AgroMechanix is based out of Tacoma, Washington and offers customers many popular and unique cannabis strains, including some they have created themselves! Their sister company, SlabMechanix, produces oils and concentrates. AgroMechanix’ saying is, “Regardless of your preferences, we have a texture, strain, and potency you desire!” As part of this viewpoint, AgroMechanix’s experienced team of growers meticulously cares for each plant, from clone to harvest.
Just a year ago, the AgroMechanix facility looked very different from it does today. The entire facility was outfitted with 1000 & 1200 W double-ended high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps that produced excess amounts of heat that were problematic in their vertical flowering rack system for a number of reasons. First, the high temperatures negatively affected flower development and subsequent yields. Flower development is extremely sensitive to heat and temperatures >30°C (86°F) are well-documented to decrease yields1. Using the HPS lamps, the flowers were burning from the proximity to the lamps and AgroMechanix was seeing yields of only about 0.85 lbs/light. Secondly, the excess heat from the HPS lights increased room humidity. This spike in humidity was especially evident once the lights turned off and the air cooled. When air temperature drops by a few degrees and vapor pressure deficit stays the same, humidity drastically increases. In turn, this excess humidity can increase the risk of fungal infection. Wet, humid environments can promote the growth of various molds and fungi, such as botrytis, powdery mildew, and fusarium (to name just a few!) that ultimately lead to decreased yields. Lastly, hot, humid environments are just plain uncomfortable for staff to work in. Just think about 5040 BTUs, leaving a beautiful scalding blister on your forehead!
Before: A view of the AgroMechanix facility before the renovation. The entire facility was outfitted with 1000 – 1200 W double-ended HPS lamps that produced excess amounts of heat resulting in crispy, burnt flowers that produced low yields.
AgroMechanix installed URSA Lighting’s Helios 600 W luminaires in their main grow room. The goal was to reduce the heat and humidity in the facility while improving plant growth and optimizing yields. Developments in solid state lighting technology have increased the level of light intensity that can be achieved with LEDs and many growers now consider them to be excellent replacements for HPS lamps. In fact, by 2020, LED lights are anticipated to replace HPS lamps in most applications as a result of their reduced electricity consumption! Today, we checked in with AgroMechanix to see how they were doing with their new Helios 600 W LED lights!
|Old Lights||1000 W high pressure sodium|
|New Luminaires||Helios 600 W LED|
|Strain||Coogies, Dirty Girl, Jesus OG|
|Hang Height||Variable, 1.7 ft – 2.5 ft|
|Veg||4 weeks, fluorescent, 24 hr day length|
|Flower||10 weeks, Helios 600 W, 12 hr day length|
“AgroMechanix was able to increase their yields by about 200%. They accomplished an impressive 2.5 lbs per light with URSA Lighting’s Helios 600 W luminaire during a standard 9-week cycle!”
After: AgroMechanix implemented URSA Lighting’s Helios 600 W LED luminaires in one of their largest flowering rooms. With the URSA Helios 600 W LEDs, plants receive more than 800 μmol/m2s-1 of photosynthetically active light for 12 hours a day!
AgroMechanix implemented URSA Lighting’s Helios 600 W LED luminaires in their main flowering room. In a typical grow, clones and vegetative plants start off under fluorescent or ceramic metal halide (CMH) lights for about 4 weeks. Following vegetative growth, the plants are transitioned into flowering under the Helios 600 W LEDs for 9-10 weeks, depending on the strain. With URSA Lighting’s Helios 600 W LEDs, plants receive more than 800 μmol/m2s-1 of photosynthetically active light (PAR) for 12 hours a day! Using this strategy, AgroMechanix was able to increase their yields by about 200%! They accomplished an impressive 2.5 lbs per light with the URSA Ligting’s Helios 600 W luminaire during a standard 9 week cycle.
Besides high yields, the Helios 600 W luminaires also produced plants with the highest THC levels! THC is produced in trichomes (hair-like structures) on the surface of cannabis flowers. When a plant is given high amounts of PAR, the plant can produce larger trichomes2! These larger trichomes hold greater amounts of THC3. At the AgroMechanix facility, plants grown under the Helios 600 W luminaires produced 32% more THC in comparison to the old HPS lamps.
Most importantly was the benefit AgroMechanix saw from the reduced heat and humidity in their facility. LED and HPS technologies dissipate thermal energy in different ways, and it’s easy to misjudge the magnitude of this heat stress on plant growth and yields. LED lights emit most of their heat through convection rather than radiation. Because of this, leaf temperatures can be much cooler under an LED fixture compared to an HPS lamp4. With the new URSA Helios 600 W luminaires, the AgroMechanix facility was able to reduce their energy consumption while attaining the ideal temperature and humidity levels for plant growth. The URSA Horti-Lighting team continues to work with AgroMechanix to narrow-in on lighting strategies for optimal growth.
- HPS 1000 W
- Helios 600 W
Figure 1: When AgroMechanix implemented the Helios 600 W LED luminaires, their yields (dry bud weight) and THC content increased!
- Sage, T.L. et al. The effect of high temperature stress on male and female reproduction in plants. Field Crops Research 182 (2015).
- Nihoul, P. Do light intensity, temperature and photoperiod affect the entrapment of mites on glandular hairs of cultivated tomatoes? Exp. Appl. Acarol. 17, 709–718 (1993).
- Small, E. & Naraine, S. Size matters: evolution of large drug-secreting resin glands in elite pharmaceutical strains of Cannabis (…) Genet. Resour. Crop Evol. 63, 349–359 (2016).
- Nelson, J.A. & Bugbee, B. Analysis of Environmental Effects on Leaf Temperature under Sunlight, High Pressure Sodium and Light Emitting Diodes. PLoS ONE 10 (2015).