Cultivators may choose to grow from seed for a variety of reasons. Some do it out of necessity. In some states, cultivators are not allowed to purchase clones, so they are required to start from seed. These startup cultivators will pop thousands of seeds searching for the best phenotypes to turn into moms. Other cultivators prefer to grow from seed. For example, some outdoor cultivators prefer growing from seed because the plants grow a deep taproot that helps anchor the plants securely so they can withstand the elements.
Whatever the reason may be, cultivators who can identify male cannabis plants early in the lifecycle using the youPCR Plant Screening Platform can make better use of resources and reduce liability risk. Here’s how.
Cut Pollination Risk
Male cannabis plants produce pollen, which fertilizes female plants and causes them to produce seeds. Seeds are the last thing a cultivator wants if the goal is to produce high-yielding plants that produce high-quality, cannabinoid and terpene-rich flower. Seeded flower can still be extracted for oils, but potency will be greatly diminished because the energy spent producing seeds could have been used on producing more cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids.
Outdoor growers need to be especially vigilant about males to prevent cross-pollination of their neighbors’ gardens. Winds can carry male pollen as far as 10 miles. If cultivators do not properly screen for males, they could ruin a neighbor’s crop, which could lead to a costly lawsuit.
Maximize Square Footage
Without early identification, cultivators need to grow plants an average of six weeks before they can see signs of sex. Assuming half of the seeds planted are male, half the grow space will be occupied by males in the first six weeks of the plants’ life. Cultivators who identifying male cannabis while they are still seedlings can ensure that all plants they place in their vegetation room or plant in their field will be female. This allows cultivators to essentially double their yield from the same space and make the best use of their footprint.
While cultivators are waiting for males to show their gender, the plants have consumed six weeks worth of nutrients, taken up tray/floor space, and occupied growth media. By identifying males before they leave the seedling tray, cultivators can ensure these valuable resources are only dedicated to the plants that will produce flower.
Visually determining cannabis sex is a time-consuming process. Staff needs to carefully inspect each plant, looking for signs of sex. There are countless other tasks staff should be doing instead of staring at plants to figure out if they are male or female. Staff will spend much less time screening seedlings with youPCR. Additionally, by ensuring only females are moved out of the seedling tray, there is no wasted time/labor transplanting males just to remove and dispose of them six weeks later.
Start Screening for Males with youPCR
With the youPCR platform, cultivators can identify male cannabis plants weeks before they show any visual sex features. DNA is extracted from one of the plant’s leaflets, as early as the second set of true leaves. If the DNA sample contains a Y chromosome, a chemical reaction will turn the pink solution yellow, indicating a positive result.