Crop registration – an essential piece of the puzzle
No matter how well controlled a growing environment is, environmental conditions are bound to vary from time to time. This can be due to the weather conditions in your natural climate, interactions between different plant species or even changes in your operational practices.
It’s essential to gain knowledge and understanding of all of the variable factors that can impact your indoor grow space, a key way to do this is through crop registration.
What is crop registration?
Crop registration is an action that any indoor grower can take to gather information about the health and quality of their crops and their growing environment. When done on a regular basis, crop registration equips indoor growers with a deeper understanding of their plants and how to respond effectively to their needs.
In order to complete a crop registration a small sample of plants should be chosen as a proxy to represent the entirety of your crop.
Most indoor farmers and growers will already be measuring and monitoring the environmental conditions such as light, temperature and humidity of their grow space.
Typically, this monitoring might be done by using a single sensor that covers a large grow area. Whilst producing useful data, it’s better to use a number of sensors (both environmental and substrate) in each grow space to get a clearer picture, and even then, this method does not replace the need to physically keep an eye on your plants.
To gain a more detailed understanding of your crop growth and responses, you need to measure the crop itself, this is what is known as crop registration.
Why implement crop registration?
Including crop registration in the management of your grow space will provide you with both short-term and long-term insights for enhanced crop management.
When conducted on a weekly basis, crop registration can allow indoor growers to tweak their growing conditions to ensure they are catering to the specific needs of their plants.
It also enables growers to implement crop steering and encourage plants more towards either vegetative or generative growth dependant on what that the data from crop registration indicates that the plants need.
When indoor growers gather crop registration data over time, they can combine this with environmental data collected through smart agri-sensors like the Grow Sensor to inform their crop planning for the following grow cycle. This level of detail ensures the maximum potential for successful crop production without having to rely on guesswork.
What does crop registration look for?
By focusing attention on a small sample of plants, crop registration allows growers to take an in-depth look at the health of their plants.
To conduct a crop registration you need to observe the plant right from the newest growth through to the oldest leaves. You will want to look at things such as stem diameter, weekly stem growth, number of leaves, leaf width, opened flowers and set flowers. From these measurements, you will be able to see if the plant is in balance.
A healthy and happy plant should be maintaining an optimum growth rate and the correct amount of vegetative biomass to support growth. For example, you will want to observe the stem structure and number of leaves to assess whether the plants are able to sustain flower and fruit growth.
A balance of inputs and outputs is another key thing to look for when observing the sample of plants. Crop inputs can include light, temperature, CO2, water and additional nutrients. Outputs cover quality, yield, consistency and harvest time. Any imbalances between these factors may indicate that revisions need to be made to your crop management.
How can Grow Sensors help with crop registration?
Indoor farmers and growers are often put off by conducting crop registration because it can be time-consuming and labour intensive to gather such detailed data.
The things that need to be weighed up are the long term time and cost savings that crop registration can bring. Healthy plants create less waste, higher quality produce and better profitability.
One way to make crop registration more efficient and valuable is to use the Grow App to collect and record crop registration data, and combine the data generated through registration, with the data collected by smart agri-sensors such as the Grow Sensor.
The Grow Sensor is designed to collate a high level of data covering many factors including light, temperature, humidity, CO2 and more.
Whilst Grow Sensors can’t physically look at your plants and record their key metrics, the accompanying Grow App allows you to log crop registration data in the field on a smartphone or tablet. This saves time and manpower recording data with pen and paper to later be entered into a separate system.
Using Grow Sensors ensure that you already have a good idea of your environmental conditions before conducting crop registration. This means that your observations will have more weight as you will be able to foresee any potential issues that your plants may be experiencing.
Any adjustments that you make to your crop management will subsequently be recorded by your Grow Sensors and be apparent in future crop registration, so successes and where there’s still room for optimisation should be easy to see.
The more data you can get your hands on the better. This combination of technology and hands-on observation is a great way to ensure that you are growing the healthiest plants possible, whilst avoiding waste in crops, energy use or financial input.
- Environmental conditions can fluctuate from time to time- even in the most controlled grow spaces.
- Adopting crop registration will give you a more detailed insight into the health of your plants.
- Combining crop registration data with environmental data collated by Grow Sensors will provide you with a highly detailed understanding of your grow space and plant health.
- Collating data at this high level reduces crop waste, energy use and costs whilst improving yields, quality and profitability.
- For other reasons why commercial farms should embrace technology, check out this post.
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