This interview is part of our new AI in Agriculture series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and agriculture.
In this interview, we speak with David Kessler, Senior Vice President of Horticultural Solutions at TriGrow Systems, to understand how his company is using AI to transform agriculture, and what the future of agriculture holds.
1. What’s the story behind TriGrow? Why and how did you begin?
DK: From the beginning, TriGrow’s core tenet has been that high quality and cost-efficient production are not mutually exclusive. We recognized early on that conventional cultivation practices lacked efficiency, consistency, and data.
Traditional indoor cultivation methods are power intensive, have too many touch points and lack consistency of the growing environment. TriGrow is precision agriculture; applying technology and leveraging data to empower growers; giving them the tools to maximize quality at the lowest possible production cost. TriGrow employs highly efficient LED lighting above, and inside the plant canopy to maximize overall quality and yield. TriGrow incorporates the best practices from crop science, food safety and biosecurity into our facility design and comprehensive standard operating procedures.
Repeatable cultivation procedures coupled with granularly controlled cultivation environments minimize phenotypic plasticity (variability) in the flower’s chemical and phenotypic expression. TriGrow utilizes stackable cultivation chambers that form a vertical matrix with integrated floors for efficient space utilization with multiple layers of canopy.
TriGrow’s proprietary software solution records tens of thousands of data points every cultivation cycle and can reproduce those environmental conditions in any chamber. The aggregation and analysis of cultivation data along with reproducible environments and strain-specific cultivation recipes allow TriGrow operators to produce a high-quality consistent product to patients and consumers.
2. Please describe your use case and how TriGrow uses artificial intelligence:
DK: TriGrow is a combination of systems engineered hardware and proprietary software designed to turn cannabis cultivation into a manufacturing process. TriGrow operators’ program specific cultivation recipes into the software for each individual strain, allowing them to maximize the genetic potential of the plant through iterative experiments.
The TriGrow system gets smarter over time, allowing continued optimization with every crop cycle. TriGrow uses automation to reduce the labor costs of tasks like irrigation and moving plants from the vegetative state into flowering while providing remote monitoring, control, and alerts for the entire facility. TriGrow’s unique production planning algorithm aligns dozens or hundreds of cultivation recipes with all the associated labor tasks to maximize utilization of available real estate and ultimately increase facility output.
3. What other AI use cases in agriculture are you excited about?
DK: We are excited for the use of AI in agriculture in several areas. In the near future the use of integrated camera systems to monitor crop health and target growth trajectories based on leaf surface area (is exciting). We are already integrating speech recognition to minimize the need for physically touching computers/screens which represent a contamination risk. Additionally, automation of tissue culture will lead to the lower cost disease free availability of genetic stock.
4. Where will TriGrow be in five years?
DK: TriGrow aims to be in every legal market within five years, and due to our ability to produce high quality at scale we will be the cultivation solution for both boutique cultivators looking to grow artisanal craft flower, as well as commercial cultivators looking for consistency to drive their national brands. TriGrow’s cost-efficient production capability combined with the ability to maximize specific chemical and physical flower traits will put TriGrow at the forefront of the industry.