It’s no secret that pest control is the bane of many cultivators’ existence. An outbreak has been known to destroy entire crops, taking with it revenues in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more. It is the threat that has driven some to apply unapproved pesticides. So it’s not surprising that insect pest/disease was ranked by the largest number of growers (51%) as among the top three biggest challenges they face.

Next in line were humidity control (39%), temperature control (30%), maintaining consistent yields (29%), powdery mildew (28%) and maintaining consistent product (20%).

What Impacts Your Yield?

Yield and quality (along with consistency) are the holy grails of cannabis cultivation. So what factors most impact cultivators’ yields? When respondents were asked to select the three factors that most impact their operation’s yield, nearly half selected facility/structure/grow environment. Pests/diseases ranked second (37%) as a top-three yield-impacting factor, and the combination of grow media/fertilizer/irrigation technique came in at a close third (35%).




WHAT’S YOUR YIELD DRIVER?

What three factors impact your operation’s cannabis yield the most?




Keep Growing

Overall, this has been a landmark year for cannabis legalization and the market segment that drives the industry. Optimism remains strong among cultivators, who, for decades since medical cannabis was legalized in California in 1996, have been courageous pioneers in an industry that remains illegal under federal drug law. And while the fears about the new administration are impacting the plans of some cultivation businesses to a significant degree, most will continue moving forward, as evidenced in the research finding that more than three-fourths of cultivators plan to add square footage to their grow operations within the next two years.

Significant challenges also face this market, namely pests and disease. Energy consumption, not explored in this report, continues to be another major issue with which cultivators contend, both for environmental and financial reasons, especially as price pressures continue to push growers to decrease costs of production. And though warehouse cultivation still dominates the industry, the findings that 38% of cultivators who do not currently grow in greenhouses plan to do so within two years indicates that a large shift toward greenhouse production is coming.

While the fears about the new administration are impacting the plans of some cultivation businesses to a significant degree, most will continue moving forward, as evidenced in the research finding that more than three-fourths of cultivators plan to add square footage to their grow operations within the next two years.

This year promises continued expansion for this ever-growing market and more progress in medical and recreational legalization, with several states—such as Illinois, Michigan and Connecticut—currently working on new ballot initiatives and proposed legislation. And as the market accelerates, cultivators are poised for even greater success and driving further economic impact on local and state levels, creating thousands of new jobs and tax revenues, and for pushing technology and advancements as their businesses and the market matures.

ABOUT THE RESEARCH

The research for the “State of the Industry” report was conducted by independent research organization Readex Research, during January and February 2017. Results are based on a total of 237 research participants from North America.

The margin of error for percentages based on 237 respondents who currently own or work for an operation that grows cannabis is ±6.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.