I’m an investor and part owner of several grows. Right now, I’m considering a grow which plans to utilize vertical stacking and LED lights. Frankly, their production projections seem too good to be true. I’d love to connect with growers utilizing similar methods and hear about their experiences. What are the real production results?
Do we have any growers that have experience with vertical stacking and LED lights?
Yes, i started using LEDs in my veg room over a year ago and now have replaced most of the HPS in one flower room with them. Having great success, highly recommend.
Thanks for sharing! What brand of LED lights did you end up going with? Also, feel free to post some pics of your set up.
I highly recommend making the switch to LED’s. The LED’s will pay for themselves in lower operational costs, power consumption, and lowered HVAC requirements. Definitely worth considering!
Yes. my question isn’t really about operating costs, its about production. What production metrics do you use–lbs/sqft, or whatever, and how do your results with LED compare to your results with HPS? Thanks so much.
We have Fluence, California Lightworks, Thrive Agritech and Cannalights in our rooms. I like the Cannalights and Fluence best. We’ve been getting 3+ lbs per 4x8 recently under these lights. The ability to dial in the VPD is also helping a lot with plant health. You can see our pics on our Instagram account… @lovingkindness_farms
Thank you Jason. How long do you flower? Are you able to get 4 cycles a year? That would imply from a 4x8 space you get about 12 lbs per year.
And, have you considered tiering? Do you think that’s a good idea, or not?
Much appreciated, Robert
I’m at the same stage of yourself. When I started doing the math I couldn’t believe my eyes. My partner to this day is still skeptical, no matter how many models I throw her way. We are confident that this is the future of indoor growing. HPS will quickly become a thing of the past, they’re just not cost effective anymore comparatively.
By the way, I love the name of your farm. If you are in California, can’t wait for my next trip there to buy some of your beautiful flower.
You are on the right track. Quality (commercial quality) LEDs are expensive to build and it is hard to get the numbers to flush off of energy savings alone since real energy savings will reduce yields when compared to DE HPS. To make a good case for the increased initial capital expenditure you need to bring up yields and quality along with reduced costs.
As in many business situations, there is not single metric to look at, but we definitely look at grams per square foot per harvest. The general consensus we have found is the true average in operating facilities is in the 40-50 grams per square foot. We have done R&D tests that go into the 130 grams per square foot area and have commercial facilities hitting more than double the industry average. This comes down to running proper levels of light and setting up those lights correctly.
To hit those numbers above we are running veg for 4-6 weeks and flowering for 9-10 weeks and we base our profit analysis on 5.1 turns per year.
We definitely do multi-tier projects but I would argue that good rolling tables set up properly will out produce a racking set up for less money. If you have tall ceilings a second level would make more sense in many cases. There are a lot of things to consider such as single room exposure in terms of pests and disease as well as build-out and ongoing operational considerations that come into play when considering going vertical.
Hope some of that information helps.
Black Dog LED
Sustainable Growth Technology has a great vertical grow technology, and the production is astounding. I’ve seen several grows in the Denver area that swear by them.
I’m with Imperial cannabis in Tacoma and we do a vertical grow but we don’t stack it on shelves we grow on a vertical wall if you’d be interested in something like that we have found it to be extremely efficient.
Half the rent half the lights half the labor with yields at 1.5 to 1.7 grams/watt… Expecting that to get better at we work with the system.
It was developed in house because we couldn’t find anything on the market.
How do you take care of the flowers on the top rows? Ladders? Picking Forklift?
Led’s are amazing and give great color to the plants I’ve noticed. My biggest thing… everyone seems to feel you have to choose one option or the other. In my experience magic is made with mix and variety. My personal favorite? Giving them a mixed dosage of led and natural sunlight. Just depends on the grow. But, since were talking commercial here I suppose many have access to those kinds of possibilities when it comes to a massive scale. Keep the temps low during the night while supplying a sufficient amount of light gain via led. Then, turn it up a notch or two with the natural sun during the heat of the day. For those without those capabilities I say use other lights instead of the sun. People talk about spectrum like it can all be done with one type of light. My question is can you really? Energy is what we are providing for these plants and if there is multiple forms of energy I figure giving It a few more blocks on the food triangle is what makes a real healthy plant. Thank you. -
“Here to educate and medicate all in one sesh”
Couldn’t agree more.
A ladder with a small platform with 4 wheels… Don’t know the name of the thing. We actually do very little work on the plants anywhere in the grow. We are a modified sea of green style growing once the plants go in we flip them and wait for Harvest. We do have to put one to two layers of netting depending on genetics to hold them up on the wall as they grow but that’s only about 15 minutes aside. Three people run can run 10k sq ft of canopy…30k needs about 8 on the grow side.
So, no lollipoping, thinning, etc. The idea is to get production cost close to a greenhouses.
Thanks Robert. We flower for 9 weeks, so about 5 crops per year. I can’t do tiering in my current setup but may consider it in the future. It would mean a huge change in our operations, but yeah it has a lot of advantages, namely labor savings on vegging and pruning cause you’re flowering straight out of the clone box, and also it maximizes your floor space. There are challenges that would come with that too I’m sure…
Call Agrijuana in Battle Ground, Washington state. They’re doing great with LED’s both veg and bloom with vertical stacking. I taught them how to make oil with their Eden Labs HiFlo.
So, for those who don’t know, I love dispelling industry myths and so-called “trade secrets” (those are the dirties words I know!). I’m with @Black-Dog-LED, @salvey01, and @lovingkindnessfarms, here: I am a firm believer in mixing spectrum. For those who have the ability to combine artificial lighting arrays with sunlight, you can truly maximize the efficiency of your light…plus your plants love it!
In a vertical operation, this integration of natural sunlight and artificial light can produce some really amazing results. I love vertical grows, they’re often a very real demonstration of efficiency…and they are just super cool to look at! I just marvel at them! Thanks for sharing the pics, @empyreal.craig! Those plants are healthy and the grow looks amazing! Drop lighting is so sweet! Recently, Growers House introduced the world’s first double-ended drop light…you should check them out! The DE’s are jacketed, but can be run without the glass, growers preference: Lack of light penetration resulting in reduced yields in the lower canopy of the plant.
I wanted to try something a bit different:
So, over the last few years I’ve been testing ceramic metal halide (CMH) lamps and I am very impressed. I’ve found I can overcome some of the problems usually cited by LED growers: lack of light penetration to the lower foliage of the plant. LED growers were complaining about reduced yields on the lowest canopy of the plant when they compared yields against similar crops grown under HID’s. Often growers will sacrifice efficiency or sustainability to err on the side of bigger yields.
By interspersing a combination of CMH with LED light, I’m seeing some really, really great results: Healthier, more turgid plants, stronger stalks and better yields, great flavor and terpene profiles. I also run waaaaaay less HVAC because these lighting arrays all run cooler than HID’s
Has anybody run CMH lights in a vertically integrated operation?