Peat shortage threatens as demand soars on back of grow-your-own boom

Peat demand is high after the grow-your-own boom reached unprecedented levels last week and Scotts and Westland are urging garden centres to get Easter orders in now.

Garden centres are reporting 100% growth in GYO products and there are fears of growing media shortages because many centres have ordered cautiously due to cash flow problems and because there was a poor harvest in summer 2008.

Scotts representative John Clowes said: "Demand for Miracle-Gro and Levington composts is high, although we have produced plenty of stock ready for the surge in demand for grow-your-own.

"We're currently well set as we anticipated more consumer demand as soon as the sun started shining. Our project-led promotional initiatives such as Grow Your Own Sunday Roast and Grow your Own Pizza have been well received and we are benefiting from the surge in demand for home grown potatoes.

"Garden centres are making some great displays of potato sets and our new Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potato Gro-Sac and other composts. We just need the repeat orders to shift the stock."

Clowes added: "We are collaborating with our retailers to ensure they have plans in place to enable them to be fully stocked leading up to Easter. All we would ask is that orders are placed early rather than the week before Easter."

Westland technical director Jamie Robinson said the company has no peat supply issues because it uses peat-reduced mixes and does not import Baltic peats.  

But Robinson said: "Our concerns would be that this year we will see an increasing use of composted green waste and that this, together with the high fertiliser prices, will see an increase in quality issues that became noticeable last year.  This has always caused problems with consumer confidence in the peat-reduced and peat-free products.

"There will be pressure on stores to re-stock from what were fairly low levels, which will put pressure on logistics but we see this as manageable."


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