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🍃 AMA With Ethan Kayes Wed. Dec 26th 11 AM PST

Good morning, @memberdirectory! We are announcing an AMA with Thought Leader Ethan Kayes. Ethan has been generously contributing to our friendly growing forum since the early days and we thought today would be a great day to invite him to talk to the forum about his many years of experience in floriculture and how it relates to today’s evolving cannabis industry. @ethan has generously allowed us some of his time today, and we are humbly grateful. Today’s discussion can include anything from floriculture, to computer science, to business.

A little about Ethan, straight from his bio:

"I am a retired horticulturalist with my bachelor 87 and masters degrees 89 from the University of Missouri Columbia.

I wanted my PhD, I even had a topic picked out. Fucundity index modeling of pest to predator populations in homogeneous environments. But, I thought I need some real life experience before persuading an even more advanced degree.

Real life happened.

I ran a cut flower greenhouse in Kansas City for five years. We worked 7 days a week 365 days a year. So I know the pain of commercial production.

We had a baby and need to offer our bundle of joy more time with his parents.

I was headhunted by a fortune 50 technology company to lead up special computer language projects. We wrote custom languages for our programmers. One third of my time for twenty years was spent reading reasurch journals. I did this to help solve real business problems. I was supplied a top 100 problem list every quarter. I found many solutions to very complex business problems with very simple solutions. Often the solution came from highly unlikely sources.

One last note about me. I was forced to retire because of a genetic health reason. So I live off a fixed income. But, I am willing to share my knowledge and I am willing to research just about anything.

Interesting facts about me.
In graduate school I ran out of horticulture classes to take. I ended up with a year and a half of mycology classes. Studying under a professor who worked on the penicillin project during ww2. All the people who’s books we used, in class, where people I met as a 10 to 16 year old at the North America mushroom society annual conferences.

I had plant virology before there was a text book. For three months we just read journal articles and discussed them. The class was very old school. The professor had his doctorate from Oxford. And had grownup in India attended IIT as an undergraduate.

I started my masters degree work while still an under graduate student. My major adviser had me take all the computer science classes they would let me into over the next two and years. This is where I started writing custom programming languages, first in assembly. Later in higher languages. I still love assembly language. Learned way to much about queuing theory. End up using queuing theory for more problems then anything else.

I wanted to get to know one of the professors at school. Ron Taven, of blessed memory was a man for all seasons. I knew he spent every Wednesday afternoon at the University library. He spent the first thirty minutes reading the Oxford English Dictionary (the thirty volume set of the second edition) as if it where a novel. I started going to the library and reading the OED every Wednesday. I learned how to read and review peer journals. I made a friend for life."

TODAY’S AMA:
WHO: Ethan Kayes
WHAT: What is required move cannabis from a craft cottage industry to a floriculture business? What can our larger floriculture brethren teach us?
WHERE: Right here
WHEN: Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

10 Likes

Yeah, @ethan ist best guy for AMA,
he has great knowledge and experience.
Something I would ask but currently I have no questions that are universal in the sense of geolocation.
I know! @Ethan tell me how you think when cannabis will be legalized in Europe today.
I know this is just a puzzle but as a person who knows different cultures, how do you think?
In my mind: in poland it’s very hard to do this. hemp is supposed to be possible, but THC excretion <0.2% effectively hinders anything except typical industrial use in construction, veneering and pharmacy to a small extent. Ist terrible in my opinion.

5 Likes

I don’t know how cannabis will be legal as a recreational drug crop in the EU. As a fiber crop we are there.

If the USA legalize recreational cannabis, the EU will not be far behind. Or if it happens the other way.

Hemp, I worry that it will solely be a commodity. This makes it very hard being a small producer. Big ag will control the fiber industry.

From the voices in my
Ethan

5 Likes

Great topic!

Our little ten acre ornamental greenhouse range in Oklahoma is the last of its kind in our state. At ~500,000 sq. ft. We rank about 110 or so nationally on the annual list of greenhouse size in the industry.

We are very interested in scaling our current 30,000 sq ft cannabis greenhouses into 2-5 acres.

7 Likes

Questions, that I am very interested in discussing.

  • Genetics in cannabis production

  • Technology and its role in making us better growers. IPM simplification is need. Our beneficial insect producers should be leading the way forward.

  • Integrated Pest Management in our Standard Operating Procedures, how can we simplify our procedures.

  • Accounting for Production management. Our accounting departments should be an asset in our grows. We need to look at how our chart of accounts can support business decisions on the grow.

  • Defining a standard unit of measure in cannabis production

  • Utilization of ISO8602 weeks in cannabis production management and how to integrate back into accounting

  • Basic plant nutrition in cannabis and plant physiology in cannabis

  • Fact vs Fiction is Cannabis productions.

  • Who will be the Money makers in the Cannabis world of tomorrow?

  • What can we learn from the WW2 Hemp for Victory that can be applied to the cannabis industry?

  • Research trends in cannabis productions and research in other fields that will make us better growers.

  • Can and why are we not producing crops for harvest 52 weeks of the year?

