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Make Your Cannabis Cultivation Data Work for You

Today, more than half of U.S. states have medical marijuana (MMJ) laws in place, and many are on the trajectory to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use if they have not already. Some of these efforts have stalled during this difficult period but remain on the radar once legislatures take up normal business. In recent months we’ve seen many cannabis companies, and the tax revenue they produce, deemed “essential,” despite the industry’s still federally illegal status. But regardless of these wins, it’s a very stressful time to be in the cannabis industry. 

One of my mentors, usually when it was least appropriate, said quite often, “If you’re a hustler, every setback gets looked at as an opportunity.” I say least appropriate because she was usually watching some disaster unfolding in front of her that everyone to her right and left was looking at in horror, and that was her pre-CoronaVirus mindset. 

In our current, shared COVID reality, there is no shortage of setbacks to examine for their silver lining, and most or all of these “opportunities” are more challenging than the last. To name a few of the most consequential: All international supply chains are disrupted. Consumer behavior was very unpredictable for a while as lockdowns made it impossible for people to purchase anything that could not be delivered. Skilled Labor, the most important asset of any operation was severely impacted. As we are talking to the Producers and Processors out there, we are hearing all of them needing to increase efficiencies even more than usual due to staff being unable to come to work and operate in close proximity.

And all this is happening with the normal cannabis game pressures still in play like major players starting to invest and new competition popping up every day. This new landscape just means there’s never been more pressure for cannabis operators to be efficient, productive, and profitable. 

All modern businesses use data collection and analysis to improve processes, and cannabis industry operators must continue catching up. One of the primary goals we have here at Delta9 Systems is to bring proven manufacturing processes to the cannabis industry. As the industry continues its moves out of the shadows and into the light of the legitimate (and heavily regulated) commercial business world, success will be defined by the cannabis operators who record the right data efficiently and use it to make smart business decisions. 

Let’s look at a few of the many reasons to embrace data collection in cannabis cultivation. 

#1: Save precious time 

In the era of cannabis 2.0, the smartest cannabis operations are using State-mandated traceability to their advantage, making their data work for them and not the other way around. Here are a few time-saving solutions we’ve seen in terms of data collection:

Reducing redundancy  

RFID METRC tags keep track of cannabis plants and products as they move through the supply chain. But on their own, these tags don’t contain any actionable data growers can use, not even the name of the plant. Understandably, cultivators sometimes have a hard time assigning and tracking the plant IDs when they have thousands of cuts to take each day. We even heard of cultivators who’ve had full-time employees dedicated solely to writing names on plant stakes by hand. 

Luckily, there’s an innovative solution to this inefficient and redundant problem. Delta9 Systems offers a new capability through CAB Technologies that integrates actionable data with seed-to-sale traceability requirements. With this technology, it’s possible to print additional data directly onto MERTC tags in seconds. Investing in a tool like this will save hours of employee time, and that adds up to thousands of dollars a year. Head to our Instagram to see this capability in action. 

Streamlining the traceability workflow

Another inefficient data collecting process is moving back and forth between the garden and the front office to complete critical traceability and compliance tasks. For example, many growers take notes and observations on paper or on their mobile phone, then have to re-enter the data manually into the system. In the minutes it takes to walk to the front office, fire up the computer, enter the notes and print new plant tags, valuable time — and detailed production data — is lost. 

With a Mobile Traceability Cart, all the equipment needed to perform compliance and traceability operations is within arm’s reach. With a terminal, scale, scanner and printer all mounted to a mobile workbench that goes anywhere in the garden, your employees can record all the data the State needs, plus important daily notes and observations. Every extra touchpoint in your workflow that’s eliminated will result in better efficiency and productivity, and that leads to better profitability! Watch this video to learn more about the Mobile Traceability Cart. 

#2: Protect your plants

Cannabis facilities of all sizes can benefit from using gathering and analyzing data to refine their processes and protect their plants. Tracking extensive data — above and beyond what’s required by the State — will inform your grow methods and even help detect and address potential problems. Some key factors to track include:

Genetic background 

Atmospheric data – temperature, light, humidity, nutrient levels, leaf color, root color

Types of nutrients and feeding schedules

Signs of pests, infection or disease

New equipment/technology used and its effectiveness

Yield and waste

The more detailed data you capture, the better. Most cultivators use an automated system to monitor and capture highly-detailed data daily or hourly, but automation isn’t everything. There’s still immense value in getting up close and personal with cannabis plants and manually recording any daily observations from the garden.  

#3: Plan for the future 

The most important reason to collect data is to act upon it. Agricultural businesses have been using analytics for decades to improve their yields and reallocate their resources, and now, so are modern grow rooms. The more precise data you collect, especially over a length of time, the better you can project and plan for future grow cycles. 

At Delta9 Systems, we provide cannabis traceability systems and solutions that help cannabis facilities operate their business and workflow in the most efficient, productive and profitable manner possible. 

Connect with us today and let’s talk about your growing business!

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Chris Guthrie
Chris is the General Manager of Delta9 Systems, a division of General Data Co. He is an expert in the cannabis industry, having participated in the birth of the cannabis industry in Washington, and has operated one of the first and oldest medical dispensaries in Seattle. For a decade, Chris has participated in the design and managed the construction of dozens of indoor gardens, and has been involved in cultivation, processing, retail operations, as well as industry activism.
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