After three months under the films, dry, trimmed harvest weights were reported in September of 2019. Dry yield showed an extra 2.5 lbs harvested from under the film, equivalent to a +5.4% increase in total dry yield.
UbiGro® films were installed at Little Hill Cultivators farm in Trinity County, California. The films were mounted flush against the inside polyethylene cover of half of a 20’x108’ greenhouse. The UbiGro film covered 133 cannabis plants while the other half of the greenhouse had no UbiGro film and served as the control for the trial. The number of control plants matched the number under the UbiGro film for a total of 266 plants that were monitored during the trial. The strain for the plant trial was the Indica-dominant Ice Cream Cake (Gelato x Wedding Cake).
All conditions were kept identical for both sides of the experiment: watering and nutrient regimen, humidity and temperature, harvesting and pruning regimen, integrated pest management regimen, etc. The cultivation team at Little Hill Cultivators made qualitative observations of the crop during the growth cycle. They noted that the plants under the UbiGro film showed an obvious enhanced vegetative growth rate, exemplified by an increase in height, width, and overall foliage, filling more aisle space than their control counterparts. After three months under the films, dry, trimmed harvest weights were reported in September of 2019. Dry yield showed an extra 2.5 lbs harvested from under the film, equivalent to a +5.4% increase in total dry yield. No differences in trichome color, finishing time, bud color, bud odor/flavor, or overall quality were observed.
After two weeks of growth we are noticing a clear increase in overall foliage, height, and width of plants under the film. It’s night and day in there.”
– Owner, Little Hill Cultivators
Specimens from both sides of the plant trial were sent to CW Analytical Laboratories (Oakland, CA) for cannabinoid and terpene testing. Total terpene content for flowers grown under the UbiGro films came back slightly increased compared to flowers grown under the control side, by +7.7% (relative). Total cannabinoid content was slightly reduced for flowers grown under the UbiGro film, by -3.5% (relative). Both of these small variations are well within the error bars of the testing accuracy, which falls about ±10% (relative). Therefore, we conclude that the UbiGro film had a negligible effect on terpene and cannabinoid content of this strain.
After ten weeks of cultivation, dry, trimmed harvest weights were reported. Dry yield measurements showed an additional 7.5 lbs of product harvested from plants under UbiGro, equivalent to a +16.0% increase in total dry yield.
Potency Summary: Ice Cream Cake
Relative Change: +7.7%
Relative Change: -3.5%
A yield enhancement improves the economics of a farm, but what is that yield enhancement worth to the farmer? Taking this experiment as a case study, we can calculate the value that the yield-boosting UbiGro film brings to the economics of the farm. During this trial, the full greenhouse produced 93.1 lbs of dried, trimmed cannabis, excluding the 2.5-lb boost realized by the half covered by UbiGro. The greenhouse will produce double that amount given two rounds of harvests per year. The farm wholesales trimmed cannabis for $1250/lb. This equates to $233,000 in wholesale revenue from this single greenhouse per year. A +5.4% increase in yield translates to $12,600 increased revenues per year.
To quantify the value of the increase in revenue, we must calculate the increased profit. There are variable costs associated with producing and selling this extra cannabis, including harvesting, drying/curing, trimming, packaging, and transportation. However, fixed costs are not increased with additional yield. These costs include real estate (rent/mortgage), heating/cooling, electricity, marketing, labor tied to square footage such as cleaning, seeding, vegetative labor, etc. Given that the gross margin on the baseline production of cannabis at Little Hill Cultivators is 50% (50% COGS), then we estimate a 65% gross margin on the extra production (35% COGS) realized as a result of the UbiGro spectrum. In this example, that translates to $8,170 additional profit per year from this greenhouse. Over the 4-yr life of the installed UbiGro film, the farm would benefit from $32,700 in additional profit from this greenhouse alone. If the farm adopted the UbiGro technology across all six greenhouses on site and this yield improvement was consistently realized, it could profit an additional $49,000 per year, or an additional $196,000 over the 4-yr lifetime of the films.
