Growing On The Cutting Edge

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Growing On The Cutting Edge

Just comparing this year’s Top 10 Cuttings Producers with last year’s, it appears that offshore production is growing at a much faster rate on a global scale than the domestic finished plant industry. At the top, Fides reported a production increase of 25 million cuttings, or 5 percent of 500 million. Selecta Klemm also reports a 25 million-cutting increase, or 12.5 percent.

Other big jumps include Florexpo in Costa Rica from 106 million to a range of 110 to 130 million, a 4 to 22 percent increase, and Brazil’s Athena LTDA from 64 million to 90 million, a 42 percent increase. Contrast this with the 1 percent increase in the farmgate value of finished plants reported in USDA’s 2005 Floriculture Crops Summary. Grower demand for unrooted cuttings is far greater than consumer demand for plants, which is driving growers to low-cost inputs.

New to this year’s ranking, we’ve combined all the Agrexco cuttings producers in Israel, although Cohen Propagation Nurseries could hold its own in the Top 10, producing more than 150 million cuttings. Agrexco is Israel’s largest export company of fruit, vegetables and flowers with a yearly turnover of €550 million. Fifty percent of the marketing and logistics company is owned by the Israeli government, 25 percent by an Israeli milk produce company and 25 percent by its fruit, flowers and vegetables board. Agrexco represents about 20 cuttings producing companies, including Cohen, Hishtil and Jaldety. Crop specialties range from pelargoniums, vegetative annuals and herbs.

Top 10 Cutting Producers

Company

Quantity 
Produced*

Greenhouse 
Sq. Ftg.

HQ

Countries 
w/Farms

1 Fides 525 million+ 5,850,000 Holland

8

2 Fischer 400-450 million

12,283,920
(4,573,800 contracted)

Germany

6

3 Agrexco 300-320 million 6,534,000 Israel

1

4 Selecta Klemm 200-225 million N/A Germany

N/A

5 ForemostCo Inc.  190-200 million 5,445,000 USA

8

6 Syngenta/
S&G Flowers
150 million* N/A USA

2

7 Dömmen 135 million 3,740,000 USA

2

8 Florexpo 110-130 million 3,484,800 Germany

1

9 Paul Ecke Ranch 100 million+ 3,800,000 Costa Rica

3

10 Athena LTDA 90 million 2,265,120 Brazil

1

    *estimate N/A = not available    

Absent but Not Forgotten: Ball FloraPlant, Bodger Botanicals, Oro Farms and Yoder 
Brothers. Although we think they may qualify for the Top 10, they declined to participate.

In other news, Dömmen closed its Canary Islands facility on May 1 and is expanding in Ethiopia.

On the domestic front, Paul Ecke Ranch acquired Oglevee Ltd. and has plans to continue expansion in Mexico. Geraniums were a key product line that was missing from Paul Ecke Ranch. “Growing revenue requires taking on more key crops,” says Ecke Ranch’s COO Steve Rinehart. “We consolidated through acquisition to capture geraniums.”

He adds Ecke Ranch’s strongest gains continue to be with large and mid-size growing operations and the company is focused on delivering benefits that are important to growers. “We’re concentrating on helping growers make decisions on varietals selection with good science,” Rinehart says. “Genetically, growers want a core list of performance products, and shades and tones are not needed.”

When asked what it takes to be successful in today’s unrooted cuttings business, he concludes, “Good at all things — genetics, production, transportation, relationships and IS (information systems).”

Delilah Onofrey directs Flower Power Marketing for the Suntory Collection. She can be reached at donofrey@gmail.com
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