Spring Crops Recap: Sales Are Up In 2013

Sales were up year over year…

The 2013 spring season was a success, overall, according to 83 percent of the 197 growers who completed Greenhouse Grower’s 2013 Spring Recap Survey.

Our survey respondents were grower retailers (51 percent), wholesale growers (43 percent) and young plant growers (6 percent). Most were based in the Midwest (31 percent), Southeast (20 percent) and Northeast (20 percent), but also represented the Southwest (9 percent), West (9 percent), Northwest (3 percent) and growers outside of the U.S. (8 percent).

Sales Were Stronger In 2013
Sales for spring 2013 were the same (26 percent) or higher (46 percent) than last year’s sales figures, growers reported. A combined 27 percent said sales decreased from 2012.

Seventy-one percent of respondents said they grew enough product to meet demand this spring; however, 29 percent reported that demand outpaced their supply.

Growers’ expectations for the season were obviously high. Even with the strong results year over year, 40 percent of respondents said their spring fell slightly short. However, a nearly proportionate number (36 percent) said sales exceeded expectations. Twenty-four percent said sales met expectations.

For growers serving the big box home improvement stores, sales were about the same or increased (14 percent). Other avenues for increased growth included independent garden centers (26 percent), their own retail shops (24 percent) and other growers (13 percent). On the other side, however, these areas were also where sales declined this year (see chart).

Weather Was The Biggest Challenge
This year’s weather was so up and down throughout the country that 71 percent of growers said weather was their biggest challenge. Some growers said their 2013 spring season failed because the crops they sold were too early, or they had to hold their crops until retailers could sell them. The delayed spring weather made other growers re-evaluate crop timing.

“We could have grown another crop turn, since spring dragged so late in our area. People were still buying two weeks later than they usually do,” said one grower.

Another grower said, “We should have grown more annuals from late May through June. For almost 8 years, demand for our early summer annuals steadily decreased, but this year, the late start to spring and cool early summer temps created a demand we were not prepared for. More than a few customers expressed their disappointment over not being able to find product. Some went so far as to say ‘growers are dictating the season.’ I find that terribly frustrating since it’s the steady decrease in demand for early summer annuals that shaped our current production.”

The wet spring wasn’t a bad thing for everyone, though. Some growers used the late start as an opportunity to improve customer service.

“Being ready when the customer and weather were helped us,” said one grower. “Our team never gave up and we were creative in how we dealt with the rough early weather. Our goal was to not send in unneeded product to our customers, with the cold weather. We found other outlets and held product.”

Another grower said, “We capitalized on the opportunity to work closer with our customers and show them how well we could take care of them during an exceptionally challenging spring. We are also able to prove how good we were at growing by continually providing good quality products, during week after week of terrible weather.”

The majority of our respondents said the weather was either moderately uncooperative (38 percent) or extremely uncooperative (28 percent), while other growers had weather that was moderately cooperative (28 percent) to extremely cooperative (6 percent).

Staffing (11 percent) and the economy (10 percent) were the other biggest challenges, as well as access to credit (5 percent) and competition (4 percent) while others specifically named impatiens downy mildew, production issues like having enough bench space to meet demand and crop timing, as well as logistics concerns like a perceived faster ramp up of customer needs and shipping more product in a shorter time period.

“We tried torenia but it was a complete sales failure,” said a grower. “I wish we had grown more New Guinea impatiens.”

Edibles And Annuals Crops Are On The Rise
Breaking down crops grown this year, respondents said they would grow more of edibles (51 percent) and annuals (45 percent) next year, versus growing the same amount or fewer. For those who grew edibles this year (including vegetables and herbs, sales were the same as 2012 (16 percent) or increased over 2012 (50 percent). Sales of annuals also increased for most growers (42 percent) or were the same (20 percent).

Growers who produced edibles said they were encouraged by the payoff they saw from growing this category.

“Understanding the edibles market a little better, we were able to meet demand on most crops,” said one grower. “Tomato and pepper sales were very strong in our market.”

Another grower, who used a new production technique this spring to produce vegetable plugs, had great success with the new program.

“We introduced a new pot size for our organic edibles program — a 2½-inch size we called Garden Starters that was priced economically. To transplant into this small pot size, we used a puncher transplanter with our 162 sized plugs. Using the puncher allowed us to very quickly produce hundreds of trays for this smaller pot, allowing this new program to be grown and sent to market quickly. It was a huge success for our cole crop vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli and 10 varieties of greens) in March and April.”

Many growers who didn’t grow edibles this year said they felt this was a missed opportunity, due to an increase in demand for vegetables, herbs and berries.
Growers also saw greater opportunities in growing larger annuals and pre-planted container gardens, as well as 2-inch plants to feed the miniature gardening trend.

Growers Forecast For Spring 2014
In perennials, flowering potted, plugs and propagation, shrubs and woody ornamentals and foliage and houseplants, the majority of growers said their production numbers would remain the same in 2014, based on 2013 sales figures in these categories.

