Aug 2, 2022

Why seed to sale software isn’t enough for cultivators


When it comes to cannabis cultivation, many cannabis operators face a choice between a general seed-to-sale software or software specifically built for cultivation. Seed-to-sale and track-and-trace are terms that frequently appear in regulatory documents and there can be confusion between the two and what’s actually required of growers.

Some growers believe that seed-to-sale software is the only option for compliance reporting. In reality, cannabis cultivation businesses can access a multitude of additional features in cultivation software that will also report to the state on their behalf. 

As the cannabis industry matures and businesses scale to multiple facilities and states, seed-to-sale software is less apt to meet the complex needs of large-scale organizations.  Whether the cultivation operation is large or small, cultivation software can provide a comprehensive solution for managing regulatory compliance, production planning, crop steering and business intelligence.

What is cannabis seed to sale tracking software?

Seed to sale tracking software helps cannabis businesses track their products from the beginning of its lifecycle all the way through harvest, manufacturing and into retail stores and consumers’ hands. This type of cannabis software assists businesses in staying compliant with state regulations. It can help keep track of everything from how much product is on hand to where it is in the process and supply chain. 

Track-and-trace is sometimes used interchangeably with seed to sale. A traceability system allows regulators and businesses to trace products back to their origin in the event of a cannabis product recall. In order to collect and track the data and perform proper inventory management, state regulatory agencies maintain track-and-trace systems of their own. 

Many states use a track and trace system called Metrc for regulatory compliance. BioTrack is another common provider. Some growers choose to manually report their cannabis compliance events into their state-mandated tracking system by uploading spreadsheets or entering the events one by one. In effect, they’re performing the bare minimum requirement in order to maintain their cannabis license.

Cultivators benefit from tracking all their operational data points so they can improve their production yields and labor efficiencies. However those interests are not regulators’ concerns; they just need to identify the cannabis material and product tracking history to ensure all industry operators are in compliance with state laws. 

Some common seed to sale software companies that cover traceability reporting across the complete supply chain are MJ Platform, Leaflogix and other cannabis ERPs. The data collected in cannabis seed to sale tracking systems includes:

  • Strain information
  • Grower information
  • Harvest information
  • Packaging information
  • Inventory data
  • Sales information

How does cannabis seed to sale software work?

Seed to sale software works by tracking every step of the cultivation and harvesting process. This includes the planting of seeds or clones, the growth stages of plants, and the harvesting, waste recording and package creation. Seed to sale tracking software also tracks cannabis sales data in order to help businesses with inventory management.

Plant and package tags can be scanned and used for tracking purposes. Marijuana plant tags are applied to plants at an early stage. In some states, new tags are also applied at the flowering stage. Package tags are assigned once cannabis products have been processed from harvest and also after consumer products have been produced and are ready to enter dispensary inventory. 

Handheld barcode scanners are easy to operate and low cost. Manually scanning tags takes time, but it helps the team regularly audit their inventory to ensure the plants and packages that are in their facility are what’s shown in their Metrc or Biotrack account. Some software can also simplify the process with tag scanning on any mobile device. Some facilities choose to use RFID (radio frequency) tags, because they’re able to capture a large number of tag data with one scan. However, in our experience, there are potential inaccuracies with this method as discussed in our blog, Cannabis Barcode Scanning vs RFID Scanning.

Who is the right fit for seed to sale software?

Seed to sale software helps businesses with inventory management and ensures compliance with state regulations. Not every adult-use or medical marijuana business needs to use seed to sale tracking software, but it’s helpful for a cannabis company that has a high frequency of reporting events and wants a simplified way to stay in compliance with state regulations. 

If you’re a cannabis cultivator looking for straightforward software to handle reporting, then you should consider using seed to sale software. This type of tracking software is designed specifically for the cannabis industry and the traceability of materials and products, as required by state law. 

Why seed to sale software isn’t enough

While seed to sale software is an essential tool for any cannabis businesses, it leaves a lot to be desired for businesses seeking to optimize their performance and production goals. 

Seed to sale software was created to meet state and local requirements for the legal cannabis industry. While this type of software is commonly implemented for meeting regulatory compliance, it does not provide the comprehensive software solution that serious cultivators need to manage their inventory and cannabis operations. 

