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Ask Erik: RAW! - Strain Hoarders: Savvy or Short Sighted? Featured

You can try to keep your hydroponic strains for yourself, but in the long run, it might be prudent to strategize differently. You can try to keep your hydroponic strains for yourself, but in the long run, it might be prudent to strategize differently.

Q: Do you think it’s a good idea to keep a strain exclusive to yourself? A friend of mine has got a really killer strain on the go that he stumbled upon out of some random seeds he had. Everyone loves it, and he isn’t willing to sell any cuttings, not even to close friends.

The rationale he gave me was that once other growers get a hold of it, they will run its value into the ground by saturating the marketplace with it, and likely at lower harvest quality than what he produces, effectively destroying any marketing advantage he might have had with the strain.

Have you ever heard of this before, and what’s your take on it?

A: Strain hoarding has been going on for a while in the indoor growing industry, and experience shows that over time either one of two things will eventually happen: a) everyone will wind up with access to the strain eventually, like most other varieties presently being grown OR b) the strain will at some point eventually be lost for good; depriving everyone of it’s enjoyment and potential.

If there is a strong buzz around this new variety, your friend can command some serious dollars for cuttings; I’ve seen a single cutting go for several thousand dollars in the indoor gardening industry on more than one occasion.

While hoarding a strain isn’t going to make you popular with your grower buddies, it may give you an edge over other growers in the marketplace. If it’s really special and everyone wants it, you may find yourself with a temporary license to print money.

The reason I say “temporary” is that whether it’s one year or ten, eventually, something inevitably happens that seriously harms or annihilates the original parent stock. And if there was only one place it existed, it will be gone forever - extinctsville! Sometimes this is because of a serious disease or insect infestation or because somebody forgot to water, or maybe there was an electrical failure for a prolonged period, or worse!

It’s usually a better idea to make sure that the strain is being maintained at least in a few different locations to ensure its survival. A close grower friend of mine recently lost an irreplaceable strain forever, simply because it had been mislabelled, and they thought they had plenty more of that one and had not created new plants before harvesting. If they had maintained that strain at another location instead of just the one, they would have been able to get some cuttings to start it fresh for that particular location.

Your friend may not only be running the risk of losing the strain forever, but also might be missing out on some serious potential earnings. If there is a strong buzz around this new variety, your friend can command some serious dollars for cuttings; I’ve seen a single cutting go for several thousand dollars in the indoor gardening industry on more than one occasion. What your friend needs to recognize is that eventually, no matter how he attempts to control the situation, something bigger and better is going to come along. Then your friend will be left with a strain that nobody wants anymore, and he isn’t going to find too many receptive grower friends when it comes time to ask for some cuttings of something new to grow.

So in short, controlling the availability of a hot new strain can stack up to increased profits, but hoarding it outright will typically result in short-lived gains that don’t play out as well in the big picture.

Cheers, Erik Biksa

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Ernie and Bert can teach strain hoarders the value of sharing. Or can they?
Last modified on Monday, 30 July 2012 15:52

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