How Global Suppliers Of Unrooted Cuttings Are Working To Improve The Pipeline

Sixty-five percent of the world’s cuttings currently are imported to the North American market, according to Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top Cuttings Producers Survey. With that kind of volume comes a great deal of responsibility on the part of cuttings producers to provide growers with clean material, to keep the supply lines open, and to work with breeders and distributors to fulfill the industry’s needs and demands for a large number of varieties.

These farms, owned by breeders and independent producers, have been diligently working to ensure their facilities are pristine, their workers are educated and well cared for, the inputs they use are environmentally sound, and their products are clean. They’re also working with industry organizations and government agencies like USDA to ensure understanding and cooperation to safeguard our industry from misunderstandings, and maintain a steady, reliable supply of vegetative cuttings to the marketplace.

In Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top Cuttings Producers Survey, we asked the world’s largest unrooted cuttings producers to tell us about what they’re working on, what concerns them, and what they’re excited about — and how all of these things affect growers.

2016 RankCompanyCuttings Produced (% for North America)Production Space Dedicated To CuttingsCropsProduction Facilities
1Dümmen Orange1.4 billion (24%)375 acresAnnuals, Perennials, Cut Flowers, Flowering Potted Plants, Herbs, Succulents, TropicalsGuatemala (2), El Salvador, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, Uganda, U.S.
2Beekenkamp1 billion (1%)76 acresAnnuals, Perennials, Cut Flowers, Flowering Potted PlantsEthiopia, Uganda
3Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm500 million (N/A)63 acresAnnuals, Perennials, Cut Flowers, Flowering Potted PlantsIsrael, Kenya, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia
4Selecta Klemm380-400 million (15%)125 acresAnnuals, Perennials, Cut Flowers, Flowering Potted Plants, Herbs, Woody OrnamentalsIsrael, Kenya, Spain, Uganda
5Syngenta Flowers290 million (100%)*177 acres*AnnualsGuatemala, Mexico, U.S.*
6Cohen Propagation Nurseries200-220 million (15%)38 acresAnnualsIsrael
7Florensis210 million (2%)91 acresAnnuals, Perennials, Cut Flowers, Flowering Potted Plants, Tropicals, Foliage Plants, Herbs, Woody OrnamentalsEthiopia, Kenya, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands
8Ball FloraPlant200+ million (80%)115 acresAnnualsGuatemala, Nicaragua, Israel, Mexico, Portugal, Ethiopia, Kenya
9Kientzler/Innovaplant de Costa Rica110-120 million23 acresAnnuals, PerennialsCosta Rica
10Vivero Internacional105 million (100%)110 acresAnnuals, Perennials, Flowering Potted PlantsMexico
11Aris Horticulture80-100 million (100%)164 acresPerennials, Flowering Potted Plants, HerbsU.S., Canada
12Grolink Plant Co.70 to 80 million (100%)23 acresAnnuals, Cut FlowersU.S.
13Darwin Perennials50-60 million (92%)17 acresPerennials, Herbs, GroundcoversColombia
*= estimated

Reading The Rankings

In the past year, there have been some changes in acreage and production output among cuttings producers. Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm climbed the rankings from Number 8 to Number 3, extending its cuttings business by 26 acres and two countries, as it now lists properties in Ecuador and Colombia. Beekenkamp has grown another 7 acres, while Selecta Klemm has also grown by 34 acres, increased production by 40-50 million cuttings, and expanded into Israel. Vivero Internacional has grown by 11 acres and is producing another 5 million cuttings. Aris Horticulture has moved into the rankings, producing up to 100 million cuttings on 164 acres. Darwin Perennials has increased production at its Colombia facilities by about 20 million cuttings annually.

Meanwhile, Kientzler/Innovaplant has scaled back a few acres and about 20 million cuttings, and GroLink reports 18 fewer acres of production space from 2015, although it has maintained the same number of cuttings produced.

chart-3Overcoming Obstacles To Deliver Quality

With few disease issues to speak of in the past year or two, offshore producers say the overall quality of unrooted cuttings has become more reliable, and some say it is the strongest it has been in years. That said, however, producers remain vigilant to heighten quality, cleanliness, and order-fill reliability.

Recently, eliminating the use of the neonicotinoid class of chemistry from production has been necessary for some producers, to provide neonic-free cuttings to grower customers. Producers say the loss of this class has been a challenge, but it’s a change they have been willing and able to make to fulfill growers’ needs for unrooted cuttings with zero trace of neonicotinoid application.

