The recent acquisition of Ecke Ranch by the Agribio Group — which already owns number one cuttings producer Fides Oro — won’t impact our Top 10 Cuttings Producer rankings until next year. But adding the 95,000,000 cuttings Ecke produced this year to Fides Oro’s more than one billion will further cement its place as the top cuttings producer. This continues the industry trend toward consolidation; in 2011, Agribio purchased Guatemalan cuttings producer Oro Farms, creating Fides Oro. The combined output of cuttings topped one billion for the first time.
There was some other shifting among the ranks. Selecta Klemm increased cuttings production by 23 million in 2012, moving up one into the number four spot. Because Innovaplant reduced production by 5 to 10 million this year, dropping from number eight to number ten, Florexpo moved into the number eight position and GGG Grüenwald into number nine.
New Products, Crops and Technologies
In our survey, we asked producers what they are excited about this year. Zsofia Angeli-Wies of GGG Grüenwald cited the company’s own petunia line and large flowering cupheas. Martijn Kuiper, North American sales manager for Beekenkamp, said he was most excited about the operation’s Deliflor automated stick line, as well as its begonia Glory series and Cottage lines.
Managing Director Perry Wismans says Dümmen’s Great Balls of Fire series will breathe new life into the ivy geranium market because of its heat tolerance. In addition, “The new Aloha Kona calibrachoa series is getting great reviews from trial stations,” he says. “This series is more compact than your regular calibrachoa and can therefore be grown with less PGRs.”
General Manager Thomas Schuster of Innovaplant says he is looking forward to new convolvulus, calibrachoas, petunias and iberis varieties, and Fides Oro’s general manager, Mark Schermer, mentions not only plants but a new technology.
“We’re excited about marker-assisted breeding that will give our program a real boost, the development of our perennials program, the addition of the Bartels Stek products to our assortment and featuring Suntory’s full product line,” Schermer says. “And, of course, the introduction of our Mystic Mums line. We’re pleased with the positive feedback from customers on the excellent product quality from our farm in Guatemala in the first season as a merged company.”
Ball FloraPlant continues its line of Genesis direct-stick callused cuttings. Argyranthemums, bracteantha, geranium, osteospermum and scaevola are available this way. In addition, Ball FloraPlant will be opening a new facility in Nicaragua and is contract growing in Israel. “Our reasons for both include climate, upgrades in production facilities and efficiencies and available labor and logistics,” says Allan Davidson, general manager for Ball FloraPlant
Of course there are the rough spots to be worked through, and the list of challenges is a familiar one.
“Increasing costs of energy, inflation in production countries, exchange rates and generally trying to keep costs per unit under control,” says Selecta’s Per Klemm when asked what challenges this year will bring. Ball Flora Plant’s Davidson puts it more simply. “Rising production costs.”
Beekenkamp’s Kuiper says exchange rates are an issue, as well as logistics — and not only the rules of importation but the implementation of these rules. Wismans says last year Dümmen introduced its True Grower Guarantee, a new insurance policy for growers, which put extra pressure on the company’s off-shore farms and rooting partners. However, Dümmen is doing it again, because it ended the season with close to 100 percent order fill.
“Offering distinctive products, reliability of supply and being easy to do business with,” is Fides Oro’s challenge according to Schermer. Fernando Altmann Weston, production manager for Florexpo, says keeping up with new introductions and evaluating which ones will be successful is something they are always working on.
|2012 Rank||Company||Quantity Produced
||Greenhouse Square Feet
|1||Fides Oro||1 billion+||8,073,000||Holland||five|
|3||Syngenta Flowers||550-575 million||15,070,000||Switzerland||six|
|4||Selecta Klemm||321 million||4,005,509||Germany||three|
|6||Ball FloraPlant||200 million||5,000,000||United States||seven|
|8||Florexpo SA||130-140 million||1,765,281||Costa Rica||one|