SHORT CUTS

MODERATE GROWTH FORECAST FOR UPCOMING MODEL YEAR

Following uneven growth for some products during the current model year (September 2003-August 2004), the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI) Econometric Forecast Model for consumer and commercial turf products, revised in July 2004, forecasts moderate growth during the 2005 model year.

In 2004, an expansionary monetary policy continues to accommodate and even stimulate growth. New job growth will also bolster consumer confidence and consumption. OPEI's forecast assumes a 4.6 percent jump in real Gross Domestic Products (GDP) for 2004, and continued growth through 2005 with a 4.1 expansion. This growth in GDP for 2004 is the largest seen in the past 10 years. The Federal Reserve will continue to try to regulate inflation by gradually increasing interest rates over the next 18 months.

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However, the housing sector, including new housing starts and existing single family home sales, will turn negative during the second half of 2004. For next year, housing activity is expected to contract below the 2004 level.

Walk-behind power mower shipments exploded during the first half of MY 2004 (September 2003-February 2004) and have remained strong over the past four months. Walk-behind shipments are forecast to increase by 7.5 percent for MY 2004. Continued positive but slower growth is expected during MY 2005.

Shipments of all consumer riders combined (rear engines, lawn tractors and garden tractors) also accelerated during September through February, and this trend has continued this year. Shipments are expected to finish the model year ahead of the MY 2003 level. For MY 2005, the forecast calls for reduced growth of 1.7 percent of all consumer riders, compared with the current model year.

Two good years are forecast for commercial turf intermediate walkers increasing in both MY 2004 and 2005. Commercial turf riding mowers will rise in MY 2004 nearing a 30 percent gain and will soar again in MY 2005 with another double digit increase, achieving a significant milestone for this product in number of units shipped. Recently much of the growth in the commercial turf riding mower category has been in zero-turn radius products and that is expected to continue over the next few years.

LAWN AND GARDEN CONSUMABLE SALES TO REACH $7.5 BILLION

U.S. demand for packaged lawn and garden consumables, which include fertilizers, pesticides, growing media, seeds, mulch, and other related products, is expected to grow 4.5 percent per year to $7.5 billion in 2008. Growth will be led by fertilizers, mulch and growing media, all of which will continue to post healthy annual gains of around six percent. These three segments are benefiting from the growing consumer trend favoring value added products such as rubber mulch, colored mulch and premium soils. These and other trends are presented in Lawn & Garden Consumables, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based market research firm.

COLORADO DROUGHT LEADS TO LANDSCAPE JOB LOSS

According to a Colorado State University (CSU) study, Colorado lost about 2,000 landscape industry jobs between 2002 and 2003 — all due to the tremendous drought that has plagued the state. Colorado's green industry contributes more than $1.7 billion in annual sales to the state's economy and provides more than 34,000 full-time jobs.

COLORADO DROUGHT LEADS TO LANDSCAPE JOB LOSS

According to a Colorado State University (CSU) study, Colorado lost about 2,000 landscape industry jobs between 2002 and 2003 — all due to the tremendous drought that has plagued the state. Colorado's green industry contributes more than $1.7 billion in annual sales to the state's economy and provides more than 34,000 full-time jobs.

For more information on the Colorado State study, go to www.greenco.org. GreenCo (Green Industries of Colorado) represents Colorado's associations for the green industries and CSU Cooperative Extension.

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