“It has set a new industry standard, which is in a way beneficial since, for a long time, we have been reducing our chemical use in favor of IPM,” says Robbert Hamer of Florensis. “Since all suppliers have to comply, it levels the playing field, and we reap the rewards of our investments.”

As 66% of cuttings producers say they are providing neonicotinoid-free cuttings to growers, and 17% are providing a mix of cuttings — some neonic-free and some that have been treated with neonics — there is a need to replace those products.

Increased integrated pest management (IPM) and use of biocontrols are two areas in which producers are investing time and effort to produce quality cuttings.

“The elimination of neonicotinoids at our facilities requires an unwavering focus on IPM,” says Kate Santos of Dümmen Orange. “Scouting, also with early, accurate detection paired with the best rotation of targeted, approved products, is the best approach to execute and requires constant vigilance to manage. We have made significant inroads in this and have created a team that oversees this across all of our farms to ensure that information, training, and strategies are shared and followed. We see that secondary pests, like mealybugs, that were once managed by a neonicotinoid are now becoming more of a primary issue, and require us to identify new protocols to manage.”

The use of biological controls and beneficial insects has been a gray area in the past due to the zero-tolerance policy for any type of insect at the U.S. border, but some producers are using them in limited ways, like in elite stock production.

“As we were already experimenting with biologicals in production, [losing neonicotinoids] sped up this process,” says Martijn Kuiper of Beekenkamp. “This is still in an experimental phase, but we are trialing the use of these products.”

chart-1Working Together To Improve The Supply Chain

Producers have become more involved in working with USDA to educate the agency about the issues involved in the importation of cuttings. They say there are ongoing improvements and USDA is becoming easier to work with on a program basis.

AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists are enlisting cuttings producers’ help in developing policy like the Geranium Certification program, and there are discussions underway to manage other imported crops under similar structures. Even the use of biological control agents in offshore cuttings production could become more of a reality with this increased cooperation. It’s a work in progress, Kuiper says.

“We are starting to work with USDA on importing cuttings with beneficial insects,” Kuiper says. “This is not an easy process, as at the moment, all unidentified insects will be sent to a specialist for determination, which results in a hold on the shipments.”

Challenges And Opportunities Await

Weather and labor are challenges for breeders and cuttings producers, just as much as they are for growers. But producers also mentioned increased production costs and the availability of crop protection products to be of concern.

“Increasing restricted use of chemicals that’s driven by emotion, not rationale [is a challenge],” Hamer says. “Further, many big box retailers and countries have their own rules on residues and allowed chemicals, making import a very big puzzle. Importing unrooted cuttings from external sources becomes increasingly difficult since these sources may have used chemicals that are not allowed.”

A growing demand for cuttings during peak periods is making unrooted cutting production more expensive and putting a strain on labor.

“Growers are doing less early and late product and focusing their sales on the peak market — this is driving increased demand for peak season cuttings and less demand for shoulder seasons,” Davidson says.

Spreading the risk beyond spring will help everyone in the supply chain, from breeders to growers to retailers.

Meanwhile, producers are excited about technology coming into the marketplace, like the new robots that will automate the sticking process.

“The automation process of sticking cuttings will change the way we produce cuttings,” Kuiper says. “It will be interesting to see how this will develop.”

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “How Global Suppliers Of Unrooted Cuttings Are Working To Improve The Pipeline

  1. What if cutting suppliers were to include in boxes photos and/or the names of the biological insects they’ve used? That may at least give the USDA a starting place in ID-ing the insects so that shipments are not held up.

More From Management...
Griffin-Massachusetts-Cannabis-Workshop

April 23, 2018

Griffin Hosting Cannabis Growers Workshop in May

The half-day program in Colorado will focus on several aspects of crop fertility and nutrition delivery strategies.

Read More
AFE-Flower-Marketing-Videos

April 20, 2018

Your Weekly Chance to Market the Positive Vibes That Flowers Bring

Each week between now and the end of the year, American Floral Endowment will post a new video promoting flowers.

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

April 10, 2018

Make Plans to Attend the NICH Annual Conference in Atlanta in June

Everyone in every aspect of consumer horticulture is invited to attend and help create a unified, strategic plan around industry-wide priorities.

