What is best way to dry and cure buds for mass production? Racking system or stackable drying trays?
I’m sure some of our @EquipManufacturers would love to educate you.
The most common technique used in mass production facilities is to hang the cut branches fresh from harvest, leaving the flowers on the branches, on a variety of hanging mechanisms. Some of these hanging mechanisms can be a simple wire, strung wall to wall, or some use propriety hanging wire strung on a rolling rack. Some facilities cut the branch down to a 10 to 18 inch cut, so as to create a uniform dry cycle . Flowers are left hanging in the dry room until such time as the dry room manager considers them dry enough for the cure cycle. Some dry room managers use the old method of snapping branches to determine when the dry is complete. While others have moved into a scientific approach using moisture content or available water to determine readiness for cure.
Once dry is finished, most facilities will shuck the flowers from the branches using either scissors, machines, or manually. The shucked flower is placed into containers–be they stainless, glass or plastic. Each has its issues ranging from cost to cross contamination. The cure containers are placed in the cure room for a period of one week to several weeks. The peak of cure is again mostly anecdotal, as most cure managers will inspect the flower for consistency, aroma, etc. More science is coming into play (our own proprietary Cure Advantage automated curing system, for instance) to perfect this portion of the production cycle. Once cure is complete, off to packaging it goes! Hope that sheds some light on this most important part of the production cycle.
I think your space and environment will largely dictate how you are best able to dry. I am a firm believer in the whole plant hang technique to allow for the longest dry possible. My dry climate allows for me to do this. If you are in a very high humidity environment, you may run into mold/mildew issues with a long whole plant hang.
There are a lot of options out there. Check out this link to some drying racks at Growers House.
During the days following the harvest, the plants continue to evaporate very large quantities of water. As a unit, @DryGair can condense the excess humidity and circulate the dry air around the plants. In fact, the machine has a unique air circulation method that will help avoid areas with high humidity levels within the room so that both Racking systems and stackable drying trays can be used efficiently.
I’d stick with racks. Trays will give you flat spots on the flowers not a big deal to some but I really hate to see it.
I pack them in my greenhouses whole, with a blackout top on the greenhouse (not in photo), two Quest 225 DHs, four 2500CFM circulating fans, one 10,000+CFM exhaust fan. Works for bulk, I think it would work for the dried flower market for the initial dry down, but it would require some hustle to catch in time for a cure. I reckon you could adapt this by adding a humidifier to maintain a specific moisture level to add time to primary processing prior to curing.
In a 30’x96’ semi-gable with a 16’ peak, I can fit 2 layers of plants and hold about (1000) 1 pound plants and dry them fast enough to produce zero mold.