robots take over cannabis cultivation?
the horticulture industry is renowned for its reliance on high-tech
solutions and automation, as the ultimate goal is to achieve the best
efficiency to grow crops at scale profitably, the same cannot be said
about the entirety of the cannabis industry.
A lot of
cannabis farms still heavily rely on human labor; this is mainly caused
by the fact that it can be difficult for automated machines to handle
the delicate cannabis flowers without any loss in quality. As the market
matures, the demand for high-quality cannabis is growing to show no sign
of slowing down. And although innovation in agricultural machinery has
advanced substantially over time, it can be particularly challenging to
fully rely on automation when a skilled person does a better job than a
behind that lies in the fact that cannabis is a more valuable crop than
more ‘traditional’ horticultural commodities. For instance, tomato
growers too heavily rely on automation, and a loss of product due to
pathogens, failed growth, or damages occurred during the harvest is to
be expected, and eventually, it won’t affect a company’s bottom line
much. But with cannabis, even a little loss could cost a cannabis farm
thousands of dollars and a lot of time wasted.
thing is especially true when it comes to the final stages of
cultivation, namely drying and curing. Several cannabis farms decide to
harvest by hand to preserve the integrity of the flower as much as
possible; similarly, the trimming too occurs by hand most of the time.
There are automated solutions when it comes to harvesting and picking,
but there is the popular belief that machine trimming damages the
flowers, especially the delicate trichomes, thus negatively affecting
the quality of the end-product, as well as its value. Yet, a grower has
to consider also the efficiency of the operation: hand trimming takes
way more time than machine trimming, needless to say. So, while on the
one hand growers care about producing the highest quality cannabis, the
real challenge lies in combining efficiency with high quality.
comes to better automating the cannabis industry, there is less demand
for new, revolutionary products than for improving existing ones. Minor
changes, such as a control system that can be preset with light and
humidity adjustments for a full 16-week grow cycle, or a single software
for both harvest planning and product distribution for better inventory
tracking are also sought-after solutions. With further legalization
promising an expansion of the burgeoning industry, there is plenty of
room for automation to grow.
now, robots won't take over the cannabis industry.