Hemp and Cannabis Buckers: Do you REALLY need one?

At Triminator, we make the best cannabis and hemp buckers around. And a bucker is a great complement to a trimmer. But is a hemp or cannabis bucker really right for you? It might not be. Here’s how to know if you need a cannabis/hemp bucker, and some tips for getting the most from your current machine.

Single Bucket Buckmaster

What is a Cannabis and Hemp Bucker?

For those who don’t know, an industrial cannabis/hemp bucker is a machine that removes flowers and leaves from the stalks of harvested plants for further processing. Technicians insert the lower end of a branch or stalk into a hole on the bucker where it’s grabbed by a roller mechanism. The rollers pull the branch through forcefully, de-stemming or ‘de-boning’ the flowers as the branch moves through the hole.

A bucker greatly reduces labor costs, but that doesn’t mean everyone should own one.

Do You Really Need a Cannabis or Hemp Bucker?

The first thing to consider is scale. If you’re a home grower or only have a six-light setup, chances are that manual bucking — however laborious — is the best choice for you. You don’t need to make the expenditure (or have the equipment sitting around when you’re not using it).

Instead, it’s better to hire a few extra helping hands, or expect a slower harvest day.

When you expand into multiple indoor rooms, or if you’re already growing hemp by the acre, a bucker becomes a no-brainer. Hemp cultivators reduce their labor and offset their purchase cost within a few crops. After that, the machine is a money-saving asset for years and years.

Buck up to 3/4″ dia stems with excess torque.

Cannabis & Hemp Bucking Tip:

When you use your bucker, select the right-sized hole. If you insert a small branch into a larger hole, your results will be sub-par.

The larger hole will fail to shuck all the flowers from your too-small stalk. Instead, it will pull the inner portion of the flower through the hole and break apart the rest.

To avoid flower damage and maximize your harvest, cut branches above the bulbous node where they join the stalk. When you cut a little higher up on the stalk, you can use a smaller hole on the bucker. That means you’ll remove all of the flower for the stalk without any loss.

Bucking Wet vs. Bucking Dry

Trimming wet is a different animal than trimming dry. The physics of wet and dry trimming are so different that we here at Triminator design specialized machines for wet and dry. Bucking is no different.

Despite what some bucker manufacturers may tell you, if you’re trimming dry (at around 10-11% moisture content), bucking machines are not the best choice for smokable flower production. Bucking will damage A-grade flowers when performed dry, The dry flowers are too delicate in most situations and break apart as they are pulled through the hole. So if you’re trimming dry, you probably don’t need a bucker and will be better served with a fast crew hand-trimming the material off the stalk. 

If you’re bucking dry flower without a machine, use scissors, and don’t rip the flowers off the stalk with your hands. Pulling them off isn’t much gentler than mechanical bucking. Instead, use scissors. It’s really the only option at this moisture content level.

Buy a Bucker for Pre-Rolls

Pre-roll producers are an exception to the “don’t buck dry” rule. When producing premium pre-rolls, dry trimming is ideal because the slower, whole-stalk drying process can often preserve terpenes and cannabinoids better than wet trimming.

If you’re processing your crop for pre-rolls (or extraction), the aesthetics of the flowers won’t matter as much; you’re milling it anyway. In that case, a bucker can increase your speed and payoff quickly if you’re operating at scale.

Cannabis & Hemp Bucking Tip:

Cut off your tops before sending a branch through a bucker. A bucker will naturally break apart a cola into smaller buds, making them less marketable. That may be fine for pre-rolls or a crop that’s headed for extraction, but if you’re cultivating for quality, take the time to separate the A-quality flowers to maximize the value of the entire plant.

Buy a Bucker for Fresh Frozen Material

If your crop is intended for live resin, buy a bucker. A mechanical bucker will speed up your harvest and get your flowers into the freezer faster than ever before. The crop will actually benefit from mechanical treatment.

Likewise, wet trimming pairs well with a mechanical bucker. A bucker can greatly improve your harvesting speed if you’re using a high-volume machine like the Triminator Wet.

Don’t Buy Stuff You Don’t Need

If you’re trimming wet in high volumes, buy a bucker. If you’re processing your crop for pre-rolls, consider buying a bucker. But if you’re dry trimming at 10% or 11% moisture, you’ll probably want to skip the bucker and stick with hand separation.

Need a bucker after all? Check out the Triminator BuckMaster. Or if you need to process at very high rates (up to 300 pounds-per-hour), consider the Triminator BuckMaster Pro.

Ready to step up your processing game and save a bunch of time and money? Subscribe to the Triminator newsletter for the latest tips to lower your costs and increase your speed.

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