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- Author or Editor: W. Timothy Rhodus x
A controlled pricing experiment was conducted in three rural and three urban supermarkets as a means of identifying consumer preferences for fresh flower bouquets. Impacts on consumer demand due to type of bouquet, location of store, day of week, and selling price were analyzed. Rural and urban consumers were found to exhibit different preferences for bouquets. Sales patterns throughout the week exhibited slack sales on Monday through Thursday, followed by a sharp increase on Friday through Sunday. Consumer demand for bouquets can be characterized as price-elastic.
A survey of bachelor degree programs in the United States indicated that horticultural enrollment declined 4.4% between 1986 and 1988. Programs that increased enrollment (39% of those responding) were more likely to use various recruitment materials and activities than were those with declining or no change in enrollment (48% and 13%, respectively). Supply of students and time required to recruit were most often reported as high priority issues. The percentage of new majors recently graduated from high school had declined in 43% of the programs, but increases were reported in students age 22 and above, no prior horticultural experience, and interested in a part-time program. Both the direct approach, open house or personal visit, and the indirect approach, students and alumni promoting the program, were reported as effective recruitment activities.
The use of micro-computer programs as a management teaching aid has enabled horticulture students to understand economic relationships involved in the production of apples (2, 3), strawberries (4), and selected greenhouse crops (7). By incorporating uncertainty about final crop yield and selling price, these models can be used to generate information about the relative “riskiness” of crop production, where risk is measured by the probability that total revenue will exceed total costs (1, 8). The objective of this research was to develop a micro-computer model that would assist students and/or producers in understanding the economic relationships between yield and price variability and overall risk.
Quality is extremely important to the processors of horticultural and agricultural commodities. It is important from the standpoint of producing high-quality end-products as well as resulting in lower costs and higher profits. However, producers of commodities receive few benefits from the production of higher quality for several reasons. One important reason is that producers lack information about the qualities processors require. In addition, producers are uninformed of the end-user quality their crops manifest. Presently, little incentive exists for producers to improve quality, other than that provided by USDA Grades and Standards. Using experimental economics, empirical evidence is provided demonstrating that increased awareness of crop quality requirements of processors by producers influences market efficiency, pricing efficiency, and crop quality management strategies of producers.
Internships are becoming an increasingly used mechanism of providing undergraduates with experience in their chosen profession before job placement, and potential employers view internships favorably in making hiring decisions. Many horticulture programs require internships as part of their curricula, while others are considering the option. Because internship opportunities in horticulture have been compiled in a wide variety of discipline-specific resources with no central, inclusive “clearinghouse,” students often overlook potential opportunities, particularly those outside of their home state, leaving some industry members without interns. The internet-based database of internships developed jointly by Virginia Tech and Ohio State will be discussed within the context of being a resource for all horticulture programs. Other schools will be shown how to contribute to and to use the database so its national scope can be fully used and expanded.
A focus group was conducted to ascertain the attitudes and behaviors of wholesale floriculture greenhouse growers toward the use of computers for marketing purposes. The focus group consisted of nine individuals from nine different wholesale greenhouses in the Greater Cleveland - Lorain area. The greenhouses were selected according to their sizes which ranged from one-half acre of production under cover up to 70 acres. Each individual was either the owner of the greenhouse operation or charged with the marketing function in that company. The study was conducted for the purposes of identifying possible factors related to the speed of adoption of computer technology for marketing purposes and its possible future course within the wholesale greenhouse industry. Variables that were identified from the focus group study were tested using a national survey.
In 1981, four apple cultivars were established as a low trellis hedgerow on 11.9 or free-standing central leaders on 11.7 at the recommended or half the recommended spacing with the close planted trees either root pruned or hedged. The trellis had a higher trunk area (TCA)/ha (31%), yield/ha (41%) and tree efficiency (19%). `Lawspur Rome Beauty' had the highest TCA/ha, cumulative yield/ha and greatest tendency toward biennial bearing of the 4 cvs. `Smoothee Golden Delicious' trees in the central leader system were less efficient (kg/cm2) than in the trellis system. Hedging increased cumulative yield/ha compared to standard spaced trees with root pruned trees intermediate. Training trees to the trellis increased the density of both spurs and shoots and resulted in a higher leaf area index. Central leader trees of `Smoothee' and `Red Chief' had higher light transmission levels than the trellis, while the trellis trees had higher light levels with `Lawspur'. Return over total cost was negative for years 1-10 for all systems. Cumulative NPV for `Redchief' hedged on central leader equaled `Lawspur' at the standard spacing on trellis and exceeded all other combinations.
Annual mechanical hedging in August or root pruning at bloom was used to control the growth of four apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivars in two orchard systems planted at half the recommended in-row spacing. Trunk cross-sectional area (TCA) per hectare on the trellis system was 30% higher, a result that correlated (r = 0.80) to a 40% higher cumulative yield per hectare over 10 years compared to the central leader system. Over 10 years, the cumulative yield and TCA per hectare of `Smoothee Golden Delicious', `Empire', and `Redchief Delicious' were higher in the trellis than the central leader system, while these characteristics of `Lawspur Rome Beauty' were not influenced by orchard system. `Lawspur' had the highest TCA per hectare, cumulative yield per hectare, and greatest tendency toward biennial bearing of the four cultivars. Root pruning reduced all tree-size measurements, while hedging did not influence tree height or average shoot length. Yield and yield per TCA were reduced by hedging and root pruning, with the greatest reduction in yield caused by root pruning. Hedging increased cumulative yield per hectare with root-pruned trees intermediate between hedged standard-spaced trees. Trellis trees had a higher density of spurs and shoots and a higher leaf area index than trees on the central leader system. An evaluation of the treatment combinations using net present value analysis indicated that none of the treatments was a profitable investment. Of the top twelve treatments, as evaluated for 10 years, nine were the central leader and three the trellis system, with none of the trellis and only four of the central leader treatments being hedged or root-pruned. Results of this study indicate that orchard intensification is accomplished best by choosing appropriate planting distances and not by attempting to control growth mechanically on trees planted too close for optimum performance.
Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivars Lawspur Rome Beauty (a terminal bearer), Smoothee Golden Delicious, and Redchief Delicious (a spur-type) on MM. 106 or MM.111 were planted as whips or feathered trees (branched during their initial year of growth in the nursery) with the feathers pruned or unpruned. During the first year of growth, feathered trees of ‘Lawspur’ made more new growth than trees planted as whips, and pruning the feathered trees further increased new growth. The branching status of trees at planting had no influence on the first year growth of ‘Redchief’ and ‘Smoothee’. Following the second growing season, feathered trees of ‘Lawspur’ and ‘Smoothee’ had increased trunk cross-sectional areas, but those of ‘Redchief’ were not significantly increased. In the third season, feathered trees of ‘Lawspur’ and ‘Smoothee’ produced higher yields than trees planted as whips. Feathered trees of ‘Smoothee’, left unpruned at planting, had higher yields than trees with the feathers pruned; however, the opposite was true with ‘Lawspur’. Average shoot growth of trees on MM. 106, planted as whips, was longer than on MM.111; however, the opposite was true with feathered trees. Total growth/tree on MM.111 was increased for feathered trees, but there was no effect of initial branching status on growth of trees on MM. 106. Calculation of present values indicated positive economic benefits resulting from planting feathered trees of both ‘Lawspur’ and ‘Smoothee’. There was no positive economic return generated by any of the treatments on ‘Redchief’ or ‘Smoothee’ planted as whips after 4 years of growth.