As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, and as companies expand and scale operations to meet increasing market demands, leaders must continue to implement efficient and effective practices to remain competitive.
One of the biggest challenges we at CenturionPro hear from cannabis cultivators is their struggles with lowering production costs while cultivating top-notch plants. Many growers are turning to automation to streamline processes in post-harvest, especially when it comes to what can be the most labor-intensive: trimming.
In Cannabis Business Times’ first-ever “State of the Trimming Market Report,” which CenturionPro is pleased to support, nearly half (47%) of participants indicated they mechanically trim some of their crop, while more than a quarter (26%) exclusively use machines to prepare their flower to sell whole or for extraction. While there will always be a place for hand trimming, machine trimming is fast becoming an industry standard that more will continue to adopt to meet the demands of growing adult-use markets while still maintaining quality.
Machines are also being utilized in other post-harvest processes, including bucking, drying and sorting. According to this year’s trimming research, 11% of cultivators machine buck cannabis dry and 10% machine buck plants wet. And, nearly half of participants (48%) noted they are planning to invest in equipment such as machine trimmers, buckers, presses and sorters in the next 12 months.
For operators who trim by hand, the labor costs can be extensive. According to the report, the median amount of cannabis one employee processes in a shift is 2 pounds, and most work 8-hour shifts. By comparison, certain models of CenturionPro machines can process up to 40 pounds of prepped dry product in an hour. If most companies can produce 2 pounds dry per person every 8 hours, then it would take 160 human trimmers to equal the throughput of one trimming machine over the course of the 8-hour shift.
In addition to the research, Primal Cannabis detailed the trimming and bucking practices of their Oklahoma-based medical cannabis company that spans 90 acres. In the case study, Primal notes it used to hire, house, and feed a seasonal crew of 120 workers to buck 50,000 plants. The 45-day project ran the company $1.8 million. After more than doubling its plant count this year, Primal sought another solution and decided to implement bucking machines. The decision and the subsequent labor savings made moving to automation a “no-brainer,” says Joanna Hamrick, sales manager at Primal.
We hope this research report provides you inspiration and insights that your operation can use to improve and streamline processes, allowing you to produce the best cannabis as efficiently as possible.
Karl Lundgren, VP of Marketing, CenturionPro