  • Light and the Grow room how some lighting manufactures are letting us down.

  • Anything else you can throw my way

  • Why do I say from the voices in my head and why do I only work for a pair of socks?

Warm regards
From the voices in my head
פון די קולות אין מיין קאָפּ
fun di kulus in meyn kop
Ethan Kayes

9 Likes

I don’t think that there any secrets in good growing. You have commercially other floricultural crops, cannabis is really no different than growing mums. There are some tricks in growing great cannabis just as there are some ticks in growing good mums.

The problem with large scale cannabis production is in the area of IPM and Post Harvest handling of the crop. The list of EPA approved chemicals for cannabis is very small.

The change for most floriculture operations is moving to a very strict IPM practices as part of an SOP. The measurement of cost for square foot week of production does not offer enough detail for cannabis production. I think grams dry weight per square foot week will be the unit of measure. This is going to cause some operations to change there accounting system to both reward good production practices and penalizes bad practices. It is much more important in cannabis production to be proactive than reactive.

Get to know the big biological houses and start developing relationships. I think your floriculture operation will benefit from the changes also. You will see lower operating costs as a whole.

The other change you may see is your choice of growing mediums. MetroMix for nursery production is most likely the best choice for a grow. The container size in Cannabis is closer to nursery production than traditional floriculture productions.

Root hairs are going to be the critical factor in production.

Also the industry is moving to a media pH that is lower than I am use to growing at. This for me will be a hard change to make. I have to learn a whole know set of availability numbers. I think @ron has the best cannabis fertilizer blend available, but there are similar blends from Peters. Water in Oklahoma is as evil as in Kansas City. High pH with one hell of a lot of buffering. I suspect that growers will have problems in the Midwest that are different than growers on the east and west costs. Just like we see in traditional floriculture crops.

Water management in the Midwest is just different and harder.

I think I have visited your greenhouse in OK in the 1990’s on a tour from the OK horticulture program.

From the voices in my head Ethan

5 Likes

I love this quote and I agree wholeheartedly! Gone are the days of “trade secrets” in the cannabis industry!

5 Likes

I was told the biggest secret in being a good grower is walking the crop 3 times a day with a note card.

6 Likes

How did you get started in floraculture? When and how did you first discover cannabis?

3 Likes

Right on! I’m definitely tuning in at 11:00am PST to hear more from those voices in your head…

7 Likes

My father was a doctor MD and my mother was a PHD biologist. I hated medicine all that blood.
I really loved plants and mushrooms.

Cannabis was what kids of my age did. I just did it more than my friends. I think I was trying to self medicate.

We would collect sunk along the old Katy train lines in St. Louis.

I found the horticulture program at the University of Missouri and they let me concentrate on what I loved. Growing plants.

I really fell in love with Cut Flower Production. Latherus oderotera and thought the market for locally grown cut flowers had a nitch in horticulture. The winter production was great. Summer sucked.

from the voices in my head Ethan

5 Likes

Cannabis productions, well that is a lot of illegal productions in my teens and twenties. I stopped when we had a child.

But, I grew a lot of pot in a 10 year period. It was good planning on our parts on not getting in trouble and ending up in prison.

From the voices in my head Ethan

5 Likes

For how long did you actively practice floarculture as a profession?

2 Likes

I actively grew floriculture crops from 1982 through 1996.

3 Likes

During that time, you told me the DEA visited your greenhouses on several occasions…can you elaborate a bit about that? What were those federal visits like?

2 Likes

The IBM DB2 group actively pulled me from Horticulture to more computer science type work. I retired as a senior researcher for AON.

3 Likes

We would see the DEA at our greenhouse about twice a year sometimes more often. They just wanted to know if anyone was trying to buy commercial horticulture products from us. The walk through the greenhouse we would give them a coffee and some seconds of cut flowers.

For this level of cooperation we had access to the confiscation property sale of greenhouse supplies. We purchased a lot of lights for 10 cents on the dollar. And the HPS bulbs where essentially free. I think I bought two cases of MAH light bulbs for like $5 dollars. 48 bulbs for 5 dollars.

from the voices in my head Ethan

3 Likes

When I worked in finance, occasionally the SEC would visit. Our office manager had a procedure that involved locking them in the board room, showing them the files, then slamming the thermostat as low as it would go. Your procedure with the feds was way friendlier! Sounds like you ended up with some nice perks though!

2 Likes

Did you find your background in floraculture served you in any way as your career path took you into computer science? Conversely, it’s remarkable the progression software has made in the horticulture industry! Where do you see the future of cannabis cultivation as we see more synthesis of tech meets growing?

3 Likes

I had a great deal more exposure to the government and regulations working at AON Hewitt. We produced most of the federal compliance forms for our clients.

At the end of my working career, I was one of 5 people who could see unmasked data for about 1/3 of the USA population. SSN, salary data, address, health data, etc. I was responsible for creating blind datasets for our actuarial group and our compliance divisions. All our data was so encrypted, I was worried the guys with master keys would get hit by busses.

I also spent way to much time working with the Federal Reserve on ACH transactions.

2 Likes