Transitioning from coco to stone wool not only improves the efficiency of individual cannabis operations, it’s also more efficient to source and recycle before and after cultivation.
Because stone wool products tend to have a smaller volume than other conventional growing media, a pallet of stone wool might replace two to three pallets of coco. Since stone wool is lighter and takes up less physical space, it therefore costs less to transport. That means cannabis producers get more product per shipment—saving money before the substrate even arrives at the facility. This also reduces the amount of time cultivation staff spend on shipping and receiving.
After harvest, stone wool is also more efficient to recycle for similar reasons. Because it’s less retentive and has a lower CEC, stone wool requires less water to flush it out for future use in other agricultural applications. The costs of transporting used stone wool for recycling or disposal are also lower than removal of heavy coco, peat or soil that has been heavily irrigated, fertilized and flushed over the course of the grow cycle. Unlike the aforementioned organic growing media, stone wool may retain its preferred characteristics for a longer duration over the course of its lifespan.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why transitioning from coco to stone wool saves time, money and effort in the long run. A change in substrate is also a prime opportunity to introduce other improvements to facility design that enable cost-saving automated growing and crop steering techniques. Those might include: LED lighting; wastewater reclamation and recirculation systems; vertical growing setups; or computerized systems like the Grodan GroSens or e-Gro models.
Every cultivation facility has unique needs and setups. It’s exciting to see how one decision like choosing a new substrate can create a chain reaction of improved efficiencies that strengthen the operation as a whole.
Check out the full line of Grodan stone wool products and learn more about precision growing.