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NL Study Shows Longer Days Increase Cannabis Harvests by up to 20%

Unfortunately, the specific light recipe from WUR and Signify is patented and thus secret to normal growers. However, the researchers are confident that it will help achieve consistent levels of cannabinoids. The specific light spectrum is also very important here because specific colors in the spectrum affect the potency of cannabis. That is essential for medicinal cannabis.

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Joint research by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) has produced a ‘light recipe’ that allows growers to harvest more cannabis. Extending the day length temporarily and at a specific time in the flowering phase from 12 to a maximum of 18 hours can yield up to 20% more harvest.

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Timing is crucial

Growers know that cannabis plants need at least 10 hours of darkness daily to bloom. If you give them longer days and therefore shorter nights, they will not flower. Cannabis plants already in bloom may also shoot back into the growth phase due to the longer light period. Temporarily longer days, however, can increase yields, says Dr. Céline Nicole, senior plant specialist at Signify.

“We have developed a patented and pioneering light recipe that allows us to safely extend days without interrupting the flowering phase. To do this successfully, it is very important to extend the days at the right time.” Extending the days at the right time and not too long allows growers to harvest more cannabis.

The patented light recipe is the result of years of research by WUR and Signify, conducted in Wageningen. There, however, they experiment not only with the length of days and nights for cannabis plants but also with different light intensities and spectrums. Because the research is being done for medicinal cannabis, homogeneity of cannabinoids and uniformity of yield are important focal points.

Light schedules for cannabis plants

Research leader Professor Leo Marcelis finds it fascinating to see how cannabis plants respond to different aspects of light. The optimal day length, intensity, spectrum, direction, and interaction with other growing factors will provide tangible benefits for growers. Dr. Céline Nicole adds that the new strategy actually produces the same results as a more powerful grow light. “In practice, the longer light period from 12 to 18 hours with our 1,000 µmol/m2/s lamp, delivers the same as a typical flowering phase with a 1,500 µmol/m2/s lamp. So growers can also save a lot on their grow lights themselves with our recipe.”

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Secret light recipe

Unfortunately, the specific light recipe from WUR and Signify is patented and thus secret to normal growers. However, the researchers are confident that it will help achieve consistent levels of cannabinoids. The specific light spectrum is also very important here because specific colors in the spectrum affect the potency of cannabis. This is essential for medicinal cannabis, and according to Dr. Céline Nicole, some light colors can ensure the potency of cannabis within a certain range.

Also longer supplemental lighting for higher yields?

As mentioned, they are keeping the specific light recipe for 20% more weed a secret. However, Dr. Céline Nicole does indicate that growers can apply the new insights immediately at the start of a new growing. “One of the consequences of longer days is that other factors have to be adjusted as well. Things like climate, watering, and nutrition also have to be adjusted to the new light schedule. As long as you do that you will also see the desired results.”

The final experiments of this study will be conducted in the fall of this year, after which Signify will release more information on the outcome of the study. However, if we were to experiment with longer days ourselves, we would only begin doing so after the plants are actually in bloom. After that, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks for a cannabis plant that is flowering through an 18/6 light schedule to shoot back into growth, so we certainly wouldn’t continue that for more than two weeks. And the question might also be, doesn’t this also just prolong the flowering phase (and so the gain per watt isn’t really any better)?

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Arturo Garcia started out as a political writer for a local newspaper in Peru, before covering big-league sports for national broadsheets. Eventually he began writing about innovative tech and business trends, which let him travel all over North and South America. Currently he is exploring the world of Bitcoin and cannabis, two hot commodities which he believes are poised to change history.