Billion-Cutting Breakthrough

One billion cuttings. That’s a number we hadn’t really fathomed for as long as we’ve been ranking the world’s largest cuttings producers, but with the trend toward industry consolidation, it certainly was in reach. When Fides’ parent company, Agribio Group in Holland, purchased Guatemalan cuttings producer Oro Farms this spring, it instantly put the combined Fides Oro over the billion-cutting threshold. Fides produced 800-850 million cuttings and Oro Farms produced about 200 million.

While most of Fides’ cuttings are purchased by global fresh cut flower farms, Oro was focused on annuals and perennials. In addition to Fides’ breeding, Fides Oro is licensed to produce varieties from a wide range of breeders and agents, including Danziger, Sakata, Terra Nova, Florensis, Hem Genetics, Bartels Stek, Suntory, Cultivaris, Floranova, Lommerce, Kerley, PlantHaven, Rijnbeek & Zoon, ItSaul Plants and Westflowers.

Today, the composition of the combined Fides Oro production is 60 percent cut flower varieties, 20 percent flowering potted plants (notably kalanchoe), 18 percent annuals and 2 percent perennials. About 75 percent of the cuttings are sold to European growers, 15 percent to U.S. growers and 10 percent to other parts of the world.

In the United States, it’s easy to forget how big the global cut flower market is because most of our fresh cut flowers are imported, not produced here. And there’s a global cutting supply chain that supports fresh cut flower farms by providing propagation inputs. Cut flower production remains relatively strong in Dutch greenhouses, as well, to feed the auction system.

The second largest cuttings producer, Beekenkamp, also is based in Holland and is a leader in cut flower production as owner of Deliflor, which produces chrysanthemums. Beekenkamp has plans to increase its presence in blooming potted plants and has specialized in breeding begonias. Up until this point, U.S. growers have tried the Beekenkamp/Florema genetics through Floremara, a joint distribution venture with Holtkamp Greenhouses in Tennessee. Six more brokers in North America just picked up the Beekenkamp breeding lines – Eason Horticultural Resources, Express Seed, McHutchison, McGregor Plant Sales, Norseco and Northern Innovators.

Broker Breakups & Hookups

As the global supply chain consolidates and becomes more vertical – integrating breeding, production and sales organizations – distribution alliances are becoming more important. One summer shocker was Costa Rican cuttings producer Florexpo parting ways with broker McGregor Plants Sales after a 17-year run building business together. Florexpo retained McHutchison and Fred C. Gloeckner as broker partners but picked up a big new one, Ball Horticultural Co., to serve a mutual interest in perennials.

“Florexpo will produce the perennials Ball used to produce, and Ball will sell our combined offering with the Florexpo brand,” says Florexpo Production Manager Fernando Altman Jr. “Working together, we believe we will be able to produce the best and largest perennial program in the world, which will be reinforced on the sales side by our continued association with McHutchison and Gloeckner.”

McGregor Plant Sales President Cathy McClintock says her company has secured new supply partners for perennials and annuals, including Oro Farms, Danziger, Aris, Cohen and Athena, as well as tissue culture labs in Costa Rica, China and Holland.

Sister propagators GroLink in California and Athena in Brazil are also behaving more independently instead of having Athena’s orders flow through GroLink’s sales organization. Over the past few years, Syngenta Flowers has moved toward open distribution of its genetics in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. This is largely because two breeders Syngenta acquired, Goldsmith and Fischer, had open distribution.

As an independent breeder-producer monitoring industry consolidation and breeder/broker activity, Dümmen Managing Director Perry Wismans says, ”Although we see the importance of these developments, our focus remains on the success of our customers. Most consolidations make companies spend their time internally to focus on optimizing processes and programs. Dümmen spends its time with customers to find out what their challenges are and how we can help them to overcome these.”

