An optimistic year

Growers have enjoyed fairly stable sales again this year, according to Greenhouse Management’s research. Only 10% of growers expect decreased sales by year’s end, with 62% expecting an uptick, and 28% projecting flat sales. In contrast, in 2011, 37% of growers reported decreased sales over the prior three years. In 2017, 32% of growers projected revenue increases of at least 10%, while in 2011, that number was only 13%. Profits have also remained stable over the past few years, with 88% of businesses turning a profit this year. Although 28% percent of growers expect flat sales and 41% didn’t raise plant prices this year, they’re still finding ways to be profitable. It’s always interesting to look back several years to see how growers’ perspectives have changed in that time. While we’ve had a bit of fluctuation in the past six years, growers’ confidence in the industry’s growth is much stronger now than it was back in 2011, when a whopping 47% said they were “not confident at all” regarding 2012 growth. This year, only 4% chose that answer, and only 14% total were less than “somewhat confident.” In other words, 86% of growers are at least “somewhat confident” in the industry’s next 12 months.

Renewed focus on annuals

Annuals/bedding color beat out edible crop transplants as the top crop being produced for the first time since 2015. Both edible crop transplants and finished produce were down slightly from previous years, which could be a sign that the edibles craze of the past several years has calmed. On average, their edibles production is 69% transplants and 31% finished produce. 41% of growers said that all of their edibles are transplants, while 12% reported that their edibles are all finished produce. Still, perennials have remained consistent as the third crop produced by more than half of growers. Patrick Williams takes a deeper look at perennials on page 36, including coverage from this year’s Perennial Plant Association Symposium in Denver.

Again this year, 27% of growers said they expected the biggest increase in 2017 production to be in annuals/bedding color. Perennials followed closely behind with 25%. Looking forward to 2018, growers said they plan to increase production in both of these categories. While 20% of growers are still planning to increase their edible crop transplant production, that percentage has been trending down in recent years; each year there are fewer growers planning increases. We also saw a small uptick in growers planning to increase production of cannabis and cut flowers in 2018.

Karen is editor of sister publication Greenhouse Management magazine. Greenhouse Management’s State of the Industry Report was published in October 2017.