Throughput - What it is, why it’s important and how to maximize it


What is throughput? 

Throughput is the amount of flower you can reliably and consistently get, per hour, from your bucking method. 

Why is it important to know your throughput? 

If you know your throughput rates, you can plan your harvest workforce and timeline more effectively. This reduces the risk of over/under hiring, and helps you accurately estimate how long it will take to get your crop bucked. Both of which are key factors to an efficient and profitable harvest.  


Customers often ask us where our published throughput numbers come from. Our answer is always the same: “From you.” 


Over the years, we have collected data from hundreds of customers. Our throughput numbers come directly from the growers we work with, they are not “theoretical” estimates. In fact, the numbers we publish for the Mother Bucker (150 lbs/hour wet, 37 lbs/hour dry) are based on the average throughput our customers report. Some customers have reported getting 250 lbs/hour. 

However those larger throughput rates are based on “ideal” situations. We publish the average throughput you can expect with the average material and process, not the maximum possible. This is because throughput rates can vary for a number of reasons: 

  • Wet or Dry bucking - Freshly chopped plants weigh about 4 times more than dried plants.
  • Plant Size - Large outdoor plants yield more pounds per hour than smaller, indoor plants.   
  • Branch Structure - “Bushy” strains with many branches must be broken down more.
  • Flower Structure - Big, dense buds are heavier, so throughput rates are higher.
  • Workflow Set-up - Maximizing the efficiency of your team helps maximize throughput. 


Processing huge outdoor plants consistently without clogging is what separates the Mother Bucker from the pack. 


    Another factor to consider when determining throughput is: What is the goal for your product: top-shelf flower, or biomass for extraction? If smokable flower is your goal, to get the best quality buds, you may want to break down branches further and also slow the machine down. If your goal is extraction-quality material, you can operate at full speed and maximize throughput.

    MUNCH Machine buckers are engineered to provide maximum power and grip with both wet and dry material:


    Bucking dry material averages 37 lbs/hr (video has no sound)


    Bucking indoor grown high quality flower averages 110 lbs/hr


    How can I maximize throughput?

    First, your bucking machine must be up to the job. As shown in the videos above, your bucker must be able to pull-through large material without clogging. To maximize bucking throughput, look for machines with the following characteristics:

    • Stem Grip - Pulls stems through efficiently, without slipping or clogging.
    • Power - Rips through large plants without bogging down.
    • Variable Speed - Speed can be adjusted to desired flower quality.
    • Low Maintenance - Easy to clean and field serviceable. 
    • Reliability - Because downtime during harvest is not an option. 
    • Check out this blog post for more info on what to look for when choosing equipment.

    To increase throughput, quality equipment should be your first priority, however an important secondary factor is designing an efficient workflow set-up. Here are few pointers to help increase your team’s throughput: 

    • Stem Prep - Operators need 3-4” of “clear” stem with no buds, flaps, or branch nubs. 
    • Organization - Lay out material stems-up and within easy reach for the operator.
    • Hole Selection - Feed stem into smallest hole possible to ensure clean stripping of the stem.
    • Never Stop Bucking - Set up workflow so the operator never has to trim a stem or empty a bin.
    • Check out this video for more detailed information on creating an efficient workflow set-up.

    Another category of equipment that can increase throughput are conveyors. Most large-scale grow operations use conveyors as they enable constant bucking without stopping.

    Here’s a short video showing our Integrated Conveyors in action during an outdoor harvest. MUNCH Machine Double Buckers are positioned side by side, with alternating conveyor out-feed direction, so 2 machines feed into 1 collection bin. Also note the central conveyor (positioned behind the machines) that collects/conveys stems to a single location for processing. This is about as efficient as it gets! 



    Real world throughput numbers: 

    We have seen a lot of grow operations waste money on equipment that cannot deliver on advertised throughput rates. Sadly, this has soured many growers on the benefits of automated bucking, when in reality, they just need a different machine. 

    We here at MUNCH Machine, stand behind our published throughput numbers. If your machine isn't delivering the promised throughput rates, give us a call! We are happy to review your bucking process and help maximize your throughput!