Cultivation Challenges and Goals

Special Report - 2022 Breeding & Genetics Market Report | Research

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May 9, 2022

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Top Genetics Cultivation Challenges: Changing Consumer Preferences

For breeders and growers experimenting with new genetics, success ultimately depends on the reception a new variety enjoys at point of sale. Even the dankest or fruitiest cultivar won’t warrant production unless sales support it, especially when 63% of study participants’ harvests on average are sold as flower. And predicting—or even following—consumer trends isn’t easy.

Not surprisingly, “changing consumer preferences” was a leading challenge cultivators noted in their search for new genetics in this “Breeding & Genetics Market Report” research, noted by 32% of participants. Other top cultivation challenges called out by participants align with findings revealed in other Cannabis Business Times exclusive research, such as pest and disease management. Twenty percent of participants in this study named “pest and disease resistance” as a top genetics cultivation challenge. The same percentage of study participants tagged “cost” and “low or inconsistent potency” as top-three genetics cultivation challenges, as well.

Totals exceed 100% because participants could select all that apply.

Genetics Possession and Production

As cultivar options increase, some growers work with an expansive bank of genetics represented by mother plants on site. But large numbers of cultivars in possession vs. production isn’t necessarily the rule. Among study participants with commercial cannabis operations, roughly one-tenth (11%) possess more than 50 unique cultivars on site.

However, the bulk of research participants deal with a much smaller number of on-site genetics options. About one-fourth (23%) of participants reported they typically possess live plants representing six to 10 cultivars. An additional 21% of study participants reported possessing five or fewer cultivars.

When it comes to number of cultivars typically in flower production at any one time, results grow more refined. At one end, 6% of participants report more than 50 unique cultivars in active flower production as typical for their operations. But more than one-third of all participants typically limit active flower production to between one and five cultivars. Expand that range to one to 10 unique cultivars in flower production at any one time, and 60% of participants fall in that slot.

Totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Genetics Improvement Wish Lists

The best insights into where breeding and genetics are headed often come from the wants of cultivators toeing the line in a race to meet consumer preferences when they hit the shelves. For 2022 “Breeding & Genetics Market Report” participants, wish lists for improved genetics in their growing operations hold few surprises, but plenty of clues.

At the top of the list for most desired improvements in genetics sit “terpene profile” and “potency,” named by 37% and 36% of participants respectively. Next up, “yield” (30%) and “flower structure/density” (27%) rate high on the list of improvements participants would most like to see in their operation’s new genetics. How industry trends in flower sales versus extracts and other products influence commercial cannabis wish lists remains to be seen next year.

Totals exceed 100% because participants could select all that apply