A Look At Live Goods Buying Habits

A Look At Live Goods Buying Habits

Some growers have been buying hard and live goods more conservatively this year as a result of 2008. What are the reasons? How will their buying habits affect the spring season? We recently caught up with Dave Watt of Express Seed Company, general manager for the live goods broker based in Oberlin, Ohio, who offered a few thoughts on recent buying trends he’s seen.

Why are buying habits more conservative for live goods this year compared to past years?

“Growers are viewing this year as a correction with their planning. I think we’ve had unusual circumstances in the way we’ve broadcasted concerns over the economy. The action being taken is just a maturing of many discussions that have been going on over the years–discussions about pay by scan, at-once ordering, cost-effective planning and maybe most importantly, the shrink factor. The reaction is all part of that, and it’s come a little bit to a head because of all those circumstances combined.

“I think through that, you’re going to find a more conservative nature this year that should correct things.”

Have you seen conservative bookings already? Are you anticipating them?

“I see continued growth for our company with our customers, but it’s all coming at the same time. Any conservative aspect of the bookings is occurring on the shoulders. I saw a lessening in product demand for that part of the season.

“On the peak side, people are still bullish. You have to think about what the products are early on and after the peak, or what your shrink is. What happens early on if there’s a snowstorm? In the past, at least in our part of the country, you might say I need my product up here as early as April 1 to hit certain markets. If it doesn’t snow and the weather is good, everybody’s going to be saying ‘I don’t have enough ready-to-sell products.'”

Are growers looking for more flexibility in payments?

“First of all, I think our industry is sound. I think our grower base has to make business adjustments the same way every other business has to make today. There are business management decisions that need to be made and adjusted continually in a moving market.

Are there common mistakes growers are making when it comes to ordering?

“Growers have, perhaps, waited to book some products in a manner this year that the supply side wasn’t prepared for. The suppliers we use who produce cuttings and seeds and so forth might not have been as prepared for delayed ordering. As a result, when their orders came through, there had to be a lot of additional inventory management manipulation.

“If the supply sources are not in tune with a grower’s conditions or situations, there’s going to be a breakdown somewhere. Our effort over the last seven years has been to tighten up the supply chain as much as we can. We’ve tried to contribute to a more efficient planning process, and we think this is kind of an unmeasured cost. But there are a lot of costs that go into trying to manage orders for availability that were never planned for.

How will this year play out?

“I think it’s going to be a good year. My hope is growers are going to come through this year in a healthy light. I’m hoping for good weather and good sell through at the store.

“As an industry, we have a tendency to swing the pendulum way too far if we’re following up a good year. We swing the pendulum too far the good way. You have to strike a balance somewhere.”

Do you have any last-minute advice for growers?

“Not necessarily advice, but an opinion: Work with suppliers who have a real keen interest in keeping you healthy. That’s really the No. 1 objective for the supply side of our industry: Keep the grower healthy, and we will all stay healthy.”

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “A Look At Live Goods Buying Habits

  1. Too much use of credit is the prime reason we all are in the jack pot. Over production, over speculation, over selling, higher than reasonalbe expectations, larger fewer growers because of “leveraged” (credit) buyouts. Then the issue is paying off the debt rather than producing a healthy plant. Growth for growths sake is insane, growth should be a reward for good performance.

    The only winners are the banksters who always get their “cut” of the flow of “paper” (fiat money) and we are enslaved to a tread mill that has no end.

    We would do ourselves well to go back to as little credit as possible, get the government out of giving big grants to big companies, or any company for energy savings and let free (moral) markets determine our economy.

    I could go on for hours but I am a recovering victim of the credit fiasco, both giving and taking of. It is destroying our people, businesses, and way of life. It is a sin against our Holy God and we all are paying for it with inflation, foreclosures, loss of jobs, loss of our families and children, the list goes on.

