A Dynamic And Changing Greenhouse Supply Chain

Jerry Montgomery

As usual, the California Spring Trials offered the chance to see many new varieties and marketing programs and a wonderful opportunity for personal networking. This year in particular, however, it caused me to look harder at the changing face of the supply chain.

The recent changes have caused, in my estimation, a shift in the power and importance of a number of key industry companies. Consider some significant shifts:

• The Dümmen Group took control of Fides Oro’s bedding plants and perennials and its related brands, Ecke, Oglevee, Fides and Bartels. That makes Dümmen the most powerful and influential vegetative breeder/producer serving the North American market. Dümmen and Agribio will be two completely separate companies owned by H2Equity, a new company to be announced and the management.

• Syngenta Flowers sold its grower distribution company, Syngenta Horticultural Supplies (SHS), to the Griffin family, a leading supplier of hard goods in the eastern U.S., and a highly respected organization.

• McHutchison, a well-respected, 140-year-old brokerage company, announced it has revived the Vaughan name by starting a new division, Vaughan Horticulture, that will focus on the large grower sector.

• Effective early May, Syngenta Flowers is dropping McHutchison as an authorized broker of its genetics.

• Industry veteran Gary Falkenstein announced he will launch ePlantSource, a highly efficient online brokerage company sometime around June 2013.

Dümmen’s Dominant Role Can Be A Game-Changer
With the Dümmen Group controlling so much of the production that serves North America, it is clearly now the No. 1 vegetative annual supplier. Not only does Dümmen own the Red Fox brand, but it also controls both the production and marketing of Ecke, Oglevee, Bartels, Fides and Oro. Dümmen is also the exclusive annuals supplier for the HGTV brand that is launching this spring.
Some of the questions I have about how the Dümmen Group will manage the No. 1 breeder-producer serving the North American market are:

• How will it position two poinsettia brands: Ecke and Red Fox?

• What is the market positioning for the Oglevee and Red Fox geranium brands?

• What will its broker network look like? Currently Dümmen USA has six brokers.

• How will the Fides brand be differentiated from the Red Fox brand?

Over the past five to six years, Dümmen has had exponential growth in the North American market by offering some unique marketing programs:

• It introduced to the market the Confetti concept of offering three unrooted cuttings (URCs) packaged separately and shipped from the production farms.

• It set up rooting stations for a Confetti liner: Bobs’ Market in West Virginia and Hart’s Nursery in Oregon — two of the best rooting stations in North America.

• Dümmen began marketing a line of petunias under the name Potunia with varieties that had an ideal habit for pot production.

• It offered complementary packaging for the Potunia brand to encourage growers to adopt the concept — and wow, did it work.

• For the 2012 season, it offered guaranteed delivery for URCs to the marketplace — an issue many producers have been struggling with for years.

Many are wondering what is the future marketing look like for the Dümmen Group now that it controls more well- known brands. I would speculate that there will be more innovative marketing and Dümmen will continue to be a growing force in the North American vegetative cutting market.

McHutchison News Grabs Attention
Another much-talked-about change is the de-listing of McHutchison by Syngenta Flowers that has been surprising to many in the industry. McHutchison is a highly respected broker that I believe ranks No. 4 among U.S. brokers. By de-listing McHutchison, Syngenta Flowers has also effected the Vaughan Horticulture division that will focus on the large grower sector. It’s hard to imagine why a breeder/producer would eliminate such potential for distribution support, especially after selling its wholly owned broker company.

Supplies Respond To Downy Mildew
Not a lot has recently changed in the seed supply chain except that Benary has established a breeding location in Watsonville, Calif., not only to breed for the North American market but to have a stronger marketing presence.

Another issue that has changed some of the dynamics in seed usage is the catastrophic outbreak of downy mildew that is devastating the Impatiens walleriana market. Although it has wreaked havoc with impatiens producers, some have responded with alternative products that are filling the void.
PanAmerican Seed ramped up its promotion of the seed New Guinea impatiens Divine series that has been hugely successful in filling the void. Sakata has benefited tremendously by massive increases in the use of SunPatiens and currently has a marketing program of compact varieties, positioned for a high-density 306 container. Syngenta Flowers launched a New Guinea seed type named Florific during the recent Spring Trials.

Count On Continual Change
Over the past six months, the industry has witnessed significant changes in the supply chain and has witnessed changes driven by outside forces, namely downy mildew. Although the changes have been somewhat surprising to say the least, I think there are many more to come in the near future.

Change is inevitable and leads to many new opportunities for those who embrace it. Unfortunately, those who fight change are always left behind, as witnessed by the decline in the number of growers over the past 10 years.  

