoperiod and initiates the flowering process. This allows the plant to produce bigger flowers and increase the amount of cannabinoid production.
When a crop is in generative mode, the cultivator can then switch to a more vegetative steering technique. This is often done to bulk out previously set flowers, or if the cultivator wants to increase bud density during harvest.
Vegetative steering can also be used to boost bud fattening and maintain a balance in the plant’s development. Cultivators can utilize a variety of techniques to achieve this goal, but it’s important to note that each approach has its own unique benefits and limitations.
To get the best results from a crop steering technique, it’s essential to gauge how the cultivator’s plants will react to the change before making any adjustments. This will ensure that the cultivator can steer the plant back the other way if necessary.
Crop steering is a very delicate operation that requires a lot of careful monitoring and observation. However, if it’s done correctly, it can greatly impact the quality and quantity of a cannabis crop.
Crop Steering and Post-Harvest Management
In cannabis cultivation, cultivators use crop steering techniques to maximize plant growth and develop higher yields. Crop steering is the manipulation of environmental cues (light, water, climate) to encourage plants to grow a certain way.
Crop steering can be done through various different methods, including irrigation, lighting and the application of nutrients to plants. When used correctly, these practices can help cultivators achieve better growth, trichome development, cannabinoid content and overall performance.
When a cannabis plant is in vegetative growth, it focuses its energy on producing more leaves and stems. In this stage, it also relies on a good nutritional diet to survive and grow. Nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are essential for cannabis plants to survive and thrive.
However, a well-balanced diet does not always meet the needs of each cannabis plant. This is why it is important to monitor the plant’s health and growth to ensure it is receiving all of the nutrients that it needs.
With proper research and testing, commercial growers can utilize crop steering practices to increase plant growth and produce larger yields. This method is a great way to manage costs and improve product quality, especially in the early stages of cannabis cultivation.
Typically, the goal of generative crop steering is to trigger flowering. This is a process that allows plants to maximize their production of flowers, resin and flavor. While this is an important part of the plant’s life cycle, it can be stressful to a cannabis plant.
When utilizing generative crop steering, growers apply specific environmental cues that mimic the end-of-season seasonal changes that a plant would experience outdoors in order to trigger flowering. These cues often include harsher light, lower water content and longer dry backs.
Once the flowering phase is complete, the plant can begin to store energy for future sporadic growth. This can be a difficult process, as plants are in the process of becoming very sensitive to stressors such as drought and cold.
Steering a crop can be challenging as it involves the manipulation of multiple factors, such as the amount and frequency of water applied to the plant. It can be done with a variety of different techniques, but it is important to understand the differences in each method and when it is best to use them.