Selecting the Best Cannabis Varieties for Commercial Cultivation

05/3/20
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          When selecting cannabis varieties for commercial cultivation, look past the catchy names and concentrate on the active pharmaceutical ingredients instead. Researchers are discovering the medicinal value of other compounds present in the plant, so rather than searching for the perfect variety to grow, growers should concentrate on cultivating plants rich in all cannabinoids. An operator who selects genetics based on THC and CBD alone will have to start from scratch once future markets begin demanding other cannabinoids.

          Here are 8 more factors to keep in mind as you fill your genetic library:

·      Flowering time: Seven to nine weeks is preferable. Quicker-finishing varieties are desirable because they allow for more harvests per year and more revenue per square foot of growing.

·      Growth habit: A short, compact plant is easier to manage than a wild, stretchy variety. The latter ends up costing more in terms of plant support materials (netting, tomato cages, or stakes) as well as labor (excess pruning, tying, and de-leafing).

·      Yield: Whether you’re selling dry flower or oil, both are directly related to a variety’s flower production. Excellent-tasting varieties that don’t yield much will be more expensive to grow. The most productive cannabis varieties yield a minimum of 30 grams per square foot each harvest.

·      Oil production: Cannabis APIs are formed inside of microscopic oil droplets that cover the flower. Some cannabis varieties generate more oil than others. Aim for a minimum extraction ratio of 1 gram of oil for every 10 grams of dry flower.

·      Calyx-to-leaf ratio: A calyx is part of the female cannabis flower. The more leaves that a flower contains, the more trimming will be required during the post-harvest process. A cannabis variety with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio is desirable because it has more flower than leaf and will require very little trimming after harvest.

·      Resistance to disease: Selecting varieties that are resistant to fungal infections can help protect an operation against devastating crop losses. This is especially important for outdoor growers since control of the growing environment is impossible and chemical fungicides are prohibited.

·      Rapid rooting: Some varieties root faster and more vigorously than others. Growers typically allow two weeks for rooting and expect at least an 80 percent rooting success rate. Varieties that take longer to root should be avoided since they will lead to production bottlenecks and scheduling headaches.

·      Special requirements: Certain varieties exhibit sensitivities to things like overwatering, strong light, or fertilizer. Avoid introducing these varieties into your cultivation program as they will disrupt production scheduling and require more time and resources to cultivate successfully.