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Commercial Cannabis Cultivation: Rochester Farms

Because this video extols the virtues of automated crop production at Rochester Farms in Olympia, WA and how they make the case that because of their use of smart technology equipment and controls these efficiencies have led to increased profits we’re going to dig into this video a bit to see if that holds true.

Check out this 700 lighter in Olympia, WA. where they combine LED with HID lights in a fully automated Sea of Green, Flood and Drain style commercial cannabis cultivation facility. Where do I begin? These larger facilities should and must be the shining examples of how to grow organically and sustainably. Unfortunately after watching this video it’s clear that they have spent alot of money on their operation but have failed to help set the environmental standards practices the industry should be following. If you think I’m being harsh on Rochester Farms first ask yourself these questions and than let’s try and see if they, or anyone from within their organization that has knowledge of their operations will respond to these questions;

Why did you combine LED and HID for your grow lights? If the argument is that LED has better energy efficiencies and broader PAR spectrums than HID, than why keep the HID lights in the mix at all? Why have to deal with the narrow spectrums, lower efficiencies, the high temps they throw off and having to properly recycle all those HID lamps you’re having to replace at least once a year? Are the LEDS not good enough to replace the HID on their own? If so than you bought the wrong LED grow lights. If the decision was made to install LED to lower your watt/sq-ft values over a straight HID grow have you even done that? Based on the number of lights I see installed for the area being covered it doesn’t look to me like you’ve even accomplished that. To be fair, what are those watts/sq-ft numbers? With the proper smart technology LED grow lights (ie utility interface) you can reduce your watts/sq-ft demand while increasing quality and yield without the need for any HID at all. Our Impact Series LED Grow Light is designed to do just that.…/…/default/files/pdf/ImpactSeries10.pdf

Why, for the love of God, are you taking all that Grodan Rockwool (they use formaldehyde in their binder) to the landfill? Even though in the video you show how you squeeze the Rockwell cubes out in a mop bucket give me a break. There are still nutrients left in those blocks that are making it the the landfills. PLEASE get a perpetual rock spun media so you don’t have to do this. It’s reused over and over again.

After considering just two elements from the video which I’ve brought up here, I’d like the reader to keep in mind that Rochester Farms is just one of many existing and what will be many more large scale CannaFarms to come, that will be engaged in this market. If their practices and procedures are profitable, but are not sustainable and lack environmental sensitivity, than the issues being raised here will only be detrimentally compounded.