BEDDING AND GARDEN PLANTS DRIVE UP NURSERY CROPS OUTLOOK

Despite relatively healthy growth of the U.S. economy, sales prospects for ornamental crops in 2005 are modest. A two-percent gain for all greenhouse and nursery sales is projected following 1.3 percent growth in 2004. Higher energy and gasoline prices in the third quarter of 2005 dampened consumer spending on discretionary goods such as ornamental crops, and sales declines are projected for cut flowers and cut cultivated greens and no growth for indoor foliage plants. Largely responsible for the 2.3-percent gain in floriculture crop receipts in 2005 are the continued strong sales for bedding and garden plants.

Although sales of greenhouse and nursery crops in 2004 were stronger for growers in the Midwest and Northeast compared to in the South or West, a more even growth distribution between regions is anticipated in 2005 since sales in all four U.S. regions are driven lately by bedding and garden annuals and herbaceous perennials. Half of total floriculture sales in 2005 are from bedding and garden plants compared with 44 percent in 2000. The share of these crops in total grower sales is larger in the Midwest and Northeast than in the South and West, but the gap is narrowing.

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Floriculture sales per acre of total production area averaged nearly $135,000 for producers in the Midwest in 2004, followed by $112,000 in the Northeast. In the South and West average sales per acre were lower at $82,500 and $88,500, respectively.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture

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