Crop steering in cannabis guides plants toward explicit cultivation goals (i.e. record yields and desired phytochemical profiles) by using specific environmental cues. Traditionally, that means cultivators micromanage climate and irrigation, but what happens by adding in advanced lighting control?
Lighting has taken somewhat of a backseat to other crop steering principles. But with the right set of tools, it doesn't need to be this way. Growers can incorporate precision zone-controlled lights to take crop steering to an entirely new level.
TSRgrow's platform, incorporating energy-efficient LED grow lights and powerful environment monitoring and control software, offers an advanced solution to solving many of the current limitations experienced for crop steering in large commercial spaces.
Crop steering, as it’s currently applied to cannabis cultivation, manages climatic and fertigation within strict parameters to trigger hormonal responses within the plant. Depending on adjustments, growers aim to induce either vegetative or generative growth.
Instead of following the natural seasonal progression of plant development, cultivators can use crop steering to trigger specific vegetative or generative responses at any point. For example, growers may prompt a short vegetative phase during flower to promote larger flower development.
Most online resources cover irrigation and climate cues in depth. A typical strategy will use grow room sensors and environment controls to manage electrical conductivity (EC), water content (dry backs), vapor pressure deficit (VPD), CO2, temperature, humidity, and other inputs. But the light component typically only gets a short shout-out — and usually only in relation to day and night schedules.
This is a missed opportunity to dial in crop steering because light intensity and spectrum are critical and active components that trigger different growth responses.
While always a primary driver of growth, light tends to take a back seat in most discussions about crop steering. This is because it's never been possible to get the same sort of control over grow lights in a larger commercial space as it has been to manage irrigation and other climate controls. As a result, growers still rely on traditional fixtures, with imprecise light recipes used in non-crop-steered environments.
There have long been technological limitations to grow room lighting that doesn't lend itself to precise zone control. For example, in a large multi-strain cultivation room, there are likely one or two fertigation zones and only a single HVAC zone. Theoretically, it's possible to optimize some aspects of these environments, but the entire room is rarely uniform.
What happens when there are large climatic fluctuations from one corner of the room to the next, or there are ten strains within the same space? Unfortunately, these situations are common in the commercial sector and mean there are limited options for truly optimized crop steering.
The lighting requirements during every growth phase are a dynamic component, playing off of other climatic conditions and desired development outcomes. If you are growing different strains in the same room (short strains, long flower period strains, or high heat tolerance), they will likely all have different lighting needs.
But the current grow light options don't allow for multiple zone control in a single room. Most light fixtures on the market may be dimmable, but each ballast needs its own dimming wire. Running dimming wires out to every fixture is neither feasible nor financially possible in a room with dozens, if not hundreds, of fixtures.
What's more, the light fixtures do not dynamically react to the needs of each strain and localized climate conditions. Growers can adjust fertigation in response to intel gathered from grow room sensors. Still, there is no way to complete the crop steering strategy by precise zone-targeted light control.
TSRgrow's integrated hardware and software solution is the missing piece cannabis cultivators need to optimize the entire environment on a zone-by-zone basis. Our energy-efficient LED grow lights, environment monitoring sensors, and control software pivot as the climate does and meet the evolving parameters required for each strain.
Our LED lighting solutions have decoupled the power from the fixture, translating into centralized power and centralized control. Instead of a room strung with a web of dimming wires, we offer growers unlimited flexibility because we've removed the ballast from the fixture entirely.
There are no longer any power or driver limitations. Decoupling the power into a centralized system also reduces operational expenditures, as the TSRgrow control system delivers only the power each fixture needs — as it needs it. It's taking the expected energy efficiency of LED grow lights one step further.
In addition (and of most relevance to crop steering), each LED light fixture has integrated information from monitors that can dial in the lighting controls. Localized sensors ensure that each fixture reacts to the environmental conditions within every zone.
For example, it's possible to adjust lights for low-growing strains in one section while also hitting taller strains in another. Or, if one corner of your environment typically sees higher CO2, it's possible to deliver higher or lower intensity light to that specific zone.
With unlimited zones per room, growers can use highly targeted dimming capabilities to maximize yields even further to refine their crop steering strategy.
TSRgrow’s advanced LED lighting, power, data, and environmental solution finally gives cultivators the tools they need to perfect crop steering. Through an integrated grow room monitoring and control system, combined with advanced LED lighting, it's possible to micromanage the inputs by strain and by microclimate, even within the same grow room.
We make it possible to monitor each zone in real-time and adjust localized lighting in response to climate fluctuation or information gleaned from crop registration. The TSRgrow solution delivers consistent, high-quality yields — all while reducing operating costs. If you are interested in learning how TSRgrow advanced LED lighting solutions are helping cultivators succeed, please contact a growing specialist today!