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Wendy A. Nelson, Brian A. Kahn and B. Warren Roberts

Several prospective cover crops were sown into 1-m2 monoculture plots on 9 Mar. 1987 and 10 Mar. 1988 at Bixby, Okla., and on 14 Mar. 1988 at Lane, Okla., after sites were plowed and fitted. Densities and dry weights of cover crops and weeds were determined in late April or early May of both years. Plots also were evaluated for degree of kill by glyphosate in 1988. Fourteen cover crops were screened at Bixby in 1987. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and three fescues (Festuca rubra L., Festuca rubra L. var. commutata Gaud.-Beaup., and Festuca elatior L.) were eliminated from further consideration due to inadequate cover density and inability to suppress weeds. Screenings of the 10 remaining covers were conducted at both locations in 1988. Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) and three small grains [rye (Secale cereale L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)] were the most promising cover crops with respect to cover density, competitiveness against weeds, and degree of kill by glyphosate. Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) were the most promising legumes, but they generally were less satisfactory than the grassy covers in all tested aspects. A single application of glyphosate was ineffective in killing hairy vetch at both locations. Chemical name used: N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine (glyphosate).

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Chris Frank, Eric Simonne, Robert Nelson, Amarat Simonne and Bridget Behe

Most bell peppers produced and consumed in the United States are green in color. However, red, yellow, orange, brown, white, black, and purple bell pepper are also available. While bell pepper consumption has been increasing in the past 10 years, limited information is available on how color, retail price, and vitamin C influence consumer behavior. A conjoint analysis of 436 consumer responses showed that color (75%) and retail price (23%) were more important than vitamin C (3%) in shaping consumer purchase decision. Six consumer segments were identified. Segments II to V preferred green bell pepper, while segments I and VI favored the orange and brown color, respectively. Demographic variables were not good predictors of segment membership. However, previous purchases of bell pepper significantly affected the probability of membership in at least one segment. These results suggest that while green is the preferred color, a market exists for orange, red, and yellow peppers. Results on price sensitivity suggest that profits at the retail level are likely to increase by increasing the price of green peppers, and decresing that of the colored ones.

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Robert G. Nelson, Benjamin L. Campbell, Robert C. Ebel and William A. Dozier Jr.

This article reviews the results of 5 years of marketing research on Alabama satsumas and makes recommendations for future progress. Although there are only 28 ha of satsuma orchards in production in Alabama at this time, there are a number of encouraging developments that suggest considerable potential for expanding the industry such as microsprinkler freeze protection, new early-maturing and cold-tolerant varieties, contract sales through the Farm-to-School Program, and rising demand for premium mandarins. Prospects for the industry marketing effort are considered from the perspectives of analyzing marketing opportunities, identifying market segments, selecting attractive target markets, designing marketing strategies, planning marketing programs, and managing the continuing marketing effort. A number of distinct consumer segments have been identified, including one that prefers fruit that is still slightly green and another that prefers a longer shelf life. A peeled-and-sectioned product also appears to have considerable market potential. Name recognition is still a problem as is insipid flavor from fruit that is marketed beyond its optimal ripeness. Needs for the future are detailed and include the needs of the commodity (freeze protection and expanded acreage), the needs of the market (consistency and quality), the needs of the product (quality standards and consumer awareness), the need for and the needs of a brand (recognition and equity potential), the needs of an organization (cooperation and leadership), and the needs of the industry (processes for building equity, forestalling competition, reducing supply shocks, and attracting investment).

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Benjamin L. Campbell, Robert G. Nelson, Robert C. Ebel and William A. Dozier

For most grocery stores, external quality standards require that premium mandarins be orange, unblemished, and large. Thus, for consumers to differentiate among the premium mandarins on any dimension other than price, additional positioning attributes must be evaluated. This study considered consumer preferences for price ($2.18/kg, $4.39/kg, or $15.41/kg), packaging (1.36 kg of loose fruit, 1.36-kg bag, 2.27-kg box, or 0.23-kg clamshell with peeled fruit sections), type of mandarin (clementine, satsuma, tangerine), shelf life from the day of purchase (3, 14, or 31 days), and vitamin C content (with or without a label stating high in vitamin C). A conjoint survey was conducted in four grocery stores located in Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala. In total, 289 respondents used a 7-point intention-to-buy scale to rate photographs of 16 product profiles. Six market segments were identified, based on maximal similarity of preferences within each segment and maximal differences between segments. A simulation was conducted of the effect that an introduction of peeled-and-sectioned satsumas would have on the market share and gross revenue of other mandarins. This product showed great potential, but should be offered in a product mix that includes the loose form as well. Labeling for vitamin C was preferred by all segments, but did not contribute much to the intention-to-buy rating. Awareness and recognition of satsumas needs to be addressed in promotional campaigns. The longest shelf life was the first choice of almost half the respondents.

