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Dec 22, 2023

Grower Spotlight: Texoma Tumbleweeds

Oklahoma Roots

Texoma Tumbleweeds began in 2018, marking a new era in Oklahoma’s cannabis industry. Blaze Bartling and Teresa Bilyeu envisioned a vertically integrated operation from cultivation to retail and founded the business to run lean, mean, and become known for quality products. With a sprawling 14,000 sq ft grow space operated by just four people, the group has been on a mission to operate efficiently and to deliver top-quality cannabis at affordable prices.

Derek’s Journey: From Passion to Purpose

Derek’s path to cannabis cultivation began with the state’s legalization in 2018. His interest quickly grew into a passion fueled by the plant’s potential benefits. Derek’s personal experiences, including the loss of loved ones to opioids, strengthened his belief in cannabis as a natural alternative to traditional medicine. For him, the grow room isn’t just a workplace; it’s a sanctuary of peace. Derek’s wife, Natasha Spanhanks, also works at the facility, managing mothers, veg and propagation.

“Something about being in a grow room brings peace immediately after walking in.”

The Art and Science of Cultivation

At Texoma Tumbleweeds, the cultivation methods blend traditional knowledge with modern technology. They chose Rockwool for its cleanliness and consistency, and the entire facility operates on a drip irrigation system from NetafimUSA and Athena Pro-Line nutrients. With a 21-day vegetative cycle and bi-weekly harvests, they keep innovation at the heart of their operation.

The entire facility is monitored with wireless Teros 12 substrate moisture meters, and all environmental monitoring is done with sensors provided by Trym. This technology has revolutionized their cultivation, allowing precise control and real-time adjustments to encourage perfect growing conditions.

“Each day, it took me about two and a half to three hours to run the whole facility. Now with substrate monitoring, it’s eliminated all of that. I already have a game plan when I come in, and it’s just about making small adjustments now. I’m in and out of the facility in 35 minutes.” 

Adapting to an Evolving Market

The quest for the hot new strain is relentless at Texoma. Their crown jewel, Bavarian Cream (Cookies & Cream x Grandpa’s Breath), has been a hit since 2019. But with over 40 strains, they’re always hunting for the next big thing. Their business remains relevant and in demand by constantly introducing new strains to meet changing consumer preferences.

Texoma Tumbleweeds has had to find ways to stay ahead in an industry with decreasing prices and increasing competition. They’ve implemented automation everywhere they can on the cultivation side.

Trym has simplified tasking, scheduling, and workflows, allowing the team to work efficiently with fewer hands on deck, keeping costs down.

Revolutionizing Cultivation with Wireless Sensors

Integrating wireless sensors has been a game-changer. The sensors have allowed for more efficient water usage and better environmental control. They’ve revealed gaps in their cultivation practices and allowed for real-time adjustments. Monitoring VPD (Vapor Pressure Deficit) and irrigation events has resulted in healthier plants and more consistent yields. 

“Whenever you get ready to harvest a room, you’d be rolling wires up, stacking sensors in the corner of the table while everybody’s trying to clean the tables. Now, we can just unplug the sensors and set them on a tray in the hallway.” 

Trym: Transforming Texoma’s Operations

Trym’s software and sensors have significantly streamlined Texoma’s operations. From streamlined harvesting processes to daily task alerts, the crew works more efficiently than ever. Derek can monitor his cultivation strategies from home and adjust them when he goes to the facility, saving time and ensuring optimal growing conditions around the clock.

“Trym gives me X-ray vision of what’s going on in the room – at all times.”

Data collected from Trym has led to significant adjustments in irrigation strategies and environmental control, notably in managing humidity drifts and VPD. This “X-ray vision” has allowed Derek to maintain optimal environments, a key to their thriving operation.

Derek described how he used to come to the facility at night to water the plants, unaware of their needs. Now, with real-time data, he can optimize conditions for growth and reduce his time on-site.

Looking Ahead

With only one harvest’s data since implementing Trym, Texoma will gather invaluable data, helping to refine its practices and encourage more breakthroughs.  

Texoma has set a new standard in the Oklahoma market through its cultivation practices, constant quest for unique strains, and commitment to quality. Their use of Trym’s cutting-edge software and sensors exemplifies the synergy between grower intuition and data-driven insights. 

Texoma’s journey is a shining example of how embracing change, leveraging technology, and staying true to one’s mission can lead to remarkable achievements. As they push their boundaries, they inspire others to follow suit, shaping a future where quality, efficiency, and collaboration are at the forefront of every operation.

For anyone interested in crop steering, check out some tips and process flows from Derek:

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