The cultivation of Medicinal Cannabis has gained relevance worldwide due to its therapeutic and medicinal properties. In Portugal, an agricultural project has stood out as a success story in the production of Medicinal Cannabis through the use of state-of-the-art greenhouses designed and manufactured by J. Huete Greenhouses. In this article, we will explore in detail the features and technologies used in this project, from the double roof ventilation to automated climate control and CO2 distribution system, which have led to outstanding results in the production of this plant.
- Greenhouse Area and Structures: The project is developed in an impressive area of over two and a half hectares (1.1 hectares for the first greenhouse and 1.5 hectares for the expansion), using tunnels that are 12.80 meters wide and have a gutter height of 5 meters. These structures offer ample space for efficient plant cultivation, allowing for optimal growth and facilitating maintenance tasks. Due to environmental legislation, the project required the use of permeable concrete and complex civil works, which presented an exciting challenge.
- Double Butterfly Roof Ventilation: Ventilation is crucial for maintaining an appropriate environment inside the greenhouses. In this project, a double butterfly roof ventilation system is used, allowing for precise control of airflow and temperature. This configuration ensures uniform distribution of fresh air and prevents plant overheating, contributing to their healthy growth.
- Artificial Lighting for Growth: In the prominent greenhouse project for Medicinal Cannabis production in Portugal, great importance has been given to artificial lighting. The implementation of state-of-the-art lighting systems, such as high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), plays a crucial role in the optimal growth of plants and the maximization of yields.
- The installed water heating system consists of boilers with a capacity of 7,200 kW each, designed to operate continuously at maximum output. Each boiler has a water volume of 13,460 liters. In addition to the boilers, the system includes accessories such as a platform with ladders, safety valves, thermometer, pressure gauge, among others. The system also has gas burners that provide smooth modulating control and energy savings. The hot water distribution is done through pipes that go from the main manifold to each sector of the installation, using an inverted return system for good hydraulic compensation. In addition, fittings such as elbows, reductions and metal pipe supports are included. The water heating system offers high performance and energy efficiency, and is designed to cover the heating needs of a 10-hectare greenhouse project.
- Anti-condensation Plastic: The use of anti-condensation plastic is essential to prevent condensation issues inside the greenhouses. This special material helps maintain optimal humidity levels and prevents the formation of water droplets that could harm the plants. Thanks to the anti-condensation plastic used in this project, a more controlled environment is achieved, and the occurrence of fungal diseases is prevented.
- Shading and Blackout Screens: Regulation of sunlight is fundamental in Medicinal Cannabis cultivation. Shading and blackout screens allow for controlling the amount of light entering the greenhouse, avoiding overexposure of plants to intense solar radiation. This ensures a proper balance between light and shade, providing an optimal environment for plant growth.
- Ventilation and Dehumidification System: Adequate ventilation is essential to maintain optimal humidity levels in the greenhouse. In addition to the double roof ventilation, additional ventilation systems are employed to ensure efficient air circulation. Additionally, a dehumidification system is in place to control and maintain the relative humidity within the ideal range for the growth of Medicinal Cannabis plants.
- Automated Irrigation System and Climate Control: To guarantee precise and efficient water supply, an automated irrigation system is utilized. This system allows for adjusting the frequency and quantity of water required for each stage of cultivation, ensuring proper hydration of the plants. Furthermore, automated climate control constantly monitors and adjusts environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and CO2 to maximize plant growth and health.
- Self-manufactured Drainage Channels and Soil and Elevated Cultivation: The project includes the use of both ground-level and elevated cultivation channels. Ground-level cultivation channels offer a traditional and effective system for Medicinal Cannabis cultivation, while elevated metal channels provide better control of irrigation and facilitate access to plants during maintenance tasks.
- Ground Cover: The use of ground cover is essential to protect and maintain the soil in optimal conditions. This cover prevents soil erosion, controls weed growth, and helps conserve moisture, thereby improving water and nutrient use efficiency.
- Standardized Height and Leveling Regulation Cultivation Tables, Self-manufactured: In this Medicinal Cannabis cultivation project in greenhouses in Portugal, cultivation tables designed with a standardized height of 0.9 meters and the possibility of regulation for proper leveling are incorporated. These tables provide multiple benefits that optimize the cultivation process and improve productivity. They offer proper ergonomics for workers, allowing them to perform tasks comfortably and efficiently. The adjustability of the cultivation tables also allows for adapting the height to specific cultivation needs. This is especially beneficial when dealing with plants in different growth stages, as the height can be adjusted to ensure an optimal space between the plants and the light source, avoiding unwanted shading and optimizing light absorption by the leaves.
- Technical Area and Machinery Space: The Medicinal Cannabis cultivation project in greenhouses in Portugal includes a dedicated technical area and space for the machinery necessary for the proper functioning of the facilities. This area, covering over 400 square meters, plays a fundamental role in supporting and enhancing the efficiency of the agricultural project. The dedicated machinery space has been designed to accommodate the equipment required for maintenance and cultivation management tasks. Specialized tools and machinery facilitating soil preparation, sowing, transplanting, pruning, and harvesting are located in this space.
This Medicinal Cannabis cultivation project in greenhouses in Portugal is a notable example of how advanced technologies and practices can maximize efficiency and crop performance. From anti-condensation coverage and energy efficiency to ventilation, dehumidification, and climate control systems, each element contributes to creating an optimal environment for the growth of Medicinal Cannabis plants.
This success story demonstrates how the right combination of technology and agricultural knowledge can lead to outstanding results in the production of specialized and high-value crops such as Medicinal Cannabis, an area in which J. Huete Greenhouses has expertise through designing and constructing various projects worldwide.