By Eric Sandy
The cannabis market is awash in plant nutrition options. Growers of all experience levels may easily feel daunted by the sheer scope of nutrient program offerings. The range of data points needed to be adequately informed on plant nutrition is also deep; cannabis growers can’t go into this process without knowing precisely what they’re looking to get out of their crops.
With decades experience behind Harrell’s entrance into the cannabis space, the company’s MAX Rx program is set up in a way to fit any grower’s needs. Customization and compatibility are key—not only to what Harrell’s is offering the cannabis industry, but to all growers’ approaches to providing high-quality nutrients to their plants.
It’s vital to understand your own business and the background of any prospective plant nutrition partners, according to Harrell’s Director of Agronomy Jeff Atkinson.
The company was founded in 1941 in Lakeland, Fla. The goal has always been to deliver customized agronomic solutions for a spectrum of plant needs. As cannabis becomes the increasingly competitive marketplace we see today in the U.S., that custom-built product line-up is the sort of thing that will complete cannabis cultivation facilities of all sizes.
Here, Atkins lays out three fundamentals to working through that process and selecting a trustworthy partner. “For us, reputation is everything,” he says.
Cost and Value
“There are a lot of different sources for nutrients out there,” Atkinson says. “We’re able to provide a concentrated, quality product at a cost they likely won’t find.”
Of course, when selecting any vendor for your business, cost is king. Plant nutrition programs should be built into your business to increase yield and profits; if the cost is cutting into your bottom line, then you’re off to a bad start.
“The business is just going to get more competitive,” he says. “There are going to be more constraints on cost and overhead that go into producing these crops. Growers need to understand how much they are really spending on any number of things—lighting, facilities, fertility, … pest control. Once they have that information, they can take a look and say, ‘What are my fertility options? Where can I control my costs and where can I get a consistent product?’”
Before getting into the work of selecting a plant nutrition partner, growers should take a close look at precisely where their own business strengths and weaknesses lie—where to fit a solid program into the balance sheets.
“We look at it as an investment,” Atkinson says. “You get what you pay for.”
This is one of the tentpole mandates that drove Harrell’s to develop the MAX Rx line. Cannabis growers may be coming to the company from all sort of avenues in the industry; Harrell’s, in turn, insists that a plant nutrition partner must provide solutions that are compatible across all types of cultivation. Atkinson says that the company set out to create a line of products for cannabis growers, and that each must be clean, clear and compatible.
Look for the track record of a business.
“By using high-quality ingredients, you know that you’re going to have compatibility between products,” Atkinson says. “You know that they’re going to provide a plant response that you’re looking for—and you know that you’re going to get a good value for the money that you’re investing.”
“All of that [is] so that we have confidence as a company in our products—but, as an extension of that, our customers have confidence in our products, that they’ll do what they say they’ll do, that the customer is getting what we’re telling them they’re buying,” Atkinson says.