You have the capability to purchase seeds and clones. Which do you choose?
Seeds can be enticing due to lower perceived cost, but you don’t really know what you are getting. Bad seeds can give you poor yields, male plants that ruin your crops (and you neighbor’s), and bad germination rates. With clones you can actually see a live plant and ideally a COA (Certificate of Analysis) from the mother plant to tell you what the CBD/THC mix is.
To read more about Clones, Seeds, and the risks check out our article: "Three things to know about genetics".
First thing you need to understand is which is best for you, Seeds or clones?
Clones – What is a clone? A clone is a cutting from a “mother” plant that is put into a small pot (1”) with growing medium and rooted. This makes an exact genetic replica of the mother plant. As a farmer, this can provide you some level of confidence when talking to your genetic producer that all plants are of the same genetic and are all female. If they have a specific genetic which they produced and had lab tested for yield of CBD and THC, then you can get clones from that same genetic and have a high level of confidence in your product. You can typically visit their operation and see them taking cuttings, see the mothers, and even ask for reference customers on those exact genetics. Clones also have the advantage of being ready to plant. You take your trays of clones, put them in a transplanted behind your tractor and drop them in the ground. There is a bit more to it, but if you are a farmer you should be OK. Check out are article on the Top 3 Things to Know Before Jumping into Hemp (link to other article) if you want to know more on farming and genetics.
Seeds – Seeds add another layer of complexity. They are initially enticing due to their low price point, but with seeds the risk goes up greatly. But if you know what you are doing and have a trusted source, they are a great option. Here are two critical things to know about seeds.
- Germination – Is the seed going to germinate? A quality seed will have 90%+ germination rate and the seed seller will give you extra seeds to compensate for how ever many points that rate is off 100%. These germination rates are measured in ideal growing conditions, typically in a climate-controlled greenhouse. If you buy seeds, you cannot expect to just sow them in your field and get the same germination rate. Many farmers see germination rates of 50% or less when they try to sow seeds direct in the field. This not only doubles the effective cost of the seed, but it also results in a patchy field of plants that is harder to manage for weeds and harvest. If you purchase seeds you should either have the provider germinate them for you into small plugs you can plant or you will need to have greenhouse space setup and proper pots and medium to germinate them yourself. Unless you are a very large producer this is often more costly, risky, and stressful than asking your seed provider to germinate them and provide starts.
- Feminization – What is a feminized seed? A feminized seed is one that is produced by taking a female plant and, through multiple specialized treatments, have it create pollen to pollinate itself or other clones of itself. The resulting seeds are produced from a plant that only has female X chromanones. These seeds will then typically grow 99%+ female plants. Why are female plants important? In short the female plant produces the most CBD by far. But you also want to make sure you do not have male plants as they will pollinate your females. Once a female is pollinated she stops trying to produce CBD and focuses on seeds, drastically reducing your yield. Having male plants also puts your neighbor farms at risk as you could pollinate their crops.
- Genetic Stability – Just because some has seeds from a genetic that produced the prior year, does not mean those seeds are stable. There is a specific process of breeding and controlling the genetic generations of breeding to ensure the final genetic is stable. An unstable genetic can be created by someone who does not have the needed years of experience in breeding. This will result in seeds that will have genetic drift and an inconsistent crop (at best), or the more likely case have some plants that test too high in THC and others too low in CBD while only a few are acceptable. With current testing processes, this is a game of roulette as you are hoping the compliance test is pulled from the right plant. Not a game you should play.
In short, find a trusted supplier that has proven genetics and isn’t afraid to let you come tour their facility. Someone who has bred hemp plants for at least 5-10 years and has great experience in genetics.
To talk to one of our experts at Rich Global Hemp about hemp farming and our genetics, give us a call at (000) 000-0000 or Send us a message.