Black Dog and partners establish LED-centric hemp research facility

April 6, 2020
Defining optimal spectra for maximizing hemp flower will be among the goals of a Colorado research facility that is licensed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Black Dog Grow Technologies, regularly referred to as Black Dog LED, has announced an LED-lit, horticultural-lighting research project focused on optimizing yield of hemp flower. The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) has licensed the facility operation. Happy Flower Company is partnering with Black Dog to sell the product grown at the research facility and Hawthorne Gardening Company has provided equipment for the project.

Hemp is a close cousin of the cannabis sativa cultivar and was generally made legal across the US as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The plant has many uses, although the highest value of those is production of cannabinoids including CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol), and CBN (cannabinol). Those cannabinoids do not have psychoactive properties and can be used in a variety of medicinal manners such as sedation and anti-inflammatory uses.

Black Dog has been a pioneer in the development of LED grow lights for first legalized medicinal and later recreational cannabis. “Research has always been a part of our company’s DNA,” said Noah Miller, CEO of Black Dog Grow Technologies. “This facility will allow us to expand our research into how lighting impacts the growth of hemp/cannabis plants, giving us valuable insight which we can then use to refine our products and allow growers to maximize their productivity per square foot.”

Although hemp production is legal now across the US, Black Dog still had to get CDA to amend its growing license to cover hemp. Hawthorne, meanwhile, supplied a Quest Dehumidifier, a Botanicare Slide Bench system, and other accessories to the facility. “In working with Black Dog Grow Technologies, Hawthorne is committed to providing the highest quality of products. We are proud to showcase the compatibility and functionality of all the products,” said Jerry Shyong, account manager at Hawthorne. “We are happy to be a part of this hemp research project to demonstrate the leading innovations of products between the two companies.”

Black Dog does indeed have deep experience in researching LED light spectra or more specifically the spectral power distribution (SPD) of grow lights. The company spoke at our HortiCann Light + Tech Conference held in Denver, CO last October. The presentation focused on plant morphology, photomorphogenesis, and physiological effects. The idea is that you can use customized spectra to influence the physical outcome that you desire in plants.

If you are growing lettuce, you might want plants to produce the largest leaves possible. That may not be the desired outcome for a different cultivar such as cannabis. Likewise, the tall cannabis plants often seen in indoor grow facilities might not be ideal in terms of yield. Black Dog has used an LED mix ranging from ultraviolet (UV) to near infrared (NIR) in its products with the goal of maximum yield.

Our HortiCann Light + Tech event for 2020 is scheduled for Oct. 20 in San Jose, CA. Bruce Bugbee from Utah State University will deliver the keynote.

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