Cultivators Need More

Cultivators need software that helps them grow better quality and higher yield crops, automate management to decrease labor costs, and manage their entire complex operation from one centralized place. Some seed to sale software is, unfortunately, not designed to perform all these functions.

Seed to sale software focuses on cannabis compliance and has its place in the marijuana industry. However, it is not enough for cultivators who want to manage their operations more efficiently and push for higher profit margins. Cultivation software, on the other hand, provides a more complete solution that addresses cultivators’ needs. 

As long as your cultivation software can perform basic inventory management, compliance reporting and fully integrates with the state’s chosen track and traceability system, you won’t need to worry about any compliance issues.

Software Support for Any Issue

A general all-in-one software is not built with a strong focus on any one particular license type. Thus, the support and onboarding teams are also not specialized or experienced in any niche of the cannabis industry. Software must act as a streamlined cog in your operational machine. It must also run smoothly with minimal down time and headaches. And it must address the challenges and goals your business has to improve and grow operations.

When your team needs to troubleshoot, instant, qualified support from your software provider is extremely valuable. Large-scale organizations who routinely hire new employees and deal with turnover issues face challenges with training and bringing them team members in smoothly. 

For cultivation teams, a technical partner that’s on hand to answer questions around optimizing processes and making the most of the software is critical. In addition, cultivation software providers understand the local state law and compliance requirements, as they apply to cultivators, incredibly well. When clarification is needed, a cultivation business can turn to their software partner versus hiring an expensive compliance specialist or consultant.

What is the best alternative to seed to sale software?

Cultivation software is designed specifically for growers and managing cannabis plant inventory. Cultivation software includes all of the features that seed-to-sale software offers, plus additional features that support specific needs of a cultivation operation. These extra features include grow room automation, nutrient and water tracking, lighting schedules, root zone monitoring, and advanced team management tools.

Cultivation software is oftentimes easier to use than seed-to-sale software because it’s built with cultivation workflows and processes in mind. If you’re a cannabis cultivator, seed-to-sale software is not your only option. Cultivation-focused software offers all of the features that you need, plus extra tools to help you run your operation more efficiently.

Cultivation software is a more comprehensive solution for managing all aspects of a marijuana cultivation operation. Cultivation software includes features for:

  • Regulatory compliance
  • Plant tracking inventory
  • Team Management
  • Production planning
  • Crop steering
  • Business intelligence

Cultivation software can also integrate with seed to sale software to provide a complete inventory tracking software and business management solution for cultivators who are also working down the industry supply chain, in manufacturing or dispensary businesses. In addition, just like there’s a need for cultivation-focused software, there are also a number of software providers that have developed cannabis software for other license types, like cannabis dispensaries.

See Why Trym is the Leading Cultivation Software

Trym’s built-in Metrc reporting ensures headache-free compliance for the entire cultivation team. Automated reporting to the state is performed with one click, once a manager or supervisor reviews the day’s compliance events.

Trym eliminates manual reporting, which for larger organizations can become unmanageable. In addition, team management features help automate the labor-intensive role of managing and organizing a team.

Trym was custom built for growers with their operational challenges in mind. Our team of experts is ready to provide the specialized support you need to grow and maintain a profitable and successful cultivation business. 

If you’re interested in seeing how Trym can take your cannabis cultivation business to the next level, book a 15 min introductory call with us now.

Do You Need Seed to Sale Software if you’re Vertically Integrated?

As a vertically integrated business, you may be thinking that an all-in-one software checks off all the boxes and keeps software costs down. The truth is that there are many software vendors competing for a piece of the industry, claiming to do it all. But you one generalized software solution may be leaving a lot off the table.

Instead you can choose a specialized software solution that’s custom-built for each type of cannabis operation and license type. Layering several software together, otherwise known as a software stack, will bring added value for a company looking to make the most of their data and human resources.


Seed to sale software is an essential tool for marijuana businesses. It helps track products from beginning to end and ensures accurate plant inventory and compliance with state regulations. However, tracking software is not the only thing you need in order to be successful. 

In an increasingly competitive industry, all businesses, be they cultivators, manufacturers or dispensary business owners, need to be focused on improving efficiency and increasing profit margins. Cultivation software that’s built to increase operational performance is best suited for businesses seeking to increase margins and future sustainability in the cannabis industry. A team that’s focused on operational improvement and tracking business goals and objectives will be better positioned to adapt to changes in the cannabis industry and maturing market. 

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