Casey Flippo

The Importance Of Proper Drying, Curing, & Storage

The Importance Of Proper Drying, Curing, & Storage

Drying, curing, and storage are each critical steps towards a productive and lucrative cannabis harvest. In order to avoid pitfalls and failed crops, Casey Flippo, CEO of hemp extraction company Natvana and marijuana manufacturer Dark Horse Medicinals in Little Rock, Arkansas urges marijuana and hemp producers to have post-harvest strategies in place even before planting.

“The space needed to harvest, pre-process and dry and cure is almost always more than originally expected,” Flippo said. “If you dry cannabis improperly, you can never cure it back into what it would have been otherwise.”

The drying process typically takes 3-4 weeks. There are several drying methods and the method determines the amount of space required.

“Most people wing it and suffer the consequences of terpene loss, contamination or total crop loss, all paired with lots of unnecessary stress,” said Josh Schneider, CEO of San Diego-based Cultivaris Hemp.

The climate the plants are grown in plays a crucial role in the drying method. In damp or humid regions, growers have to allow more space between plants to eliminate the possibility of mold. But arid regions might require whole-plant drying in order to slow the drying process.

After drying, the curing process, if done properly, can add significant value to the quality of the product.

“We find properly cured flower maintains and enhances the flavor and smokability of the flower while maintaining the optimal color and moisture levels,” said Schneider. “It takes time and energy to get curing right, but it pays off in higher prices for quality smokable flower.”

Flippo points out that while traditional curing methods are labor-intensive and can take up to a month, he also describes the step as “a no-brainer.” But it’s a step that cultivators have to plan for from the beginning. If not, growers run the risk of mold, bacteria, and overexposure to light.

“Improper planning can quickly turn a multimillion-dollar harvest into subpar product,” Flippo said.

Long-term storage considerations have become important as supply has far surpassed demand for hemp-derived CBD. While mylar bags are often crucial at the retail and consumer level, cultivators need unlined, breathable bags or large food-grade agriculture containers. Biomass begins breaking down right after it is harvested. To prevent oxygen and ultraviolet light exposure sealable storage bags or crates are essential.

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