Education Guides

Getting more out of
cannabis light intensity

A huge part of cultivating indoors is having to balance managing lighting with the overall environment to facilitate plants achieving the expression growers โ€“ and consumers โ€“ are looking for.

Thatโ€™s why choosing the best lights for a facility is as much about ensuring the plants have what they need at each phase of growth as it is about product manufacturer and cost. When cultivating cannabis, light intensity tells growers how much light is reaching the surface of the leaves. We know light gives plants the energy they need to live, but the impact of light intensity for cannabis isnโ€™t just about photosynthesis. Integrating an effective cannabis light intensity schedule into your crop steering program also supports cannabinoid and terpene development. And whether the source for cannabis light intensity is LED or HPS bulbs, getting a handle on the intelligence can go long way toward helping growers achieve quality and consistency with every harvest.

How growers can leverage cannabis light intensity

Photosynthetic photon flux density, or PPFD, is a real-time measurement cultivators can use to assess the amount of photosynthetically active radiation, or PAR, thatโ€™s reaching each leaf and available for photosynthesis. Measured as micromoles of photons per square meter per second, PPFD is typically viewed as the light intensity standard. Growers who use crop steering techniques to manage their cultivations harness science and data to guide their decisions โ€“ and here are some of the ways growers can use cannabis light intensity intelligence to even greater advantage:

Evaluate operational efficiency

Light intensity doesnโ€™t just affect the quality of your crops. It can be a valuable tool to help growers evaluate their lighting decisions overall โ€“ including things like gauging the performance of the bulbs, assessing whether a greenhouse environment has enough supplemental lighting, and if the lights need to be raised or lowered above the canopy in the next run.

Make continuous improvements

As useful as PPFD is, it measures just one second in time. Thatโ€™s why cultivators who review daily light integral, or DLI โ€“ which details PAR spanning a period of 24 hours โ€“ wind up with a more accurate snapshot of how light intensity is impacting their plants. By collecting this information over the course of a run, growers have the intelligence they need to correlate light intensity with resulting quality and yield โ€“ and a launching pad for making improvements going forward.

Set facility standards 

The more cultivators learn from the past, the more they know what works and what doesnโ€™t. Factoring light intensity into post-harvest review and applying the learnings to dial in production processes not only tells the cultivation team what did and didnโ€™t work at the cultivar level โ€“ itโ€™s also a starting point for setting standard operating procedures (SOPs) at your facility. Because at the end of the day, producing the same quality results with every run is the surefire route to profitability.

Using AROYA to support your light intensity strategy

From assigning lighting-related chores via task management, to using the grow journal as your crop registration hub, to tracking your lighting through the new split graphs feature, AROYA is packed with features to help you make sure your lighting is up to par (get it?). For more from the experts on light intensity, check out Office Hours episode 53.

Related reading: Data Insights Overview

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