Since South African legislation has changed, and growers are now able to farm cannabis, there are many who think that growing cannabis indoors is easy. Turns out, this definitely isn’t the case. For farmers to have a sustainable and profitable cannabis growing business, they are first required to outlay many millions for the facility, plus the costs of security and ongoing improvements and upgrades to the facilities.

It definitely takes teamwork and dedication to set up a facility and then to keep it healthy and productive. The team that runs the ILCO plant in the Free State are certainly dedicated and set on making a success. Their facility has been running for a few years, and over this period they have learnt many valuable lessons. As suppliers to an international market which requires medical grade products, the team must use only organic products that don’t leave any residue.

It therefore made perfect sense to bring realIPM on board to assist in helping ILCO to build plant strength, from the roots up and manage pests and diseases, whilst at the same time not leaving any residue on the medical grade cannabis.

To ensure optimal plant strength, and aiming for a high brix, the growers undertake a programme of a weekly foliar and soil spray of Seabrix, Biotrissol, MicroZ, Bacillus, Metarhizium and AminoK. By making the plants stronger, and giving them the nutrient support, they need, the grower hopes to also deter pests. Unfortunately, monocrops grown indoors still suffer from certain pests and fungal infections. When the cannabis plants show signs of powdery mildew, the grower uses Real Trichoderma TRC900 and Real Bacillus. In the case of gnats (which cause fungal root rot), the grower opts for a combination of sticky traps and Real Metarhizium 69. For insects such as thrips, two-spotted/red spider mite and bollworm, the team combines Pyrol and Real Metarhizium 69 for a powerful but non-toxic solution to the pests.

A tour around the facility showcases the intensity and speed at which the plants are grown and harvested, an incredible fete. Automated ceiling covers that shut out external light, special artificial lighting, optimal ventilation, and temperature control make these facilities seem other worldly and definitely resonate the high standards required to operate a facility such as this. At realIPM, we feel privileged to work alongside such a professional and knowledgeable team and are excited to be a part of their ongoing growth and expansion.

If you would like to know more about tackling issues growing cannabis, please contact realIPM:

Johnny Matthew

+27 (0) 71 898 0513 (Mobile)