Leave a Reply

More From State of the Industry...
Biocontrols in a Greenhouse

November 3, 2017

Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2018 State of the Industry Survey

Growers and others associated with the greenhouse business often ask the Greenhouse Grower editorial staff where we get ideas for stories. The Answer: You! That's why we're asking you to please take some time to answer our annual State of the Industry survey.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Technology Is Changing the Game for Growers

Technology is sexy. There’s a fervor associated with buying the latest go-go-gadget — and a fear of missing out if we don’t. We all want that latest, most advanced smartphone, home assistant, or wearable tech, no matter the cost. And jobs associated with technology? Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter — offer some of the most competitive and coveted positions on the planet. Just look at the stir Amazon made when it announced it would build a $50 billion second headquarters, with cities from all over North America clamoring to be the one chosen, considering the significant economic potential. Technology and tech jobs are it — and it’s no wonder growers don’t feel jobs in horticulture can compete. But what if they can? If tech jobs are the future and the future of horticulture depends on technology, then we have a real opportunity to seize. Millennials who have grown up […]

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Genetically Engineered Petunias

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More
Latest Stories
Biocontrols in a Greenhouse

November 3, 2017

Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2018 State of the Indust…

Growers and others associated with the greenhouse business often ask the Greenhouse Grower editorial staff where we get ideas for stories. The Answer: You! That's why we're asking you to please take some time to answer our annual State of the Industry survey.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Technology Is Changing the Game for Growers

Technology is sexy. There’s a fervor associated with buying the latest go-go-gadget — and a fear of missing out if we don’t. We all want that latest, most advanced smartphone, home assistant, or wearable tech, no matter the cost. And jobs associated with technology? Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter — offer some of the most competitive and coveted positions on the planet. Just look at the stir Amazon made when it announced it would build a $50 billion second headquarters, with cities from all over North America clamoring to be the one chosen, considering the significant economic potential. Technology and tech jobs are it — and it’s no wonder growers don’t feel jobs in horticulture can compete. But what if they can? If tech jobs are the future and the future of horticulture depends on technology, then we have a real opportunity to seize. Millennials who have grown up […]

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More

March 2, 2017

Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry Whitepaper Avai…

This year’s survey featured a record 975 respondents and tackled topics such as sales trends, technology, major industry challenges and opportunities, and much more.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry Webinar

February 27, 2017

State of the Industry Webinar Available for On-Demand V…

The half-hour presentation includes an analysis of Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry survey, along with insights from horticulture industry leaders.

Read More

February 11, 2017

Poinsettia Survey Reveals Growers Increased Poinsettia …

On average, growers responding to Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Poinsettia Survey said the poinsettia season was “good,”Here’s a glance at the outlook for poinsettias in the marketplace.

Read More

January 25, 2017

59 New Members of Congress Need to Hear from You, SAF S…

Retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, and growers coming to the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 37th Annual Congressional Action Days, March 13-14 in Washington, DC, have a lot of explaining to do. There are 59 new congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill, and this freshmen class needs a lesson about floriculture.

Read More
bouldin-lawson-pro-sticking-line-at-north-creek-nurseries

January 25, 2017

State of the Industry 2017: Growers are Ready to Invest…

Greenhouse Grower's 2017 State of the Industry Survey revealed that grower investment in technology is imminent due to the cost and availability of labor, to improve efficiency, expand their growing operations, and allow employees to concentrate on higher value jobs that are less labor-intensive.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Growers are an Aging Demographic, 2017 State of the Ind…

Owners and upper management of growing operations in the horticulture industry, not unlike others in agriculture, are aging, according to Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry Survey.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

January 24, 2017

Growers Becoming More Sustainable but Most Think Climat…

Greenhouse Grower's 2017 State of the Industry Survey revealed that growers are adopting biocontrols and organic production, yet 58% of growers said they don't believe humans can control climate change.

Read More

January 24, 2017

State of the Industry Survey Says 2017 Will be a Year o…

Growers, suppliers, and researchers who took Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State Of The Industry Survey say they are ready to drive change and profitability in horticultural businesses.

Read More
Moana plant yard

January 4, 2017

Green Industry Poised for Continued Economic Growth in …

Positive economic indicators point to 2017 being a year of modest growth for the green industry, according to economist Charlie Hall.

Read More

January 3, 2017

Growing Optimism for the Horticulture Industry in 2017

With a new administration and a new Congress, AmericanHort's Craig Regelbrugge says the horticulture industry has reason to be cautiously optimistic that regulatory relief could be on the horizon.

Read More
Bees on flowers

October 11, 2016

Bees Endangered? Here’s The Rest Of The Story

Recently, mainstream media reported that certain bee species have been placed on the endangered species list, but the situation isn’t as dire as one might think.

Read More
cuttings-facility

September 27, 2016

How Global Suppliers Of Unrooted Cuttings Are Working T…

The world’s top vegetative producers discuss how they continue to evolve to overcome challenges and embrace opportunities to help growers and the varieties supply chain.

Read More
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Studen…

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

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

August 13, 2016

Plants Sales Are Up For Fourth Straight Year, According…

Growers declared spring 2016 to be a success in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry: Spring Crops Recap Survey.

Read More