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Croptober is one of the most exciting times for cannabis growers and consumers. In the fall, the shorter days and cooler temperatures trigger the flowering phase. At the end of this period, growers can harvest their mature buds and prepare them for sale. Here are 10 things you need to know about this once-a-year phenomenon known as Croptober.
1. It Is Time to Harvest for Northern Hemisphere Growers
In the Northern Hemisphere, cannabis growers eagerly await Croptober, all of October and early November, to harvest their mature cannabis plants.
Of course, some strains flower earlier or later than others. Some strains may complete their flowering period in September or late November. But about 80 percent of cultivars are ready to harvest during the Croptober season.
2. Bulk Flower Prices May Go Down
As a bevy of cannabis growers harvest all of their plants in a matter of weeks, the influx of harvested cannabis can drive the price of bulk cannabis down for a short period. While outdoor growers are keen to sell off their product, indoor growers must sell theirs at a relatively lower price than the rest of the year.
While this was a bigger problem a few years back, now there is a better balance of supply throughout the year to avoid major price changes.
3. Growers Must Watch Out for Mold
When harvesting and storing their harvested cannabis, outdoor growers must be ready for inclement fall weather. Heavy rain can physically damage crops and also increase the risk of mold and complete crop destruction.
Growers can start by selecting genetics resistant to mold. Planning harvests around the weather can reduce the risk of mold damage.
4. Plants Need Adequate Support
In addition to the threat of mold from excessive moisture, the harsh weather could also cause physical damage from heavy rain or wind.
For this reason, growers should be prepared and ensure that the plants are adequately trellised and staked to support the heavy branches, especially if there is heavy rain on the way. Windbreaks can reduce wind damage.
5. Lower Flower Prices for Consumers
It is a great time to be a cannabis consumer right after Croptober. In November and December, retailers are stocked with fresh and high-quality sun-grown cannabis.
Budget consumers, in particular, can score a better price point on the sale due to the lower operating costs involved with outdoor cultivation, translating into a better margin for farmers and a lower price for users.
6. Croptober Farm Tours
As a cannabis tourist, you are able to schedule a farm tour during the most exciting time of the season, when mature plants are at their peak freshness in terms of flavor, aroma, and potency.
During Croptober, you can get close to the plants, see an outdoor operation in person, and smell the deep and complex aroma of different cannabis cultivars.
7. More Employment Opportunities on the Farm
A surge of employment opportunities as a bud trimmer during Croptober is perfect for job seekers looking to enter the industry.
During this short time period, growers are looking for extra bud trimmers and grower’s assistants to trim, package, and label flower products for sale. Most of these positions are entry-level but can provide advancement opportunities later on.
8. Harvesting Windows Are Short
Outdoor growers must wait for the right time to harvest their crops. They pay attention to a variety of indicators including aroma, pistil color, flower bud density, but most importantly, the color of the trichomes.
Growers may choose different times to harvest depending on the cultivar. Trichomes go from a clear to a milky white to an amber color when mature.
9. Croptober Is Not Common Everywhere
In some cannabis markets, such as Nevada, croptober is not as big as it is in California or Oregon, where outdoor cultivation is more common.
Strict testing standards in some markets may make outdoor cultivation impractical, especially when pesticides are needed. In addition, some regional climates are not conducive to outdoor growing.
10. Wildfire Damage Threatens Crops
In wildfire-prone regions of the country, outdoor growers must also prepare against damage from wildfires, including fire, ash, and smoke, which can affect the purity of the plants.
Manually blowing or washing off the ash can reduce the smoky and ashy aroma and flavor of the buds while keeping the trichomes intact. Tenting the plants with a clear material should be reserved for short periods of time when smoke and ash are a big problem.
Croptober is a magical time for growers and consumers alike. As the smell of cannabis permeates throughout the air, growers can feel satisfied they produced a high-quality product and consumers can enjoy freshly harvested cannabis purchased at a reasonable price. Croptober may only come once a year but it is a year-long process that deserves celebration.