from the editor: Industry feedback just a click away

January 11, 2010
Written by
Following in the esteemed footprints of The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian, which published the first opinion poll on July 24, 1824, Greenhouse Canada has been publishing regular polls on our website for the past few years.

Our online polls are hardly scientific, but they are fun and they can be fairly reflective of growers’ experiences.

One poll that attracted considerable attention asked the question: “Which of the following costs have increased the most for you over the past year?”

Not surprisingly, heating led the responses (32.9 per cent), followed by fertilizer (24.3 per cent), labour (18.6 per cent), and material handling (17.1 per cent). Facility/equipment upgrades (7.1 per cent) rounded out the voting.

Another poll asked whether growers had raised prices for 2009, and by how much. Some 44 per cent of respondents said they had boosted prices by between one and five per cent, while about a third said they had maintained 2008 prices. However, almost a quarter of the growers had increased their prices by between five and nine per cent – something many industry analysts would suggest is on track given rising input costs. We’ll pose the question again early in the new year, and I’m predicting more than half of the respondents – perhaps two-thirds or so – will say they are increasing prices by up to five per cent.

Related to the previous question, we asked about spring sales for 2009, and the results were quite positive. About 75 per cent of those responding recorded increases, and about half of those growers had increases of more than 10 per cent compared to the spring of 2008. It should be noted that those experiencing good spring seasons would be more apt to respond to the question. But in a general sense, the results reflect the comments I heard from many growers last spring.

Sampling a few other poll results:

 About two-thirds of growers have a website.
Growers are regularly using the Internet for industry-related research, as 13 per cent said they were browsing an hour or less each week, while about a quarter of respondents dedicated more than three hours on industry-related research each week.

About 46 per cent felt pest pressures in 2009 were less than they had experienced in 2008, while 18 per cent felt they were “much heavier.” 

Poinsettia production remained steady this year, with about half the respondents reporting no change in their numbers. No one said they had cut back.

We’re working to increase the number of online polls each month. The more responses received, the more accurate the result. We’re in no way suggesting they’re professionally done, only that they reflect the perceptions of those taking time to complete the survey.

Check the polls regularly to see if the results reflect your operations. And be sure to have a little fun with them.

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