You’re likely to see more construction work going on in the greenhouse industry in 2015, according to Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 State of the Industry survey. Responses show growers have high hopes for the future, which may be one reason why more of them are looking to spruce up their facilities. Of the 337 growers who responded to the survey, 42 percent indicated they will upgrade existing structures or build new ones in 2015, a figure that is slightly up from 37 percent in the 2014 survey.
While some growers anticipate adding more structures to increase indoor growing space and expanding square footage for seasonal crops, others indicate they will concentrate on upgrades and general maintenance. What projects are they planning for 2015?
Replace Worn Out Plastic Coverings
For some growers in the survey, it is time to replace worn out poly. One grower said he will replace glass with a plastic covering on some roofs and sidewalls. Another says new wet walls and poly will complete the package on five acres of greenhouses.
“I have some houses that need new polycarbonate,” said a grower. “I am also looking at replacing old heaters with more energy efficient ones.”
Convert To Cost-Effective Heating
Keeping energy costs low concerns the growers surveyed, with 37 percent saying energy is placing the biggest financial burden on their businesses. To offset the cost, growers intend to swap out old heaters in favor of energy-efficient models. One grower said he plans to convert to forced heat and bottom heat capability, while another will install more reliable heating, as well as a better ventilation system.
Upgrade And Maintain Systems And Equipment
Growers commented that 2015 projects will likely include needed upgrades and general maintenance. Proposed upgrades they mentioned include:
- redo signage inside and outside the nursery
- renovate a retail facility
- modernize current huts for better efficiency
- upgrade to a retractable greenhouse roof
- replace old wood shade houses for steel structures
- update critical greenhouse equipment and outdated systems
- add flood floors
- improve water sanitation system
- add more fertilizer injectors
- replace old quonsets with some new gutter-connect
Improvements Needed, Funding A Challenge
Growers often look to make small improvements each year, or at the very least, maintain the status quo. With other competing needs like production and labor costs, finding the capital for general maintenance and building projects isn’t always an easy task.
“Specific projects have not been identified as of yet, but we are always looking to improve something every year,” said a grower. “It is getting tougher as the cost of health insurance and minimum wage increases are eating up profits.”
Other growers may have similar challenges, while 42 percent said they had plans to retrofit or build new, 21 percent of the survey participants say they have no plans to retrofit in 2015 even though a need exists.