What is the state of the industry in 2012? What are the challenges? Are growers confident in the markets this year?
A new industry resource that helps answer those questions has made its debut with this issue.
Anecdotally, the greenhouse sector in Canada is doing “OK.” That’s a gut feeling from talking to growers, suppliers and other specialists throughout the year.
A well-established resource is the Greenhouse, Sod and Nursery Industries report from Statistics Canada, released every spring. From the 2010 report, we know that:
The total size of the industry was 22.9 million square metres, up from 22.4 million square metres in 2009.
Total sales rose by three per cent to some $2.5 billion, largely led by the veg sector (up by 10 per cent, compared to a decline in flowers and plants of 1.8 per cent).
Now for something new. Within the issue, and heralded by our cover story, is our first annual Grower Survey, something we hope will complement the StatsCan report with more direct grower input on key issues, along with some crystal ball gazing.
The survey was done in-house, with fine-tuning from a handful of growers who reviewed our original questions. It was circulated to our 2,569 e-newsletter registrants beginning last fall. Some 111 growers participated, a 4.3 per cent response rate. We can build on those numbers.
Overall, there’s considerable optimism by growers – some will be expanding this year, others have new equipment and systems in mind, and many expect to sell more this year.
While 28 per cent of respondents said they had no change in sales between 2010 and 2011, some 23 per cent had increases of between five and 10 per cent, 14 per cent had increases of more than 10 per cent, and 11 per cent posted gains of five per cent or less. (Some 11 per cent had a sales decrease of between five and 10 per cent, and six per cent had decreases of less than five per cent.)
Even more impressive is the optimism for 2012. Two-thirds of growers are budgeting for sales increases this year, some eyeing increases of more than 10 per cent.
As for construction plans, about a third of respondents are planning to build this year, including some projects of over 100,000 square feet.
Biological controls are more popular, with 31 per cent of growers saying they increased their usage last year. Only 20 per cent said they don’t use biocontrols, but we’re sure that number will change.
Our Grower Survey will be fine-tuned next year to encourage a higher response rate. The greater the participation, the more effective the data. The information received is all anonymous, the data aggregated into charts. This was not a scientific survey, but more a snapshot of industry trends. Over time, and with your anonymous support, it will become a key industry forecasting tool.