Cannabis Plant vs. Batch Tracking: A Moot Point
Guest post by Pranav Sood, CEO of Trellis
We are at a pivotal point in the history of cannabis as regulators draft and finalize policy in key states and countries around the world. One of the main points of debate has been the need for batch vs. plant tracking, where regulators prefer a per plant model and industry prefers per batch. After years of seed-to-sale inventory management experience, we have come to a very important conclusion: it doesn’t matter!
Per Batch Tracking
Before we can talk about batch vs. plant, it’s important that we define what a batch means. In most policies we’ve encountered, a batch is defined as a set of plants grown under the same conditions. As industry continues to evolve, operators are further defining batch to be a set of plants with identical genes that are grown under the same conditions, though this level of granularity has not been required by regulation.
Tracking by batch means keeping a record of the quantity of plants and its yield, which is the level of traceability that regulators truly need. Once a batch of plants is harvested the flowers are combined into a homogenous group called a LOT, at which point each individual plant can no longer be distinguished, which begs the question what value is there to regulators by requiring operators to track each plant individually rather than the quantity within a batch.
Per Plant Tracking
Though there is little value to regulators in forcing per plant tracking, there is tremendous value to business operators in adopting a plant based tracking system. By identifying each individual plant with a unique barcode, operators have the ability to collect granular data that can help optimize current and future crops.
As an operator, having the ability to see the number of clones that were cut from a mother plant over its life and how the mortality rates / yields are trending over time can optimize your nursery. Or tracking individual plants to their locations in the field to identify what areas of your cultivation have the highest yields and which areas require further conditioning. Every grower is familiar with pests and treatments, but now having the ability to track those treatments on a per plant basis and log the results can help save entire crops by attacking problems more efficiently and effectively. This level of insight can be achieved by tracking each plant individually and the data can yield significant improvements to the bottom line.
A Moot Point
Now for the big conclusion, why it doesn’t matter. We know how important it is to our clients to have the choice of whether they track by batch or by plant. We are also firm believers in “you get out what you put in”, so we built a system that was flexible enough to accommodate both tracking methods. When a batch is created in the system, users have the option to print a batch barcode identifying the group of plants and / or individual plant tags to identify each plant. Any required actions in the software can be triggered by either the batch or plant barcode.
For example, to destroy plants in the system the user can scan a batch barcode and enter the quantity of plants destructed. Alternatively, the user can destroy plants by scanning each individual plant tag sequentially, which also reduces the quantity of plants remaining in the batch. Either way, you get to the same result in roughly the same amount of time.
Both the cannabis industry and seed-to-sale software continues to mature. As service providers continue to dial-in on operational needs, the capabilities of the tools built to manage this industry are balancing the needs of regulatory compliance and the flexibility needed to adapt to a wide spectrum of operations. We as service providers are really focused on building software that provides the user with all the options and an easy to use interface, so industry can mould and tailor the software tools to their operations, despite what changing regulations may require.
About the author:
Pranav Sood is the CEO of Trellis, a track & trace software platform for regulated cannabis growers, manufacturers, distributors and dispensaries. Pranav’s previous experience includes management consulting and retail IT for one of the largest global retailers. Pranav is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in startups and growing B2B companies. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Pranav now resides in California. Connect with Pranav on LinkedIn.