  2. Ross,
    You are right on! There is a way to end this maddness and if the American people would listen to the people who know the country would be better off and we could end our slavery!
    Let’s pray that we all have a strong spring this season and we can keep our jobs and businesses.
    We can not look to our elected officials to help us. They are the problem. To survive the current conditions in our global economy we must get creative and offer the best products at the best prices we can so everyone in the supply chain can countiune on towards the future. Hopefully eveyone in the supply chain will work together to insure the future.
    It has been my expierence that hard times can be good for the industry. I pray, as we all should, that this will be the case this year and in those that will surely come after this one.

  3. Too much use of credit is the prime reason we all are in the jack pot. Over production, over speculation, over selling, higher than reasonalbe expectations, larger fewer growers because of “leveraged” (credit) buyouts. Then the issue is paying off the debt rather than producing a healthy plant. Growth for growths sake is insane, growth should be a reward for good performance.

    The only winners are the banksters who always get their “cut” of the flow of “paper” (fiat money) and we are enslaved to a tread mill that has no end.

    We would do ourselves well to go back to as little credit as possible, get the government out of giving big grants to big companies, or any company for energy savings and let free (moral) markets determine our economy.

    I could go on for hours but I am a recovering victim of the credit fiasco, both giving and taking of. It is destroying our people, businesses, and way of life. It is a sin against our Holy God and we all are paying for it with inflation, foreclosures, loss of jobs, loss of our families and children, the list goes on.

  4. Ross,
    You are right on! There is a way to end this maddness and if the American people would listen to the people who know the country would be better off and we could end our slavery!
    Let’s pray that we all have a strong spring this season and we can keep our jobs and businesses.
    We can not look to our elected officials to help us. They are the problem. To survive the current conditions in our global economy we must get creative and offer the best products at the best prices we can so everyone in the supply chain can countiune on towards the future. Hopefully eveyone in the supply chain will work together to insure the future.
    It has been my expierence that hard times can be good for the industry. I pray, as we all should, that this will be the case this year and in those that will surely come after this one.

More From Finance/Operations...
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means For Greenhouse Growers

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of AmericanHort - Feature image

October 25, 2016

Contribute To HRI To Help Honor Industry Advocate Craig Regelbrugge

In honor of Craig Regelbrugge's extraordinary contributions to the horticultural industry, AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Initiative created a special HRI endowment fund in his name: "The Craig Regelbrugge - Advocates for Horticulture Fund."

Read More
Latest Stories
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of AmericanHort - Feature image

October 25, 2016

Contribute To HRI To Help Honor Industry Advocate Craig…

In honor of Craig Regelbrugge's extraordinary contributions to the horticultural industry, AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Initiative created a special HRI endowment fund in his name: "The Craig Regelbrugge - Advocates for Horticulture Fund."

Read More
Lucas Greenhouses Shipping

October 6, 2016

Greenhouse Shipping Costs Down, But Concerns Remain

Lower gas prices have led to lower shipping costs for some growers, but many continue to seek out ways to become more efficient.

Read More
Pansy ‘Cool Wave Blue Skies’ (Wave)

September 20, 2016

PanAmerican Seed Settles Alleged Trade Sanction Violati…

PanAmerican Seed, a division of Ball Horticultural Co., has been charged with violating trade sanctions to Iran over a number of years. According to a release from the U.S. Treasury department, PanAmerican Seed made 48 indirect sales of seeds to two Iranian distributors. The company shipped the seed to consignees based in countries in Europe and the Middle East. PanAmerican Seed’s customers then arranged for the re-exportation of the seeds to Iran. The release states that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) determined PanAmerican Seed did not voluntarily self-disclose the alleged violations to OFAC, constituting an egregious case. “We believe that the settlement was extreme; however the alternative was to litigate with the U.S. government, which would take months, if not years,” says Todd Billings, Chief Financial Officer for Ball Horticultural Co. When asked what Ball Horticultural Co. has done to ensure that violations to trade sanctions do not […]

Read More
young-plants

September 20, 2016

The Top Young Plant Growers, And Four Critical Challeng…

In Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top Young Plant Growers Survey, growers discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in fulfillment, shipping, labor, and crop protection.

