Dry Bucking - Tips and Best Practices
One of the most common questions we get about our buckers is “Does it work on dry material?” The answer is: Yes absolutely! Here are some tips and best practices to help you get the highest quality possible when bucking dry material.
What we mean by “dry” bucking
Many growers choose to chop and hang the entire plant to dry before bucking buds off stems. The common best practice when bucking by hand is to start when the larger stems are still pliable, but the smaller stems snap when bent.
However, the best practice changes when using a mechanical bucker. This is because more moisture content is needed in the smaller stems. If they are too dry and brittle, they can break off and end up in the bin with the bucked flower.
If the intent is to go straight to processing for extraction, moisture content is less important. If you are selling to the smokable flower market, where flower quality is paramount, bucking at the ideal moisture content is critical.
Moisture content percentage
When harvesting by hand, growers tend to buck dried material at around 10-12% moisture content. When bucking with a machine, however, the ideal moisture content needs to be a little higher, around 12-14%. This is because we want the smaller stems to flex and fold when being pulled through the machine’s die plate.
Now, while these are the recommended percentages, don't get too attached to your moisture meter readings. This brings us to an important tip:
WARNING: Many growers use budget moisture meters to assess moisture content. We do not recommend these as they just aren’t accurate and can mislead you into bucking before, or after, your product is in its ideal state.
So how should you determine the ideal time to buck your dried material?
It’s all about “feel”
Accurately assessing the moisture content of your dry material is absolutely critical. If your material is too dry, the flower will break apart and crumble. If your product has too much moisture, the flower may be compacted, reducing flower quality.
We believe the best way to assess moisture content is to learn the “feel” of perfectly dried material.
You are looking for buds to be in the "springy" stage of drying: When the flower is squeezed between two fingers, it should rebound and return to its original shape (watch the video below to see examples of perfectly dried material).
Another good practice to increase flower quality when dry bucking is to slow the machine speed down. We recommend using the first 1/3 of the speed range when dry bucking with our buckers.
Tips and best practices for dry bucking with a machine:
- Moisture Content:
- Buck dried material when “springy”. It should not crumble or crush when compressed.
- Determine the ideal state by sampling from various areas of the drying environment.
- Control your drying room humidity and temperature to hold at the desired level.
- Maintain airflow throughout the room to get consistent drying of your product.
- If a controlled drying environment is not an option, consider staggering your harvest.
- TIP: To avoid having your entire crop reach optimal condition all at the same time, chop only as much material as you can buck 4-7 days later.
- Prepare Stems for Bucking:
- Trim off the “hooks” that many growers use to hang their crop.
- For better flower quality when dry bucking, break the stems down further.
- Using the Machine:
- With Munch Machine buckers, the balance between throughput and flower quality depends on how you operate the machine:
- For highest flower quality, slow the machine speed down (first ⅓ of speed range).
- For extraction-quality, speed the machine up to achieve higher throughput.
Achieving top flower quality when bucking dried plants can be challenging, but if you time it right, dial-in your process, and adjust your machine accordingly, you can get excellent results.
We hope this information helps. Please reach out to us if you have questions or want to chat about how to maximize quality and efficiency with your harvest tools and process.