A new study of cultivation techniques by Phylos Bioscience and Progressive Plant Research shows that using larger pots and a high-density planting arrangement will produce the highest biomass and extract yield. However, large pots and lower density will produce a higher percentage of Grade A flower per plant, leading to a higher price point.
The study involved two day-neutral Phylos cultivars placed in one of two pot sizes and five density arrangements: one-gallon pots spaced either one square foot, 0.55 square feet or 0.29 square feet apart, or in two-gallon pots spaced either one square foot or 0.5 square feet apart. The result was a sample size of more than 1,000 plants and 9,200 data points for evaluation. There was no trellising or defoliation.
“The density trial demonstrates a huge economic advantage achieved from a high-density production treatment,” said John McFerson, vice president of breeding at Phylos.
The study also found that density did not have a significant effect on total percentages of THC, minor cannabinoids, total terpenes or the top five terpenes within each variety. Varieties grown at higher density were taller and produced less biomass per plant, but more biomass per area, and regardless of the density, plants grown at bench edges produced more biomass.
In a video that accompanies the expansive, 57-page study, three “winners” of the various density trials were announced based on different goals, cultivation methods, genetics and breeding. In the first category, for example, Amy Zents, director of cultivation for Progressive Plant Research, named the 2-gallon pot, 1-square-foot-per-pot formation as the winner.
“It balanced yield and ease of production,” she said.
The 2-gallon, 0.5-square-foot-per-pot formation was named both the “genetics winner” for producing the best biomass traits and the “breeding winner” for producing the most Grade A flower per area.
Ultimately, the data gathered from Phylos’ density trial is designed to give cultivators the information needed to maximize their crop’s yield, efficiency and sustainability.
“We want to challenge assumptions that we make for our production systems,” said Jared Reynbery, head plant breeder at Phylos. “We want to optimize our production systems to develop the highest yielding varieties we can.”