Young plant growers aim to expand in 2012

Several growers exhibiting at Four Oaks revealed plans to build new facilities to boost production amid increased demand.

Growers have expressed confidence in the market despite the stagnant economy - image: HW
Growers have expressed confidence in the market despite the stagnant economy - image: HW

Young plant growers are optimistic about sales in the coming year, with many planning expansions.

A number of growers exhibiting at the Four Oaks Trade Show this week said they thought they would see some increase in demand and some are building new facilities to increase production.

Kernock Park Plants is one nursery undergoing expansion through investment in a major new glasshouse.

Business development manager Mark Taylor said: "We're putting up 5,000sq m of glass and plants should be in there by Christmas. This shows our confidence in the market."

Seiont Nurseries is also expanding by becoming the UK agent for Dutch company Van Vliet New Plants. Nursery manager Neil Alcock said: "We'll be responsible for the introduction and development of new varieties.

"We produce 1.5 million plants a year. You can always produce more, but you have to watch the margins with plants - it's easy to produce more and make less. This relationship with Van Vliet adds another dimension."

He added: "Physical plant production will be the same next year, but we're expanding in a different way. We're reasonably up on orders and it's going in the right direction - I'm optimistic."

Young Plants managing director Alex Newey said the future looked good for the business, despite the current financial climate.

"We're expecting double-digit growth next year. I don't think that reflects a general trend, but more our position in the market.

"Things have not been easy for growers, and there are still economic problems. For example, high fuel prices mean it's expensive moving things around the country.

"We've gone through a lot of changes in the business. We are not sure how impatiens sales are going to be next year, but we've done a lot of work on new varieties, so we have some interesting products to fill the gap."

Stuart Lowen of Ball Colegrave said: "It's still early days to say how things will be. We've just launched our new catalogue and we're talking to people about the next season. Some ranges, such as tomatoes and peppers, are doing well and we will be upping production of these."

Industry View

"It's looking okay, but it's early to say. Our big sales period in October and November is coming up so we're waiting to see how that goes, but it's looking good and nobody's saying it's a disaster. Autumn sales were down, but that can be explained by changes in the market such as the B&Q consolidation, and overall sales have been stagnant. But we're confident that things will go well."

Mark Taylor, business development manager, Kernock Park Plants.

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