5 Questions With Brian Keenan

Special Advertising Section - Special Advertising Section: Pesticides

Legacy grower and Grower’s Ally cannabis cultivator Brian Keenan offers insight into organically controlling common hemp pests and diseases.

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May 11, 2021

1. What are the best tools to protect an outdoor hemp crop through all stages of growth?

Two of the most common problems hemp growers face are crops ruined by pests and a contaminated end product. When you are at the mercy of Mother Nature, the best tool you can deploy is a strong integrated pest management (IPM) program that gives your plants the best opportunity to battle environmental elements that come your way.  

2. How do you effectively treat a problem with pesticides while maintaining an organic output?

Mites and mildew are completely manageable with the right inputs. Simply put, use products that test clean. Spraying close to harvest can be tricky, and sometimes even harmful, because many methods of extraction concentrate pesticide residues. Formulas like Grower’s Ally volatilize and are safe to use the same day of harvest.

3. When it comes to management of hemp russet mites and cannabis aphids, why are essential oils important?

Essential oils, like rosemary, are highly effective at knocking down soft-bodied insects. While many oils kill by suffocation, the primary mode of action in the Grower’s Ally rosemary-based formula is paralysis. Insects that can’t move also can’t eat, can’t reproduce and can’t cause any more damage. Because it is a light essential oil, the formula leaves behind no residue.

Use products that test clean to control pathogens such as mildews.
Photos courtesy of Grower’s Ally

4. What is one thing hemp cultivators should budget for early on?

Growers should budget for preventative care. Maintaining healthy plants from the early stages of growth makes an incredible difference in the quality of the end product, and it is always more cost-effective to be proactive than it is to be reactive. Part of that is choosing a tool that will help you apply pesticide products efficiently. We recommend application with an atomizer. Atomizers create excellent coverage and will help your product go a lot farther. Simply put, it’s more bang for your important dollar.

5. What advice do you have for growers on compliance and protecting profits?

The Wild West days are in everyone’s rearview mirror. You must protect your profits and your business by selecting pesticides that are registered by state agencies for use in hemp production. Look for the “OMRI [Organic Materials Review Institute] Listed” and “FIFRA [Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act] 25(b) Exempt” designations. It is important to your end product and, more importantly, to the end user.

For more information, visit growersally.com.