ArticlesPollen Chucking VS Breeding – Is There A Difference?

Pollen Chucking VS Breeding – Is There A Difference?

For those involved in online cannabis communities, the debate between pollen-chuckers and breeders is a familiar contention. On one hand, breeders claim pollen-chuckers don’t know what they’re doing and are simply playing the lottery, while pollen-chuckers often call out breeders for being too arrogant in the way they approach different seed-making styles. The debate as to whether pollen chucking is breeding is ongoing, and some basic understanding can go a long way in reducing unnecessary conflict.

Before we get too deep into the details of breeding vs pollen chucking, let’s summarize exactly how these two groups of people are defined.

Pollen Chuckers

Pollen chuckers typically consist of growers who aren’t looking to breed toward any particular goals; they aren’t looking to stabilize the variation in the gene pool, and their goals are usually around a “let’s see what happens” approach. Still, pollen chuckers aren’t usually just going in blind. In most cases, they are selecting one of their favourite plants and either crossing that with a male and hoping for the best, or reversing it onto another one of their favourite cuts.

Others have set the bar lower and may simply select the best plant out of an extremely small sample size.

Breeders

Cannabis breeders are invested in the long term. Unlike pollen chucking, which can be done within a single generation, breeders work over several generations to stabilize genetic traits and to work towards a goal they have in mind. They may be breeding towards creating the perfect hash plant with the best trichome glands and really high resin content. Others may solely be focused on working towards pest or mold resistance. It doesn’t matter what the goal is; breeders will work towards creating the vision they have in their minds.

A Natural Progression?

We all start somewhere, and pollen chucking is typically the first step toward an interest in breeding. In our early crosses, we may just really enjoy two plants and want to see what comes out of the combination. As we continue playing around with making seeds, we may read up on genetics and learn that there’s more to what’s going on than just grabbing your favourite looking plant. Learning about Mendelian inheritance is often what kickstarts a grower’s transition from being a pollen chucker into being a passionate breeder.

Is One Better Than The Other?

Since seed makers/pollen chuckers are often the butt-end of the joke, you may assume that breeding is then inherently better in all situations. The truth is that neither is inherently better than the other, and each method serves its purpose. The best seeds to run through are always going to be those that suit what you’re looking for. If you want stability between your seeds and something different, a worked line is a great option. If you want to hunt for some unicorns, a simple hybrid can prove extremely fun to pop and offer more diversity between seeds than a stable line.

Regardless of whether you’re popping line-bred seeds or a random poly hybrid, the plants are only going to be as good as the seed maker selected. You can line breed and still breed bad plants by making the wrong selections. And for pollen chuckers who may be working with limited space, the small population sizes can limit the quality of the selections they are making.

Benefits of Seed Chucking

  • Quick to complete a project
  • Typically, a broad gene pool is good for finding unicorns
  • Can be done with minimal space
  • Doesn’t cost a lot of money

Drawbacks of Seed Chucking

  • More prone to resistance problems
  • Genetic variety is not good for those seeking similar expressions across seeds
  • May limit the learning of core breeding principles incorporated into line breeding

Benefits of Line Breeding

  • Ability to create a stable seed line
  • Can significantly reduce mildew and pest risks through selections
  • The ability to create a unique vision and bring it to life

Drawbacks of Line Breeding

  • A bad selection can set you back months
  • Expensive
  • Takes a lot of time (potentially years)

Conclusion

Despite marked differences between seed-making/pollen chucking and breeding, both methods have their place, and growers shouldn’t shut themselves off from either method. Seed making is easier, with less time investment and less space required, but line breeding can provide a stable gene pool that is better for large seed crops where uniformity is sought after.

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