Besides trimming, bucking is the most critical point in the cannabis or hemp harvesting workflow. If you’re using an automated bucker for the first time, congrats! You’re already taking a big step beyond manual bucking by hand. But let’s take it a step further and really dial-in your bucking process. We quizzed our internal bucking experts and came up with 9 tips to optimize your cannabis or hemp bucking process.
- When feeding the bucker, always choose the smallest hole possible on the die plate for each stalk. This will prevent the bud being partially pulled into the machine and “mushrooming" (when the bottom part of the bud gets pulled into the hole just a little bit). The MBX Bucker features a star die plate helps prevent this.
- Prepare your totes from the harvest with all plants pre-chopped. All stems should organized and facing the same direction. The idea is that the person running the bucker doesn’t have to handle shears or other tools, their only job is feeding the bucker as fast as they can. The people in the greenhouse already have shears in-hand, so it's quickest for them to do it as they are breaking the plants down.
- Make sure that you have 2" of clear stem for the bucker rolls to be able to grab it and pull it into the machine. If you don’t have 2” of clear stem, you can flick buds off the end with your thumb, but that risks ruining that bud. If you are conscientious of the need for 2” of clear stem when breaking down the plants you’ll avoid this problem.
- Try to break down your plants so that the stems to be bucked are similar in size. This will help with consistency. If they’re similar size you’ll be a lot quicker when feeding the machine.
- The further that you break down or chop the plant the gentler the bucking process will be. Yes, this means a bit more time and effort at the front-end, but it also means you’ll have a better product.
- If you are bucking dry, make sure that the product is not over dry. You want a minimum of 12% moisture or above for best results.
- Don’t forget that 2 operators can work at the same bucker. Have them each stand to either side of the the machine. Make sure they switch sides every hour or so to work in a mirrored direction and reduce repetitive motion. One machine with two operators will greatly improve your throughput, and potentially save you from buying a second unit before it’s necessary.
- Have everything ready and in place before beginning. That means all tables and bins are setup, your waste containers are ready, and totes for bucked product are all available to start. It’s a matter of preparation; the more prepared you are the faster the entire process will go!
- Don’t cheap out on a cannabis or hemp bucker! If a bucker is suspiciously cheap it probably won’t stand the test of time or perform the way it should.
If you haven’t purchase a bucker this season, we urge you to take a look at our Complete 2020 Cannabis and Hemp Bucker Buyer’s Guide. It’s a great resource to help you decide for yourself which will be the best choice for your operation.
Have questions about bucking? We’ve got answers! Contact us for help.