Read More
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Awa…

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

September 6, 2016

10 Insights From Charlie Hall’s Green Industry Economic…

With the uncertain current economic climate, Texas A&M economist Charlie Hall says now may be the perfect time to invest — as long as you do it smartly.

Read More
Penn State Plant Bud

August 23, 2016

AmericanHort Is Helping Plant Importers Adjust To New R…

A report from Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort says the government is implementing a streamlined system for imports, in which all required data will be submitted electronically through a single window.

Read More
Plug Connection Assortment

August 9, 2016

AmericanHort’s Plug And Cutting Conference Will Feature…

This year’s conference, which takes place Sept. 19-21 in Carlsbad, CA, features discussions on water, pest and disease control, and production inputs, as well as a biocontrols workshop and tour of local cuttings facilities.

Read More
Cannabis In Greenhouse

July 27, 2016

The Top 5 Myths About Cannabis Production Cleared Up

There is a lot of misleading information going around about growing cannabis. Industry insider James Lowe makes sure you know the truth about cannabis production.

Read More
Joe Bischoff

July 26, 2016

SAF Partners With Cornerstone Government Affairs To Adv…

A new partnership between the Society of American Florists (SAF) and Cornerstone Government Affairs ensures that SAF will continue its highly effective work advocating for issues that affect the floriculture industry. “SAF and Cornerstone together provide experienced voices on Capitol Hill to protect our growers’ interests,” says SAF CEO Peter Moran. “We’ll continue to move major policy priorities forward on behalf of small business and agriculture.” Cornerstone is a public affairs firm specializing in government relations, strategic consulting, and advocacy. Its team of more than 50 senior professionals includes former senior professional staff from both authorization and appropriations committees and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as veterans of the horticulture industry. Agricultural and horticultural issues of primary concern to SAF members include access to labor, immigration, crop protection, international trade and other matters related to the day-to-day operations of growers. Before she retired this year, SAF lobbyist Lin […]

Read More

July 26, 2016

AFE Releases New Videos Highlighting Industry Successes

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) recently released five new videos, created to highlight floriculture successes through industry collaboration, support, and participation. “Each video shares real stories from industry members on career development through scholarships and internships, and true examples of research solutions that have shaped how the industry operates today,” says Laura Shinall, President of Syndicate Sales, Inc., and AFE Public Relations and Development Chair. “We’re excited to be able to share some great success stories in an effort to increase industry participation.” The introductory video “Heard of the American Floral Endowment?” helps educate those who aren’t currently aware of AFE’s programs, while other segmented videos (retail, wholesale, grower) share how Endowment programs complement each group and why it’s so important that everyone in the industry participates: Retail Florists Share Why They Turn to AFE New Resources for Floral Wholesalers and Suppliers AFE Helping Growers Profit Ready for a Career in Floriculture or Horticulture? […]

Read More
Briscoe White, Growers Exchange

July 6, 2016

The Grower’s Exchange Unlocks The Secret to E-Commerce

In the Internet era, Briscoe and Kenan White knew they had to adapt or die and specialize to survive. Here’s how they took The Grower’s Exchange online.

Read More
Brie Arthur

July 6, 2016

5 Can’t-Miss Events To Watch For At Farwest 2016

Whether it’s classes on biocontrols and gardening trends, or networking opportunities in and around the trade show floor, there’s plenty happening at Farwest 2016 in Portland, OR, in August.

Read More
Cannabis states 2016

July 1, 2016

Adult Use Of Cannabis On The Ballot In 2016

25 states have legalized cannabis and public opinion is increasingly positive. Here’s where things may be headed as we move toward the fall elections.

Read More
Practical Software Grower Vertical

June 18, 2016

Practical Software Solutions Increases Accessibility, E…

Practical Software will demonstrate Grower Vertical, its customizable and scalable enterprise management system for the horticulture industry, at Cultivate’16 in July.

Read More
Battlefield Farms Company shot

June 14, 2016

Battlefield Farms Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation Of T…

Battlefield Farms in Rapidan, VA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Innovation award for 2016.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]