Agriculture technology company Roto-Gro International (ASX: RGI) is finally seeing its research and development work moving towards commercial fruition after one of its customers announced its first cannabis crop had been planted.
Roto-Gro says its novel “rotational garden” system is on course to “redefine the future of agriculture” with the first step being to demonstrate productivity within the cannabis industry, a market niche that is experiencing rapid commercial growth while being highly sensitive to grow space and production yields.
Roto-Gro’s Canadian subsidiary Roto-Gro World Wide revealed that fellow Canadian company Oakum Cannabis had planted its first commercial cannabis crops after trialing Roto-Gro’s rotational hydroponic garden systems for 12 months.
Oakum was recently awarded a Health Canada cultivation licence and immediately commenced the first phase of operations – planting its first cannabis crops at its growing facility in British Columbia.
Phase two is expected to commence sometime next year with an expanded operation and higher yields being targeted.
In a statement to the market, Roto-Gro said it is confident that Oakum will “continuously achieve industry-leading results on a consistent basis”.
Meanwhile, Oakum’s co-founder and growing manager Anthony Charles explained that his company will look to produce around 7lbs (3kg) of dry flower per rotational garden within every 60-day growth cycle.
Oakum intends to use as many as 48 Roto-Gro rotational gardens which Mr Charles said would “exceed expectations” and that the Roto-Gro method “will be high yielding and produce a superior cannabis product, at the lowest cost per gram.”
The next generation of agriculture
According to the tech-fuelled grower, its patented rotational hydroponic garden systems, crop management fertigation hardware and proprietary software systems can produce greater yields and lower operating costs.
Roto-Gro has developed a stackable design that increases growing surface area by 900%, compared to a traditional single-deck flatbed growing system.
The prospect of higher yields and lower grow space means Roto-Gro is on track to achieve an additional 30% yield from the positive effects of what’s known as “gravitropism” – a coordinated process of differential plant growth under the effect of gravity – combined with its proprietary CO2 delivery system with each rotation of the growing drum.
“This will only reinforce the superiority of our patented and proprietary technology,” said Roto-Gro chief executive officer Adam Clode.
“Oakum’s knowledge, coupled with the Roto-Gro systems and expertise, will certainly lead the way in lawful cannabis cultivation in Canada,” he said.
Cannabis market focus
Roto-Gro first developed its novel growing technology with various crops and hydroponics in mind.
However, it wasn’t too long before the cannabis growing industry stood out as the frontrunner that could make the most operational and commercial advantage.
Currently, Roto-Gro is collaborating with Canadian organic perishable foods company Gibio and Australian-based organic producer Freshero with whom Roto-Gro plans to develop a long-term joint venture including a growing facility in Australia.
Additionally, Roto-Gro is in the process of acquiring Supra THC Services which currently holds a dealer’s licence issued by Health Canada for lawful cannabis production.
Not stopping there, Roto-Gro opted to acquire a 51% stake in Medical Compassion Canni Farms, a late-stage Health Canada cannabis cultivation and processing licence applicant.
Roto-Gro said it wants to expand further afield than just agri-business within the cannabis industry.
The company is actively focusing on expanding into perishable food, nutrients, emerging tissue culture or micropropagation and supporting research programs.