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Benjamin L. Campbell, Robert G. Nelson, Robert C. Ebel, William A. Dozier, John L. Adrian and Brandon R. Hockema

Satsuma mandarins (Citrus unshiu) have been produced intermittently along the Gulf Coast for over a century. However, very little is known about the market potential for this citrus fruit in today's consumer markets. This study evaluated consumer preferences for seven external attributes over a range of levels: price ($1.07, $2.18, or $4.39/kg), color (green-yellow, yellow-orange, or orange), size (5.08, 6.35, or 7.62 cm in diameter), seediness (0, 3, or 7 seeds), blemishes (0, 1.91, or 3 cm in diameter), production region label (Alabama or U.S.A.), and organic production (yes or no). Consumers from grocery stores in nine cities in Alabama and Georgia were asked to evaluate 20 photographs of various combinations of these attribute levels using a seven-point intention-to-buy scale. 605 useable surveys were collected and a conjoint analysis was conducted to determine the strength of preference for the attribute levels and the relative importance for attributes. Three consumer segments were identified by cluster analysis of strengths of preferences: the no-blemish segment (37% of sample), the price-sensitive segment (23% of sample), and the no-seeds segment (41% of sample). A multinomial logit analysis identified several demographic, socioeconomic, and usage variables as significant determinants of segment membership.

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Christopher A. Frank, Robert G. Nelson, Eric H. Simonne, Bridget K. Behe and Amarat H. Simonne

Most bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) produced and consumed are green. However, yellow, red, orange, white, black, and purple bell peppers are also available. While bell pepper consumption in the United States has been increasing in the past 10 years, limited information is available on how their color, retail price, and vitamin C content influence consumer preferences. A conjoint analysis of 435 consumer responses showed that, for the total sample, color was about three times more important than retail price in shaping consumers' purchase decisions, while vitamin C content was nearly irrelevant. Six distinct consumer segments were identified through cluster analysis. Four segments favored green peppers, while one segment favored yellow and one favored brown. Demographic variables generally were not good predictors of segment membership, but several behavioral variables, such as past bell pepper purchases, were significantly related to segment membership. While green is generally the preferred color, market segments exist for orange, red, yellow, and even brown peppers. Applications to marketing strategies suggested that price sensitivity could explain why green peppers were priced individually, but those of other colors were priced by weight, and that promotion of increased vitamin C content would be most effective if associated specifically with yellow and orange peppers.

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Bridget Behe, Robert Nelson, Susan Barton, Charles Hall, Steve Turner and Charles Safley

Consumers in five U.S. markets evaluated photographs of geranium plants with regard to purchase likelihood. Photographic images were colored electronically to produce uniform geranium plants with five flower colors (pink, white, red, lavender, and blue) and three leaf variegation patterns (dark zone, white zone, and no zonal pattern). Photographs were mounted on cards with five selected price points ranging from ($1.39 to $2.79). We randomly generated an orthogonal array, partial-factorial design for consumers to rate a reduced number of choices. Consumers shopping in cooperating garden centers located in Dallas, Texas; Montgomery, Ala.; Athens, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Wilmington, Dela., rated 25 photographs on the basis of their likelihood to purchase the plants shown. Conjoint analysis revealed that customers in the Georgia garden center placed the highest proportion of their decision to buy on leaf variegation (29%), while customers in the Alabama outlet placed the most emphasis on price (46% of the decision). Shoppers in Texas valued flower color most highly (58% of their decision to buy). Demographic characteristics and past purchase behavior also varied widely, suggesting diverse marketing strategies for geraniums.

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Bridget Behe, Robert Nelson, Susan Barton, Charles Hall, Charles D. Safley and Steven Turner

Researchers often investigate consumer preferences by examining variables consecutively, rather than simultaneously. Conjoint analysis facilitates simultaneous investigation of multiple variables. Cluster analysis facilitates development of actionable market segments. Our objective was to identify relative importance and consumer preferences for flower color, leaf variegation, and price of geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bail.) and to identify several actionable market segments. We also evaluated the desirability of a hypothetical blue geranium. Photographic images were digitized and manipulated to produce plants similar in flower area, but varying in flower color (red, lavender, pink, white, and blue), leaf variegation (plain green, dark green zone, and white zone), and price ($1.39 to $2.79). Conjoint analysis revealed that flower color was the primary consideration in the purchase decision, followed by leaf variegation and price. A cluster analysis that excluded blue geraniums yielded four actionable consumer segments. When preferences for the blue geranium were included, six consumer segments were identified.

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Brad G. Howlett, Samantha F.J. Read, Maryam Alavi, Brian T. Cutting, Warrick R. Nelson, Robert M. Goodwin, Sarah Cross, Trevor G. Thorp and David E. Pattemore

Macadamia is partially self-incompatible and cross-pollination is considered important to improve yields. However, questions remain regarding the importance of self- vs. cross-pollination, and subsequently whether managed pollinators are useful in commercial orchards. Pollinators play a key role in cross-pollination, but for self-pollination, the protandrous florets might also benefit from the movement of potentially more viable self-pollen among florets, racemes, and trees through pollinator movement. There is also a lack of information on pollination deficits throughout orchards and whether by increasing the intensity of cross-pollination, final nut yield is limited by within-tree resource allocation. Using caged and bagged racemes on three cultivars, we found strong evidence for self-pollination, but no evidence that hand moving self-pollen within racemes, between racemes, or between trees improved final nut set. In all cases, hand cross-pollinated racemes yielded significantly more nuts. Hand cross-pollinated racemes also produced significantly more developed nuts than open-pollinated racemes (all racemes were exposed to pollinators). However, by increasing the intensity of hand cross-pollination per tree, we showed that resource allocation probably overinflates these measures of pollination deficit in macadamia. Despite this, our findings point to an opportunity to increase yields through additional cross-pollination, as high-intensity hand cross-pollination of flowering racemes within trees still resulted in increased nut set. Although self-pollination can occur in macadamia, to optimize yield potential, strategies to maximize cross-pollination should be adopted.