Artificial Intelligence in Hemp Growing Systems

Published: October 29, 2021

The greatest perk of investing in artificial intelligence is that your gains will improve over time. 
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The greatest perk of investing in artificial intelligence is that your gains will improve over time. 

AI has been known to have an important role in various industries. Society has learned a thing or two about it from TV and Will Smith movies, but the power and relevance of AI goes far beyond what we see in pop culture. 

Generally speaking, the dynamic technology behind AI, which covers a broad range of uses, can collect and interpret data, using programmed answers to formulate a response(s) just like a human would…Basically, AI makes its own decisions based on its programming.

As the next step in enhancing precision, automation, and productivity, AI and machine learning have become an integral part of industrial hemp production, where parameters like temperature and THC concentration can make or break an entire crop yield.

WHY IS AI MAKING A BUZZ IN THE HEMP INDUSTRY?

While AI may have started as a small-scale demonstration of high-end computers, continuous innovations and consequent developments have made it one of the fastest-growing niches in the tech industry. It’s no surprise that AI can be seen in almost every industry nowadays, everything from agriculture and education to fashion and retail.

Over the last few months, the agro-industry has seen soaring demand for cannabis due to various lockdowns, and at the current rate, the market could reach $76.3 billion by 2027. However, this surge in demand is not just due to the lockdowns alone – innovative technologies, specifically AI, have helped to grow the industry with the many business opportunities it brings to the fold.

The ability for AI to effectively identify, manage and monitor most mechanical tasks helps to check production errors, improve cost efficiency, and maximize revenue. All of which are valuable in hemp production; a very labor-intensive process. 

Particularly, the nature of the hemp plant requires a closely controlled environment to ensure yield consistency. 

In the absence of effective monitoring systems, farmers have had to resort to thinner profit margins, harvesting almost blindly due to how susceptible hemp plants are to external factors. Fortunately, AI can help with this as well.

Most AI growth systems have high-resolution sensors, automated monitoring, management systems, and a variety of plant tracking devices, which help farmers/growers stay informed with real-time data on influential production factors.

Michael Yorke, CEO, and Director of CROP Corp said in an interview: 

“The use of AI in sensors and high-definition cameras can be used to keep track of and adjust multiple inputs in the growing environment such as water level, PH level, temperature, humidity, nutrient feed, light spectrum and CO2 levels. Tracking and adjusting these inputs can make a major difference in the quantity and quality of cannabis that growers are able to produce. AI also helps automate trimming technology so that it is able to de-leaf buds saving countless hours of manual labor. Similarly, it can be applied to automated planting equipment to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of planting. And AI can identify the sex of the plants, detect sick plants, heal or remove sick plants from the environment, and track the plant growth rate to be able to predict size and yield.”

FUNCTIONS IN THE HEMP INDUSTRY

Just about every analysis forecasts long-term growth in the hemp industry. However, there are still several hurdles on the way to realizing this growth, and some of these go beyond simply changing the existing laws and regulations. 

True, the industry has not always been a big adopter of new technologies. However, its prospects are now more glaring, and investors are jumping in with billions of dollars. Thus, the adoption of better production technologies seems inevitable from this end.

Growth of Hemp

Adrian Holguin, CEO of CannaShark Consulting acknowledged the massive changes within his first three years in the industry. Holguin, who is deep into the industry’s development said:

“The use of A.I. sensors allow us to keep track of every element of the cultivation process such as water level, P.H. level, temperature, nutrient feed, etc. A.I. will also help in a lot of the automation process. Indoor growing has a history of heavy resource consumption for water and electricity, Artificial Intelligence and robotics allow the cultivating process to be more efficient and effective.”

Using AI, growers can eliminate some of the biggest challenges in hemp cultivation and improve yield. In production, AI automatically integrates, reads, and transforms data recorded from automated systems.  Growers can then use this data in optimizing their various processes. It can also automatically modify growth conditions to better-suited levels for crops to not only grow, but to thrive. 

From yield management to plant health control, AI technology helps growers get the perfect recipe for better production and improved consistency in their processes. 

One of these systems is the AI built by the William Bond Ai company. This system assists hemp growers in nurturing their plants, controlling breeding, as well as analysis and detection of diseased or damaged areas on the plant. It can also share these discoveries with other similar platforms. 

Seed To Sale Tracking

This is a rigorous inventory control system that tracks the hemp plant throughout the production cycle; from its early stages to the final consumer. 

For consumers, it gives the assurance of health and wellness. For producers, it provides the much-needed tools and optimal data for improved techniques and profits. For regulators, tracking allows for the monitoring of every product at every stage of the supply chain. 

Seed-to-sale tracking is fast becoming the primary use of AI in the hemp industry. With this system, everybody wins. It allows transparency and helps to grow the integrity of the relatively new industry. 

With this system, customers can determine the origin of the plant, the nutrients used in nurturing the plant, and other pertinent details. Manufacturers can make informed decisions about their products, and regulators can run compliance checks with ease.

Regulation Issues

One of the pertinent obstacles facing the hemp industry is ensuring compliance in all 50 states. So, while the 2018 Farm Bill decriminalized hemp, we still have a long way to go before we are in the clear. 

Thankfully, AI makes it easier to keep all your ducks in a row. Most AI systems use location services to ensure your production system remains in compliance with the region’s jurisdiction. Based on these algorithms, they offer recommendations from the wording on packaging to conducting sales, helping on matters from targeted marketing to design aesthetics. 

Mark Krytiuk, president of Nabis Holdings said, “Artificial intelligence is one key technological advancement that could make a significant impact. By implementing this technology, retailers would be able to more easily track state-by-state regulations, and the constant changes that are being made. With this information, they would be able to properly package, ship, and sell products in a more compliant way that is less likely to be intercepted by government regulations.”

FULLY INTEGRATING AI IN THE INDUSTRY

As much as integrating artificial intelligence comes with mouth-watering benefits, it isn’t without challenges. The two primary challenges of AI relate to people and data collection.

Regarding People: With new technology comes a definite learning curve. For enterprises, this equates to training costs and possibly hiring costs for new talent.

Regarding Data Collection: AI requires data to successfully integrate into a businesses’ daily operations. For many operations, finding the budget to collect, standardize and effectively index collated data is a big problem.

In conclusion, artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming core components of hemp’s value chain, and for good reason. 

From delivering measurable benefits through increased productivity and better decision-making to providing personalized options to customers, whatever business decides to leverage AI already holds a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace over those who do not.

Author: Deborah Agboola, Content Editor at Mariposa Technology

About Mariposa Technology

Putting Power & Profits Into The Farmer’s Hands

At Mariposa Technology, we are developing a revolutionary protocol for rapid, in-field testing of industrial and pharmacological hemp. By utilizing a handheld Raman Spectroscopy device, paired with our proprietary database, we will provide affordable, accurate and immediate test results. Our technology will bring the power of self-testing to farmers at a fraction of the price of traditional laboratory testing while also guaranteeing their digital farming experience optimizes their profits. Moreover, our technology will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the hemp industry at large.

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