Aug 29 2018 . 5 min read

MMAC Los Angeles and Triple 7 Premium Cannabis (excerpt)

MMAC Los Angeles and Triple 7 Premium Cannabis (excerpt)

Growers Network spoke with MMAC Los Angeles’ Marketing Director Jonathan Anthony and Master Grower Michael Petercsak about a new premium cannabis brand called Triple 7 they’re developing.

Describe your grow operation.

We’re growing in an indoor, two-story facility that measures a total of 35,000 square feet. Around half of the facility is dedicated to flowering. The rest of the facility is split between our other important functions. The facility was retrofitted not too long ago, and we’re already excited to see what’s coming out of it.

What kind of equipment are you using?

For lighting, we’re using Nanolux DE MH fixtures in veg and Gavita DE HPS fixtures for flowering. We use a Netafim fertigation system to maintain our nutrients and irrigation. We also use rolling-top benches in the growing rooms to conserve on space.

Our cooling system was designed by Data Aire, a company which specializes in serving the computing industry. It has all sorts of automation tools built into it that can maintain specific temperatures, humidity, and even CO2 levels. It can run 24/7 and has proven to be a massive boon to the grow.

What strains are you growing and how did you select them?

We started out with 45 strains spread out in four different rooms in our first cycle. Our goal was to get down to a total of 20-24 strains that performed and sold really well. On our first cycle, we had a few strains that performed phenomenally, and a few that didn’t do too well. Naturally, we’ve eliminated the poor performers, and our next round will see reduced numbers of strains.

What kind of automation are you using?

The Data Aire system almost entirely automates our climate control. Our irrigation systems and reverse osmosis systems are automated by the Netafim system, and the lighting, ventilation, and fans are controlled by a Wadsworth controller.

What nutrients and media are you using?

We grow in a coco coir and perlite mix. We’re using General Hydroponics nutrients, but we’re also in the process of testing fertilizer products by Plant Prods. We’re also experimenting with rockwool, but we aren’t quite ready to implement it on the full scale because with rockwool you’re really living on the razor’s edge.

What’s your pest management protocol?

As a species, cannabis has a variety of particular pests that follow it. One of those pests is powdery mildew. Powdery mildew pathogenesis is generally a symptom of poor environmental control. This is where our processed cooling HVAC system really comes in handy.

For spider mites and other common insect pests such as thrips or aphids, our first go-tos are biological controls. Lady beetles, minute pirate bugs, and a proprietary “blend” of different predatory mites help to keep our main insect pests under control.

What procedures do your employees follow to keep the grow pest-free?

The people who work in the grow itself must go through a footbath and change into a set of work clothes before they can enter the grow proper. We have showers and locker rooms available for these employees.

Our facility is also laid out in such a way that our growers enter the part of the grow that we want the cleanest at the beginning of the day, and gradually work their way toward the parts of the grow that don’t need to be as clean. Our propagation and cloning rooms naturally are their first stop in the day, as those rooms need to be kept meticulously clean to make sure that we don’t lose our genetics.

In the event that we suspect an infestation in a particular room, we quarantine that room, and anybody that enters that room must put on a Tyvek suit when they enter and take it off when they leave.

What’s your post-harvest process?

We place the stems and buds in a commercial dryer for about a week. Once the cannabis has had time to dry, we put it through a bucking machine to destem it. After the flower has been separated from the stems, we take it over to the trimming space where it is hand-trimmed.

How do you feel about pesticides?

For cannabis specifically, pesticides must be used very sparingly. Cannabis is a product that’s meant to be smoked when it’s consumed, similar to tobacco. The chemical process of smoking cannabis can produce particularly nasty chemicals if there are pesticides in the flower, which is the last thing we want our consumers inhaling. 

We only use products approved by the CDFA. In large part, the list is restricted to compounds that are derived from natural sources (such as soaps and oils) or things that have been historically understood to be safe for general use, such as sulfur powder.

As such, we must take proactive steps to prevent infections and infestations in the first place. We regularly scout our facility for potential problems, use beneficials to target pests, and should we find the need to use something in a spray bottle, we will use materials that are on the list of approved products.

This article has been paraphrased with permission from Growers Network.

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