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+8.0% Yield Increase in Cannabis

AT A GLANCE

Wet yield results showed an extra 47 lbs (estimated 7.0 lbs dry) harvested from the greenhouse with UbiGro installed, equivalent to a +8.0% increase in total yield compared to test plants grown in the control greenhouse.

182 Cannabis Plants of four different strains (Lucid Blue, Blue Murmese Kush, Gelato and Purple Cube)

Sacred Garden Medical Cannabis Farms Over the 4-yr life of the installed UbiGro product, the farm would benefit from $145,600 in additional profit from this 30 ft x 100 ft greenhouse alone.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

ABOUT THE PROJECT

UbiGro films were installed in July 2020 inside a 30 ft x 100 ft greenhouse at the Sacred Garden medical cannabis farm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The UbiGro film was installed width-wise, and was suspended two inches beneath the polyethylene cover. UbiGro was supported by cables that were installed at regular spacing and ran the length of the greenhouse. The films were installed above an interior blackout curtain. Due to 5 ft purlin spacing, 1ft-spacing was left between strips, resulting in 80% coverage of the greenhouse and a total installed film of 2,108 ft2. An identical greenhouse adjacent to the test greenhouse was used as a control area so as to compare the yield production between the two areas.

The UbiGro film covered five rows of cannabis plants, and four of these rows were strain-matched to rows in the control greenhouse and compared for this trial. A total of 182 plants were grown under the trial. The UbiGro greenhouse contained a total of 84 plants, comprised of the following strains: Lucid Blue (19), Blue Burmese Kush #5 (20), Gelato OG (17), and Purple Cube #1 (28). The control greenhouse contained a total of 98 plants, comprised of the following strains: Lucid Blue (24), Blue Burmese Kush #5 (25), Gelato OG (24), and Purple Cube #1 (25). Because plant numbers were not identical, production values were normalized to per-plant figures.

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, and so forth.

The cultivation team at Sacred Garden made qualitative observations of the crop during the growth cycle. They noted that the plants under the UbiGro film showed enhanced growth rates, exemplified by a larger quantity and larger size bud sites and an increase in height, width and overall foliage. 

After the ten week trial, whole plant wet harvest weights were reported in November of 2020. Correcting for unequal plant numbers by considering data on a per-plant basis, wet yield showed an extra 47 lbs (estimated 7.0 lbs dry) harvested from the greenhouse with UbiGro installed, equivalent to a +8.0% increase in total yield compared to test plants grown in the control greenhouse. No differences in trichome color, finishing time, bud color, bud odor/flavor, or overall quality were observed.

ECONOMICS

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.

The greenhouse with UbiGro installed boosted yield by 7.0 lbs of sellable dry flower compared to the control greenhouse. Given a typical wholesale price for trimmed cannabis of $2000/lb, the UbiGro-achieved yield boost resulted in an additional $14,000 in wholesale revenue for the single greenhouse.

To quantify the value of an increase in revenue, we must calculate the increased profit. There are variable costs associated with producing and selling additional product, including harvesting, drying/curing, trimming, packaging, and transportation. However, fixed costs are not increased with additional yield. Fixed costs include real estate (rent/mortgage), heating/cooling, electricity, marketing, labor tied to square footage such as cleaning, seeding, vegetative labor, etc. Given an estimate of the gross margin on the baseline production of cannabis at Sacred Garden is 50% (50% COGS), then we estimate a 65% gross margin on the extra production (35% COGS) realized as a result of the UbiGro product. In this example, that translates to $9,100 (65% of $14,000) additional profit per harvest from this greenhouse, and $36,400 additional profit per year (assuming the farm competes 4 harvest per year). Over the 4-yr life of the installed UbiGro product, the farm would benefit from $145,600 in additional profit from this greenhouse alone. On a per-square-foot basis, this equates to a value of $69 per square foot of installed UbiGro over its lifetime. Adopting the UbiGro technology across all 12 greenhouses on site and assuming this yearly yield improvement is consistently realized, the farm will profit an additional $1.75M over the 4-yr lifetime of the films.

Greenhouse details

Greenhouse Size: 30 ft x 100 ft

Increased Revenue/Year/Greenhouse: $56,000

Increased Profit/Year/Greenhouse: $36,400

Increased Profit over Film Life/Greenhouse: $145,699

Increased Profit over Film Life/Farm: $1.75 million

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Hunter McDaniel CEO & Founder UbiGro

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 Lafaille

Sales Representative

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 Parrish

Agricultural  Engineer

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

Sales Manager

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.”

Eric Moody

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.

Mike Burrows, PhD

VP of Business Development

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.