Greenhouse Size: 20ft x 108ft
Increased Revenue/Year: $12,600
Increased Profit/Year: $8,170
Increased Profit over Film Life: $32,700
Increased Profit over Film Life, Farm: $196,000
Hunter McDaniel, PhD
Founder & CEO
Hunter earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Chemistry Division. Ultimately the value proposition of UbiGro is about boosting crop yields and quality without the cost or energy impact of lighting. Hunter has more than fifty publications and patents, and more than 2000 total citations, h-index: 20. Hunter fundamentally believes that novel materials underpin every significant technology advancement, and he is focused on leveraging new materials to have a lasting and sustainable impact.
Damon Hebert, PhD
Director of Agriculture
Damon brings a wide range of experience in agriculture, materials science, spectroscopy, and small business. During his time in Prof. Angus Rockett’s research group at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Hebert authored a doctoral thesis and multiple papers on the materials science of CIGS semiconductor materials, which is closely related to the materials developed at UbiQD. He also served as a consultant to Nanosolar, a CIGS nanocrystal solar cell manufacturing company. Hebert has industry experience having co-founded Dr. Jolly’s, a leading cultivation and distribution operation in Bend, OR.
Tania is a UbiGro Sales Representative, with over 7 years of experience in product sales (specifically berries and avocados) covering all of North America and parts of South America. While in agriculture, Tania has cultivated strong relationships with growers and distributors, granting her a unique insight into both perspectives. That understanding, paired with her fierce dedication to results, drives her fun and fiery commitment to her craft. Tania is based in Gilroy, CA.
Charles earned a Bachelor’s in Biological Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Master’s in Biosystems Engineering from The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. Advised by Dr. Gene Giacomelli, Charles conducted his thesis on the “Optimization of Spectral Quality with Quantum Dots to Enhance Crop Yield in Controlled Environments.” Charles has a decade of biological engineering, greenhouse technology, and molecular biology experience from lab to production scale including working with the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. He brings his experience in hydroponics, controlled environment systems design, photobiology, greenhouse engineering, and scientific outreach.
Jim Gideon is an UbiGro Sales Manager, with over 25 years of greenhouse industry sales experience covering all of North America. Previously Jim has worked for Green Tek, Plazit-Polygal, Texel, Cherry Creek, and Nexus. He is based in Montgomery, AL, and Jim believes that “light is everything to the grower.”
Director of Sales
Eric Moody is UbiQD’s Director of UbiGro Sales. Eric has more than 6 years of experience in horticulture lighting industry, building relationships with greenhouse growers of all sizes and crops on optimal lighting for their growing operation, and most recently managed a North American sales team for PL Light Systems. Overall, Eric has been in sales leadership positions for more than 13 years. Eric brings with him a great understanding of the market and available technologies for growers, greenhouse facilities, and sales leadership. Reach Eric by phone at 541-490-6421 or by email at [email protected].
Mike Burrows, PhD
Dr. Michael Burrows is UbiQd’s Vice President of Business Development. His educational background includes a Materials Science doctorate from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business. His career has specialized in the commercialization of novel electronic materials in venture-run programs for different industries including solar, biosensors, and the automotive industry. In both start-up and corporate environments, he has extensive experience in global market development, foraging supply chain partnerships, productization, and brand building. He is currently leading UbiQD’s partnership efforts in luminescent greenhouse technology, smart windows, and security ventures.
Matt Bergern, PhD
Cheif Product Officer
As Chief Product Officer at UbiQD, Dr. Matt Bergren leads the company’s product development efforts, sales, and product manufacturing, including the company’s first commercial agriculture product, UbiGro. He plays a critical role in continuing the company’s path of technology development and vision of powering product innovations in agriculture, clean energy, and security.
He serves as the principal investigator for UbiQD’s contract with NASA, focused on tailoring the solar spectrum for enhanced crop production for space missions. Dr. Bergren’s leadership experience includes serving on the board of directors for the New Mexico Energy Manufacturing Institute, focused on job creation in New Mexico’s energy, and related manufacturing community.