Commercial Cultivation & Fertigation in 2022
Cannabis growers put in extra effort to give their plants the most optimized environment possible, using advanced tools, years of experience, and good old-fashioned trial and error. Ideally, with all these factors combined, cultivators can improve both output and general efficiency. While experienced cultivators can certainly achieve ideal conditions on their own, it is immensely difficult to maintain these conditions, and eventually, people have to sleep!
Enter the integrated fertigation system. One of 2022’s most sought after cannabis growing innovations, fertigation systems automatically deliver carefully measured nutrients to the root systems of your plants. Traditional methods of nutrient delivery required staff to deliver each dose by hand. With a fertigation system, you speed up the process, eliminate human error, and achieve more consistent nutrient delivery across all plants.
Here, you’ll learn about the ins and outs of how fertigation systems work, what they can do for the productivity of your grow operation, and some of the best options currently on the market.
What Is Fertigation?
The term ‘fertigation’ refers specifically to a system of delivering nutrients to plants using an automated delivery system integrated with a facility’s irrigation system. Controlled from a central location, fertigation systems deliver carefully measured nutrient blends to each plant on a precise schedule. Some fertigation systems are capable of managing multiple grow zones at once, and can even deliver different nutrients to plants in different stages of the growth cycle.
Fertigation systems work best when combined with a drip irrigation system. Drip systems slowly deliver water to crops through long drip lines, which aim the water directly at the plants’ root systems. An extremely efficient method of delivery that ensures even distribution of moisture and enhanced root hydration, this method is perfect for delivering nutrients. When plants need to be ‘fed’, the fertigation injects the nutrients into the dripline, mixing with the water and distributing evenly throughout the grow zone.
Some fertigation systems are storage and delivery only, meaning they can hold a store of nutrients and deliver them at prescribed times, but you’ll still need to mix your own nutrients. More advanced fertigation systems can mix fresh cusom nutrient blends, and deliver different nutrients to plants at different stages in their growth cycle. Since the systems are automated, you don’t need to worry about accidentally mixing the wrong blend, and you can reduce the time your team will spend managing fertilizer.
Benefits of Fertigation for Commercial Cultivators
Let’s take a closer look at just how integrating a fertigation system into your commercial grow operation can benefit your business.
Manually tracking, mixing, and delivering nutrients can be extremely time consuming. Cannabis plants require different blends of nutrients at different stages of growth, and ensuring they receive nutrients at the right moment requires extensive tracking and management. As your cultivation operation grows, keeping up with the nutrient demand of your plants becomes far more difficult, especially if you have different grow zones with plants of different ages.
Fertigation systems automate most or all of the process of nutrient delivery, taking the job out of the hands of your team. Programmable to be able to deliver nutrients at the exact moment your plants need them. As mentioned, some fertigation systems can also mix nutrient blends, giving your team more time to focus on other tasks that require a human touch.
Fertigation systems deliver nutrients directly to the root systems of your plants, ensuring optimal absorption, and less wasted nutrients. Fertigation systems are also more accurate in terms of dispersal, creating an even distribution of nutrients so all of your plants can enjoy the same ideal growing conditions.
Finally, fertigation systems help to provide more accurate measurements, even though you (the grower) will still have total control over how much is ultimately delivered to your plants.
Optimizing growing conditions with tools like automated fertigation systems is ultimately in the pursuit of higher productivity and final crop yield. With better conditions, regular nutrient delivery, and careful tracking of growth, your cannabis plants will naturally perform their best, giving you the best possible results at harvest.
Using Fertigation for Commercial Cannabis Grows
Fertigation systems can be integrated into virtually any grow facility, whether you grow outdoors, in a greenhouse, or indoors. Highly flexible and customizable, fertigation systems can be tailored to fit the needs of your commercial operation exactly, so you don’t have to compromise or re-work your operation to enjoy the benefits of fertigation.
Outdoor Fertigation Systems
Outdoor growers are in a race to keep up with an industry that is becoming steadily more technologically advanced. With many outdoor and greenhouse growers still relying heavily on human labor, they’ll need to find solutions to cut these costs to remain profitable and competitive. Fertigation systems are just one of the tools now being adopted by outdoor growers to manage time consuming tasks, and reduce overall production costs.
Indoor Fertigation Systems
Like outdoor growers, indoor growers are in a constant race against the competition to become the most efficient, productive, and profitable. High-tech solutions have vastly improved production time and costs, and fertigation systems are among some of the top time savers for large commercial growers.
Integrating with Vertical Racking Systems
Vertical racking systems and tables are great for maximizing space, but they can make it more difficult for staff to access plants. Fertigation systems can easily be integrated with vertical systems, and completely eliminate the need for staff to access plants to deliver nutrients.
Brands We Trust
Over years of working with top cultivators, we’ve encountered countless unique challenges, unique solutions, and industry pros doing exciting things for the world of cannabis growing. Today, we partner with just a handful of trusted companies to provide our customers with the most reliable and carefully designed fertigation systems available.
Injecting chemicals into water lines is easy, reliable, and convenient with water-powered, non-electric chemical injectors from Dosatron. Dosatron injectors guarantee that chemical mixtures remain constant regardless of pressure or flow changes by using volumetric proportioning.
No matter whether you grow plants from seeds or from cuttings (clones), creating the right fertilizer mix is a delicate science. Using a Dosatron injector, you can create a multi-chemical mix that gives you the outcome you want with repeatable results. With the Nutrient Delivery System, you can choose from a variety of fertigation programs with a simple arrangement of four main panels, eliminating the time-consuming process of ‘measure and pour’.
With more than 50 years of experience, Netafim is one of the industry’s leading irrigation and fertigation companies. The Netafim system was developed for growing crops in desert soil, designed to withstand extreme conditions, in the Negev Desert. More than 100 countries benefit from Netafim’s watering and fertigation systems, which are among the most efficient and long-lasting in the world.
RHYTHM‘s advanced fertigation systems can prepare, mix, and deliver a variety of nutrient recipes to specific areas of your facility. A RHYTHM fertigation system can even prepare recipes in advance and deliver them to holding reservoirs or directly to plants. Whether you use powder or liquid nutrients, a RHYTHM offers reliable mixing, storage, and delivery.
Working with Vulcan Squad
When you work with Vulcan Squad, you’ll experience a collaborative method of design and installation made to ensure you get the results you need for your unique grow operation. Vulcan Squad has worked with cultivators of every size, and can help to guide your design process to make the right selections for your needs.
In addition to the help of our experienced designers, contractors, and grow experts, you’ll enjoy access to industry leading manufacturers of tools like fertigation systems. We only work with companies we trust, meaning we have personally installed their products, and seen how they operate after years of use.