Read More
Latest Stories
Griffin-Massachusetts-Cannabis-Workshop

April 23, 2018

Griffin Hosting Cannabis Growers Workshop in May

The half-day program in Colorado will focus on several aspects of crop fertility and nutrition delivery strategies.

Read More
AFE-Flower-Marketing-Videos

April 20, 2018

Your Weekly Chance to Market the Positive Vibes That Fl…

Each week between now and the end of the year, American Floral Endowment will post a new video promoting flowers.

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

April 10, 2018

Make Plans to Attend the NICH Annual Conference in Atla…

Everyone in every aspect of consumer horticulture is invited to attend and help create a unified, strategic plan around industry-wide priorities.

Read More
2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society Field Trials

March 31, 2018

Save the Date for the 2018 Northeast Greenhouse Confere…

This year’s conference takes place Nov. 7-8, 2018, and offers growers a great opportunity to learn, share, and connect with other industry professionals.

Read More
NatureFresh-Farms-Leamington-Expansion

March 27, 2018

NatureFresh Further Expands Greenhouse Tomato Productio…

Construction of a new, 32-acre greenhouse facility will commence in the summer of 2018, with production scheduled to begin in 2019.

Read More
Dickman-Farms-Carve-and-Brew-Event

March 26, 2018

How Dickman Farms Used a New Event to Expand Its Custom…

Last fall, Dickman Farms hosted “Carve & Brew,” a new event in which young adults were able to carve a pumpkin, taste craft brews from two local microbreweries, and relax with friends and neighbors.

Read More
Bell Nursery Panorama Photo

March 23, 2018

Bell Nursery’s Gary Mangum Provides Insight on De…

In light of the March 14 announcement that Bell Nursery Holdings LLC had been acquired by Central Garden & Pet, Greenhouse Grower caught up with Bell Nursery CEO Gary Mangum to get the backstory on the deal. Here is our full interview with Mangum.

Read More
Mason-Day-GrowIt-Feature

March 22, 2018

Why Your Efforts to Sell Plants Fall Short and What You…

It’s time to look at outside industries for ideas and inspiration on what we can do to operate more efficiently in today’s economy.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-Dinner

March 20, 2018

Seed Your Future Dinner Celebrates Focus on New, Young …

During a Seed Your Future Leadership Meeting Fundraiser dinner at Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania's Ag Secretary thanked the Seed Your Future initiative for its efforts to create awareness of horticulture and careers in horticulture.

Read More
Banker-Plants-at-Thiels

March 19, 2018

Bug Your Customer About Biocontrols

Getting customers educated about your biocontrol use and using it to build your brand is all about telling your story in way that attracts attention.

Read More
John Sorenson

March 15, 2018

Vestaron CEO John Sorenson Dies at Age 68

Sorenson, a long-time crop protection specialist in the horticulture industry, was a key figure in Vestaron’s launch of new and innovative biological products.

Read More
Roger-Kehoe-Eason

March 12, 2018

Eason Horticultural Resources Adds to its National Sale…

Roger Kehoe joins the company as a Sales and Production Management Expert. He was most recently the Director of Young Plant Production at the Color Division of Costa Farms.

Read More

March 11, 2018

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture Releases …

A new series of four #PlantsDoThat Inside infographics focuses on the multitude of ways indoor plants affect where we live, where we work, where we heal, and where we learn. The first two infographics are now available.

Read More
Penn State University campus

March 9, 2018

Check Out the Top 40 Ag Colleges in the World

The most recent World University Ranking by Subject report includes a breakdown of the top agricultural colleges. Find out if your alma mater made the list!

Read More
GCA-Summer-Tour-McAuliffes

March 9, 2018

GCA Announces Complete Seattle Garden Center Summer Tou…

The Garden Centers of America Summer Tour in Seattle will feature visits to some of the most unique plant retailers in the Pacific Northwest.

Read More

March 8, 2018

Southern Nursery Association to Award $18,000 in Schola…

The deadline for application is May 27, and 12 scholarships are expected to be awarded.

Read More
Stephanie-Jensen-BASF

March 7, 2018

BASF Names New Director of Its Specialty Crops Business

Stephanie Jensen will focus on new and innovative solutions for growers in the pest control, turf, and ornamentals markets.

Read More
SNA-2019-Conference-Logo

March 6, 2018

SNA Conference Will Once Again Co-Locate with MANTS in …

Participants of the 2018 SNA Conference were positive about the location, the meeting space, and the added convenience of the conference being held two days before the opening of MANTS.

Read More