Case study on the benefits of yeast for cannabis growers

"Using yeast resulted in significant bud yield improvements"

In a recent report from Whitney Economics, their survey of 400 cannabis operators and stakeholders revealed that only 42% of respondents were profitable. With that stark backdrop, cultivators seeking ways to close the gap to profitability can look to a new innovation in crop inputs to improve bud yield to maximize their profit per square foot.

The horticulture inputs start-up Verano365 is marrying the known effects of yeast extracts on cannabis production with their proprietary delivery technology, OpusMAX, to help growers boost yields and quality. In a multi-state trial with cannabis cultivators, the company’s Thrivedo product improved dry bud weights across seven different strains, with gains ranging from 14% to 56%.

Thrivedo is a yeast protein surfactant complex that can be applied as a drench or constant feed in nutrient management programs. David Coorts, Vice President of Technical Development for the Texas-based company, shared that there were many reasons the company looked to develop a yeast-based product for the cannabis market.

“The use of yeast and yeasts extracts as bio-fertilizers in cannabis production has caught a lot of attention because of their bioactivity and safety for humans and the environment. We know that yeasts synthesize antimicrobial and other useful substances for plant growth, and they’re rich in proteins and amino acids,” said Coorts. “In Thrivedo, we’re able to take a heat-shocked extract of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and combine it with our OpusMAX technology to create supramolecular structures that improve overall plant health and result in significant yield gains.”

Benefits of yeasts and yeast extracts are well documented, and include benefits to plants like:
- Increased leaf area and leaf dry weight
- Increased total chlorophyll
- Increased flower density
- Positive effect on fruit/nut set
- Positive effect on fruit/nut physical properties: weight, length, diameter, and shape
- Positive effect on fruit/nut chemical properties: oil, moisture content, and brix

Coorts went on to share that yeast extracts can enhance a plant’s ability to uptake Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, and Manganese, improving both overall biomass and root development. The company has received reports from growers using Thrivedo that they’ve seen a significant return-on-investment as it not only improves dry bud yield per plant, but also improves THC levels and in some cases also boosts terpenes.

“We’ve conducted pretty significant field trials with cannabis growers, some as large as 3,000+ plants. And the results are consistent each time in terms of double-digit percentage point gains in dry bud yield,” said Coorts.

For commercial cannabis growers, this type of improvement could go a long way in improving the economics of their operations. Thrivedo is available through major horticulture distributors and is registered for use in all 50 states of the U.S. Recently, the company implemented a significant price decrease on Thrivedo. "We’ve seen and heard that cultivators are struggling with profitability, and as part of our ongoing effort to be part of the solution, we’re introducing new pricing for our Thrivedo product. A game-changing price point has been provided to our distributors, and the savings should go a long way to help get cultivators back in the black."

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