Raising The Bar On Service

One of growers’ biggest frustrations industrywide is not receiving the cuttings they order, whether they be delayed or substituted. To address this, Dümmen has introduced a True Grower Guarantee on key product lines – petunias, calibrachoas, verbenas, New Guinea impatiens, osteospermums, garden collection and Confetti Garden liners. “With this guarantee, we ensure on-time delivery of confirmed product,” Wismans says. “If we have to substitute or postpone confirmed orders, the affected product is free of charge. This innovative service fits our strategy to take ownership in the struggle for success of our customers.”

Growers have asked how Dümmen is able to offer such a bold guarantee. “We can fall on our face and not make any profit,” Wismans says. “Growers ask, why do you feel comfortable doing this? We have a proven track record the last two years with 98 percent order fill. If our order fill was only 90 percent, we could never do it. We’re only doing this in the U.S. market from product that originates from our new farm in El Salvador, Las Mercedes.”

Innovative varieties and programs, like the Confetti Garden multiliner, have been driving Dümmen’s growth, which is more than 20 percent in the last year. Wismans is especially excited about the new interspecific geranium lines – Cumbanita and Salsarita – which are positioned to take on Syngenta Flowers’ Calliopes and Calientes.

Ball FloraPlant General Manager Allan Davidson agrees superior service and innovative offerings are keys to success. “Reliability is king,” he says. “You also need new genetics, as well as solid-performing core products. Growers have to be able to rely on consistent supply and accurate inventories.”

One program Ball is excited about is the Mix Master line of multicutting liners, using the same 2.0 system Selecta developed for Trixi liners (see page 32). “We also offer these recipes, as well as others, to our unrooted customers, who can produce them in a multitutde of ways,” Davidson says. Ball’s Genesis callused cuttings also have been well received by growers producing geraniums and osteospermums. Scaevola, bracteantha and argyranthemum have just been added to the Genesis program, which shaves two weeks off production.

Paul Ecke Ranch’s Steve Rinehart says its new labor-saving SNAP program, shipping cuttings inserted in a special substrate in a 78 tray, is “the most revolutionary vision to U.S. plant propagation in the last 20 years. We believe this technology will continue to be a key strategy to advance how products are handled in the world. We are leading the industry in offering new production systems for growers to try.” Ecke Ranch just opened a third farm in Guatemala to support this growth.

In this ultra competitive environment, the cuttings producers that are the most responsive, innovative, reliable and easiest to do business with will win.

Leave a Reply

More From Plant Culture...
Status of Marijuana US Map May 2015

May 29, 2015

Marijuana Legalization Updates

As of April 2015, 23 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some capacity. At the federal level, several bills are currently awaiting action. Here is an update on current state and federal marijuana legislation across the U.S.

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

May 29, 2015

Making The Decision To Produce Medical Marijuana

Should horticultural growers consider cultivating medical marijuana? That’s up to the individual grower, of course, and certainly a number of growers already have jumped in. We at Meister Media Worldwide, publishers of Greenhouse Grower and American Vegetable Grower, do not necessarily endorse nor oppose the production of medical marijuana. But we do feel it is an option worth exploring. We intend our “Medical Marijuana” series of articles to give you information you need to make your own call. We hope you find it useful, and we do welcome your comments, thoughts and ideas as we continue to cover what we’re fairly certain is only going to be an increasingly viable and growing market for this emerging crop.

Read More
Double Whammy Merchandise Display At CAST2015

May 28, 2015

Grow Inspiration To Grow The Horticulture Industry

We need to work together as the horticulture industry to inspire and instruct consumers with our plant knowledge and marketing expertise.

Read More
Latest Stories
Bee on a Sedum

March 17, 2015

4 Key Pollinator Research Projects To Be Funded By Hort…

The Horticultural Research Institute will grant $125,000 in financial support for four key projects as part of the Horticultural Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. The Initiative has three primary goals. First, to convene a task force to develop a bee and pollinator stewardship program, including creation of best management practices for plant production. Second, to identify and fund research that will help answer key science questions and fill gaps needed to design and refine the stewardship program. Third, to seek to positively position the horticultural community and its customers by collaborating with other compatible groups interested in augmenting pollinator habitat and protection.