For the majority of growers, sales of potted plants increased over 2012 sales (37 percent) or remained about the same as last year (27 percent). Container perennials sales were about the same as last year (27 percent) with an equal percentage of increase and decrease in sales from 2012 (25 percent).

“Spring started very slowly with the cool, rainy weather. Perennial sales were slow because when spring finally arrived, customers bought annuals instead,” said a grower. 


Leave a Reply

One comment on “Spring Crops Recap: Sales Are Up In 2013

  1. You need to ask about profits. Not sales. Sales are easy to get by lowering prices. The real story here should have been about profits – or losses. Which we had.

More From State of the Industry...

March 26, 2015

10 Greenhouse Products For First-Rate Growing Environments

From coverings to fork-lifts, greenhouse suppliers offer a variety of products to make growing easier. Check out the slideshow to learn more about these, plus several other products that can offer you value, versatility and durability.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Horticulture Priorities

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadlines Approaching

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More
Latest Stories

March 25, 2015

NASS Reports U.S. Honey Production Was Up By 19 Percent…

Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013, according to a March 20 report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Read More
cultivate'15 logo

March 4, 2015

Cultivate’15: AmericanHort Announces What’s…

In an industry that has seen major changes occurring at a fast pace, many industry professionals leave Cultivate with their heads spinning and no clear idea of how to regroup and strategize. Cultivate’15 is “Changing the Game.” As this year’s focus, Changing the Game will call your attention to the ways in which our industry has changed and your opportunities to compete successfully.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

February 2, 2015

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 State Of The In…

The Greenhouse Grower 2015 State Of The Industry Whitepaper includes all the results of the survey, including comparisons on 2014 sales to past years, details on how 2015 production volume and prices will compare to 2014, crops that growers will increase and decrease production on, where growers stand on using neonicotinoids on crops, how many growers will pursue growing medical marijuana and more.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Benchmarks: Let’s Change Our Story

It's a new year. Time for our industry to change how consumers perceive plants by creating a new reality where plants are valued for more than their physical beauty.

Read More

January 21, 2015

AFE Wins Platinum MarCom Award For “Murder, Sex a…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) took home its fourth award for the animated awareness video "Murder, Sex and Greed." The organization also recently announced that there are two new members on its board of trustees.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 19, 2015

2015 State Of The Industry: Current Green Industry Tren…

Demand for green industry products and services is forecasted to increase in coming years as the housing market rebounds.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Terra Nigra Joins DNA Green Group

DNA Green Group will be expanding its range of cut flowers by incorporating Terra Nigra, a company specializing in breeding and propagation of gerberas and roses.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Florensis Receives Horticultural Entrepreneur Award

During the January 7, 2015 award ceremony in the Keukenhof, in Lisse, Netherlands, Florensis received the Horticultural Entrepreneur Award. Florensis was one of four nominated companies, which also included Arcadia BV, Artemis and Martens Asperges.

Read More

January 9, 2015

AmericanHort Celebrates Its First Birthday

AmericanHort was formally launched one year ago on January 1, 2014, and the association is celebrating numerous successes of the first year.

Read More
Carol Miller

January 7, 2015

We’re All In This Together

Growers and retailers have a common goal — to serve customers better. In this new column, Greenhouse Grower will take a look at ways growers and retailers can work together to take advantage of profit opportunities and better meet customer needs.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Industry Speaks Out Against “Waters Of The U.S.” Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule change to the Clean Water Act, known as “waters of the U.S.,” has the potential to disrupt normal business practices for growers across the country.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Students Tackle Real-Life Challenges At National FFA Fl…

Top prize winners put skills learned in the classroom to the test at the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Floriculture Career Development Event.

Read More
Lesley Judd

January 7, 2015

2014 Meister Scholarship Awarded To Ph.D Student

The Richard T. Meister Scholarship was awarded to Lesley Judd, a graduate student with a passion for horticulture and a desire to pass her knowledge along through teaching.

Read More

January 6, 2015

39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium Will Be Febr…

The Professional Gardener Alumni Association (PGAA) will hold the 39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium program will be on February 6, 2015 from 8 a.m. or 4 p.m. in the Ballroom at Longwood Gardens, and will feature an array of engaging speakers.

Read More
Shawn McBurney

January 6, 2015

Society Of American Florists Hires New Lobbyist

Shawn McBurney joined the Society of American Florists' (SAF) staff starting January 5 as the new senior director of government relations.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Optimistic For A Strong Year In 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s State Of The Industry survey reveals that growers are being cautious about the inputs they use, and they’re worried about input costs and regulation, but enthusiastic about the rebounding economy.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

The 2015 State Of The Greenhouse Industry: Numbers At A…

Greenhouse Grower's 2015 State Of The Industry Survey shows some promising trends for the new year. Here's a look at the greenhouse market for 2015.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

Suppliers Will Increase Prices, Grower Education For 20…

Vendors' expectations are high for 2015, according to their responses on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 State Of The Industry Survey.

Read More