When craftsmanship meets science, a plant grows stronger. Growth means constant evolution and innovation, which is why Microflor has switched from seedboxes to plugs, focus mainly on organic pesticides, and successfully recuperate and reuse 80% of our water.
Data is the new gold, and the cultivation sector is no exception. Microflor is increasing its use of wireless sensors and data analysis techniques. "We link historical data to physical measurements of growth, particularly of root and leaf formation. As a result, we have better insight and therefore stronger plants," the company says.
Constant quality all year round, but how?
So, dark winters and hot summers no longer affect production? Of course, they do. "But we know how to protect our plants. For years, we compensated the seasonal effects by extending cultivation time in winter. Fast forward to 2019, in the deep of winter, when we finally saw the light. And quite literally so: we discovered LED lights. Via a large-scale test, we investigated the effects of extra LED lighting in the second cultivation phase. The result? Strong root growth, but weaker leaf growth," says Arne Steelandt, cultivation manager.
"We continued experimenting in the winter of 2020/21. We adjusted the climate and nutrient content, eliminating the negative effects on leaf growth. This resulted in a good balance above and below the ground: young plants with stronger roots and around three pairs of leaves."
"In the coming months, we are taking things up a notch by providing the entire second cultivation phase with additional LED lighting. Does this eliminate the seasonal effect entirely? Not yet, so we are expanding our test with extra lighting in the first phase. Our motto is “there’s always room for improvement”, so we continue to search for new and better sensors."
LED: additional protection in summer
Another advantage of LED lighting? Not only does it guide plants through the dark winter months, but it also protects them from extreme heat in summer. Growers can shield the plants from the heat while accommodating the resulting loss of light with LED lights, which don’t give off any extra heat – unlike the classic Son-T lights.
9080 Lochristi, Belgium