Read More

March 11, 2015

Pollinator Initiative Promotes Bee-Friendly Talking Poi…

AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists are working tirelessly with the ornamental industry's Pollinator Stewardship Initiative on a number of new projects.

Read More

February 11, 2015

Infusion Technology Boosts Seed Performance, Study Sugg…

Seven-year-old wheat seed germination can increase by as much as 83 percent, according to a Vital Force Technology Study that looks at the effects of energy infusion technology on plant vitality.

Read More

February 3, 2015

American Floral Endowment Accepting Research Pre-Propos…

If you are pursuing a floriculture research project, now is the time to apply for funding through the American Floral Endowment. Research pre-proposal applications for 2015-2016 funding are due to AFE by June 1, 2015.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Marijuana’s Trajectory And Ascent To Horticultural Cr…

Marijuana growing is poised for change as growers and researchers focus on improving production practices.

Read More

December 9, 2014

Greenhouse Production: Two Years Of Basics & Beyond…

Greenhouse Grower's Basics & Beyond articles cover some of the latest news and research going on in greenhouse production. Here are article links for the last two years.

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

November 24, 2014

GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile &…

The social garden app GrowIt! takes the Gold Winner award at the design100 2014 Mobile & App Design Awards.

Read More

November 10, 2014

The Perennial Farm Joins HGTV HOME Plant Collection

The Perennial Farm joins the HGTV HOME Plant Collection growers' network for 2015.

Read More

November 4, 2014

AmericanHort Publishes Revised American Standard For Nu…

AmericanHort announces the revised American Standard for Nursery Stock (ANSI Z60.1) is now available for industry use. The Standard reflects the consensus of the industry regarding how nursery stock — living plants other than annuals — should be specified and sold within the trade.

Read More

September 26, 2014

Master The Art Of Watering

Watering is elemental to healthy plants, but one of the hardest concepts for new employees to master in the greenhouse. Recommend these tips to start them off right.

Read More

September 16, 2014

Ball FloraPlant’s Las Limas Facility Provides Gro…

Ball FloraPlant’s Las Limas farm in Esteli, Nicaragua, is one year away from full production, but sales and quality from the two-year-old facility are right on track.

Read More
Erysimum 'Cheers' from Darwin Perennials

September 15, 2014

Darwin Perennials Takes Production Offshore In Bogota, …

With its recent purchase of a farm in Colombia, Darwin Perennials is ready to amp up supply of its perennial genetics, to provide growers with tried-and-true varieties and comprehensive production specifications.

Read More

July 23, 2014

Plan Now To Prevent Bract Edge Burn On Poinsettias

Reduce fertilizer and water, and allow your poinsettias to develop slowly during the final four weeks of production to avoid bract edge burn.

Read More

July 11, 2014

Growing Your Crops Above Their Base Temperature

Lowering temperature set points in the greenhouse may help you combat rising heating costs.

Read More

May 1, 2014

Growers Report Nutritional Problems On Geraniums

In recent weeks, several growers have contacted Michigan State University Specialists about leaf discoloration on geraniums, especially the purpling of lower leaves.

Read More

April 22, 2014

How Two Postharvest Care Products Worked On Potted Plan…

What your potted plants look like at retail translates to sales or fails. North Carolina State University researchers report on how two postharvest care products performed.

Read More
Dianthus 'Passion' from Emerald Coast Growers

March 27, 2014

Growing Dianthus Successfully

Here's some advice on transplanting and producing this classic perennial favorite.

Read More
Aquilegia canadensis

March 10, 2014

Tips For Producing Aquilegia

Advice on planting, temperature, vernalization, lighting and more on columbine from Emerald Coast Growers' head grower Josiah Raymer.

Read More