What happened to the cannabis industry?
For most of the twentieth century, constrained by the slim profit margins of commoditized agricultural produce such as corn or wheat, very little R&D was earmarked for improving agricultural inputs. The notable exception was genetics; the lion’s share of research went into improving yields via seeds, including GMOs.
However, in the final decades of the last century, incentivized by the high profit margins of cash crops like cannabis, hydroponic R&D took off, yielding leading-edge fertilizers and grow technologies, ranging from lights and ballasts to CO2 enrichment and everything in between. The objective of this innovation was to help crops reach their maximum potential. The result was cannabis with extraordinarily high cannabinoid content and other hallmarks of quality, ideally suited for medicinal and recreational purposes. Accordingly, the consumer market skyrocketed—first too fast, then not fast enough.
In the wake of the Green Rush, the retail price of cannabis collapsed, putting pressure on commercial growers’ profit margins. In an attempt to put money back in their pockets, commercial growers have sought to cut production costs. In the process, many have abandoned cutting-edge input technologies, including high-grade liquid fertilizers, which they have replaced with subpar dry blends. This has indeed reduced costs, but at the expense of quality: fragrance, flavor, color—and above all, potency.
What you can do about it: Become a quality leader
Commercial growers should remember that not only does bust follow boom, but also boom follows bust. Savvy growers should already be positioning themselves as market leaders after the shakeout is over and the market—and prices—rebound. The way to do this is a return to crop quality.
In a market characterized by diminished crop quality, superior product—cannabis with better flavor, fragrance, taste, and potency—is how commercial growers can differentiate themselves and demand top dollar per weight of harvested plant. In all industries where quality matters, the market leaders demand the highest prices for the best product, and they do so consistently.
Now is not the time to compromise crop quality in an effort to cut costs. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to position your product as the best on the market and get ahead of the cannabis-commoditizing pack.
The cannabis-quality formula
To grow that fine cannabis, commercial growers should maximize their crop potential in three ways:
- Choose the right strain with genetic potential suited to your customers, whether medicinal or recreational.
- Invest in the best agricultural inputs—such as lights, fertilizers, and so on—to maximize that plant potential.
- Maintain grow-room hygiene to safeguard your crops from environmental stressors and disease.
Of course, we’re a nutrient company, so our preferred input should come as no surprise.
The bottom line: bigger yields + higher quality = top dollar for your product.
The Emerald Harvest Team