The Royale Botanicals Clones Podcast

Let’s Talk Clones, and Hemp

The hemp industry is all about genetics. Without good genetics, your crop won’t perform well when it gets to that end extraction you’re trying to sell. 

Thinking about genetics before purchasing any hemp to grow is absolutely necessary. You need to align the strain of hemp with your own conditions – the weather, humidity, soil, whether you’re planting inside or out, and more. Narrowing down the conditions you’ll grow in allows you to shop for genetics that will give you the highest rate of success as a hemp farmer.

After establishing an ideal profile for your hemp plants, the next thing to decide is whether to purchase seeds or already growing plants to start your crop. If you lean toward existing plants, the next question is whether to purchase seedlings or use clones.

Seeds, seedlings, or clones

Most people think that, as a new hemp farmer, the question is whether to buy seeds or seedlings, but it’s so much more than that. You also have the option to purchase genetically consistent clones, at scale, for as low as $0.99 per plant!

Here’s the breakdown.

Seeds

Seeds are exactly that, the un-grown plant. Within a given hemp seed cultivar there are multiple phenotypes which possess different traits. Some of the seeds may be high performers in terms of CBD content, while others are not. Some of the seeds may have great growth habits, while others do not. Some seeds may stay extremely total THC compliant at maturity, while others go hot early in their life cycle. Additionally, when growing hemp, a grower wants to have 100% female plants because the females produce cannabinoids, while the males produce only seeds. 

Seed companies sell “feminized seeds” which help lessen the risk of a male plant getting into your crop which can essentially ruin the entire field as one male pollinates other females forcing them to produce seeds too. The problem is, there’s no guarantee all your seeds will grow into a female plant. There’s also no guarantee you’ll catch all the males before they stimulate your ladies to make seeds instead of flowers. This reduces the amount of extract you’re able to get from your crop as well as decreases the volume of your biomass. You have to remove all the seeds that get in there before your biomass is ready for processing.

Seedlings

Seedlings are plants grown from those feminized seeds, but instead of having to get the plant started, someone else does it for you. You buy the plant already growing, but you’re still working with the variables possible when growing plants each have their own genetic makeup. All the seeds could have come from the same parents, but just like with any set of siblings, the combination of traits varies.

Generally, growers who choose seeds end up with a crop where a portion is overrippened lessening the cannabinoid content, a portion is at an optimal stage to harvest, and another portion is immature meaning they yield significantly less in both cannabinoids and volume. This is due to the genetic variation within hemp seed stock. They don’t start to flower or mature at the same rate. You can’t do a partial harvest, so that means bringing in your entire crop even though some plants will deliver their optimal yield, while others won’t. This can greatly impact your overall yields in terms of cannabinoids and weight. 

Clones

Visually, clones look like seedlings in that they’re young fully-rooted plants, but their genetic makeup is very different. Clones don’t start from seeds. Instead, they’re made from a cutting of their parent plant. In simpler terms, they’ve only got a mom. Not only that, but they’ll have the exact genetic makeup of their mom.

When cloning, you’re making replicas of an existing plant. This reduces the risk of any unusual behavior coming from your crop. At Royale Botanicals they perform 2 years of R&D and phenotype selection before choosing “mother stock” for each cultivar of clones they produce. This enables them to produce genetically identical high-performers. Having a field full of Royale Botanicals clones is comparable to having a basketball team where every player is a clone of Michael Jordan. 

The advantages of clones

Before even getting into the advantages of growing clones, it’s necessary to point out one disadvantage of growing seeds — plant loss. There’s not a lot of discussion of the ways you can lose a hemp plant aside from it getting hot, when THC levels get too high, or by being a male. The other issue is in who likes to snack on hemp. 

The other major benefit to clones is in their performance as a hemp plant. Because they’re a copy of another plant, you already know exactly how each clone will behave. You’ll get consistency within your crop, during the entire lifecycle of the plant, that’s impossible to achieve any other way. That includes the time each plant takes to grow, the percentage of CBD within each plant, and the overall quality of each bud.

Superior clone creation

Superior clones start with the best genetics, and nobody understands that better than Royale Botanicals. Based out of Colorado, and specializing in crafting hemp clones since 2017, they planted five million clones in 2020 within their 10-acre greenhouse compound.

Creating the perfect clone required a two-year process honing the right set of genetics. It began with looking at how well the clone rooted after cut from its parent plant. Next, they studied overall growth and development. How the plant’s bud looked, what the resin contact was, and the flower’s appearance all helped narrow down options before a final review of the yield in overall poundage and in cannabinoid content.

Each “round” of review narrowed down the pool of applicable hemp plants to create clones. When the process was over, Royale Botanicals had a superior plant they could replicate, supporting the growth of good genetics throughout the hemp industry. 

The cost of superiority

It’s a hard conversation, discussing cost when looking at how to begin your hemp crop, but the best advice is to look at the big picture. Paying a little more upfront, only to make more in the end is worth it, if you can count on the quality of your plants the whole way through.

This is how it works for clones. Yes, they cost more than seeds, but seeds often have a lower yield and present the potential for more problems during growing. The real profit in hemp is what happens at the end, when you’re able to sell your extracts at a high price because of the quality. Clones not only help with that, but often guarantee a higher yield as well.

The right experience buying clones

Of even more value, when buying clones, is who you decide to buy from. At Royale Botanicals, the goal is to build lasting partnerships with farmers because of the quality of the plant they provide. You can find information on their cultivars online. This term refers to any plant produced through selective breeding, the essence of creating quality clones.

While you can see the available options, you don’t have to decide which option is best on your own. The experienced team at Royale Botanicals works with the specific elements in your area to suggest the best option. This means reviewing your region’s planting and harvesting dates, as well as the amount of light and humidity your region gets. Of particular interest is the length of each day, since hemp plants need a specific cycle of light and dark to know it’s time to get growing.

After all of these factors get taken into consideration, you’re paired with the optimal cultivar for your crop.

Why we’re talking about Royale Botanicals

At Arbor Vita8, we take quality very seriously. You’ll see it in everything we do, from how we transport baled hemp to the equipment we use to process it. Our goal is to deliver a superior product that nets our farmers and manufacturers the greatest profits. This all starts with genetics, and Royale Botanicals agrees. Having them as one of our partners allows us to support our farmers from the moment they decide to grow hemp. We’re excited to work together and have the ability to deliver superior services right from the start.

 

Podcast Transcript

Jason Sirotin:
Hello and welcome to the Arbor Vita8 podcast. I’m Jason Sirotin, and today I am here with Aaron Van Wingerden.


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