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An Agronomic and Economic Profile
of Florida's Sod Industry in 2007
L.N. Satterthwaite, A.W. Hodges, J.J. Haydu and J.L. Cisar
*UF UNIVERSITY of
Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Food & Resource Economics Department
Mid-Florida Research and Education Center
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An Agronomic and Economic Profile of Florida's
Sod Industry in 2007
L.N. Satterthwaite, A.W. Hodges, J.J. Haydu and J.L. Cisar
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Apopka, FL,
Food and Resource Economics Department, Gainesville, FL,
Planet First Resources, Tampa, FL
and Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Information is presented on production, employment, marketing, product quality and price as a
result of a mail and internet survey of the Florida sod industry for the year 2007, the fifth in a
series of surveys since 1992. Total sod production in Florida was estimated to be 103,923 acres
in 2007. Fifty-one percent of Florida sod acreage was St. Augustinegrass of which 81 percent
was the Floratam variety, while Bahiagrass comprised 33 percent of sod in production and
bermudagrass and zoysiagrass were at 7 percent and 5 percent, respectively. The majority of sod
production was in central Florida. Harvested sod accounted for 60 percent of the sod in
production and small-sized farms harvested the highest percentage of their production acres
(72%). The in-field value for all varieties totaled $514 million, while harvested sod was valued
at $320 million, based on industry-average prices. Levels of mechanization increased for all
farm sizes and full-time employment decreased over the last three years for all farm sizes. The
survey showed that while 70 percent of all producers expected to maintain or increase current sod
production, some producers from every size group intended to decrease their sod production.
Total economic impacts of sod production in Florida, including multiplier effects for local supply
chain purchases and consumer spending by employee households, were estimated at $703 million
in output or sales revenues, $416 million in value added (personal and business net income), $22
million in indirect business taxes to state and local governments, and 5,633 jobs.
KEY WORDS: sod production, Florida, harvested sod, farm size, mechanization, farm income,
farm expenses, marketing, shipping, employment, economic impacts
Acknowledgements: This research was sponsored by a grant from the Florida Sod Growers
Cooperative, Labelle, FL. The authors wish to recognize the cooperation of the many Florida sod
grower firm owners and managers who responded to the survey and shared their information.
The economic impact analysis was conducted by Dr. Thomas J. Stevens at the University of
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A B STRA CT. .......... ........ ................ ............................. i
RESULTS. ................................................ 3
Business Tenure .......................................................... 3
Sod Area Grown and Harvested............... ................................. 3
Farm Size and Varietal Comparisons. ...................................... 5
Regional Production in Florida. ........................................... 6
Acres Harvested ............ ............................................ 6
Production of Specific Turfgrass Varieties. ................. ................. 9
Sod Prices and Harvest Value. ............................................. 11
Marketing ............ .................................................. 12
Harvesting ............ ............................................... 12
Shipping ............ ................................................. 13
Sod Distribution Channels ................. .............................. 13
Costs of Producing and Marketing Sod. ................. ..................... 14
Price Determination. .................................... .................. 16
Components of Farm Income ............................................... 17
Sod Quality................. .. ............................. ............ 18
Employment and Mechanization. ........................................... 19
Firm and Industry Problems .............................................. 20
ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE FLORIDA SOD INDUSTRY TO THE STATE... 23
CONCLUSIONS ............ ................................................ 26
REFERENCES ........... ................................................. 26
APPENDIX ....................................... ............ 27
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Number of survey respondents, production acreage reported in each size group and
calculated expansion factors, 2007 ................. ................... .. 3
Table 2. Total area of sod grown in Florida in 2007, by farm size and grass variety........... 5
Table 3. Total production share of sod grown in Florida from 1987 to 2007, by grass variety. .. 6
Table 4. Sod area harvested in Florida in 2007, by farm size and grass variety .............. 7
Table 5. Area of sod grown and harvested, by farm size, in 2007 ........................ 9
Table 6. St. Augustinegrass production in 2007, presented by farm size and grass varieties.. . 10
Table 7. Production acreage and share of varieties of major grass types grown in Florida in 2007
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0
Table 8. Sod farm acreage, percent harvested, price per square foot, and harvest value in Florida
in 2007 by major grass variety......................................... 11
Table 9. Average percent of total expenses per acre attributed to specific activities in 2007. .. 15
Table 10. Full-time, part-time, seasonal and total employment figures for various-sized sod
farms in 2007............. ......... ............................ 20
Table 11. Summary of economic contributions of the sod industry in Florida, 2007.......... 24
Table 12. Economic contributions of the Florida sod industry in 2007, by aggregate industry
group ............ ................................................. 25
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Types of grasses grown in Florida in 2007 as a percent of total production....... 4
Figure 2. Reported acres of sod production in various regions in Florida in 2007............ 7
Figure 3. Varietal percent shares of St. Augustinegrass total production in Florida in 2007 ..... 9
Figure 4. Sod roll, sod slabs and a truck loaded with sod ready for shipping................ 13
Figure 5. Depiction of to whom Florida sod producers sold their product in 2007 .......... 14
Figure 6. Considerations made by Florida sod producers in 2007 when determining the selling
price of sod ............. ........................................... 17
Figure 7. Partitioning of farm income by Florida sod producers in 2007.................. 18
Figure 8. Weighted responses of survey participants when asked about the three most important
problems faced by the respondent's business. .......................... 21
Figure 9. Weighted responses of survey participants when asked about the three most important
problems facing the sod industry. .................................... 22
An Agronomic and Economic Profile of Florida's
Sod Industry in 2007
L.N. Satterthwaite1, A.W. Hodges2, J.J. Haydu3 and J.L. Cisar4
Results of a comprehensive economic impact study of the environmental horticulture or
"green" industry in the United States in 2002 (Haydu et al., 2006) underscored the diversity and
magnitude of the sod industry. This study considered all aspects of the turfgrass industry -
including sod production, lawncare services, lawn and garden retail stores, lawn equipment
manufacturing and golf courses, a major industry that relies on managed turfgrass. Turfgrass
industry employment was 823,000 jobs, of which the sod production industry contributed about
17,000 (2%). Expressed in 2005 dollars, U.S. turf industry total output revenues were $57.9
billion (B), value added impacts were $35.1 B, labor income impacts were $23.0 B and indirect
business tax impacts to local and state governments were $2.4 B. Total employment impacts of
the turfgrass industry in Florida were 83,944 jobs, and value added impacts were $3.3 B, which
were second only to California in the U.S.
Florida remained the fourth most populous state in the U.S. with 18.2 million people in 2007
(Infoplease, 2008), but its growth rate has slowed to nearly one-half of that of four years ago
(American FactFinder, 2008). Coupled with the economic conditions facing most of the country
in 2007, this caused a decrease in the housing market in Florida
In 2008 the fifth in a series of University of Florida surveys on sod production and marketing
was completed. The purpose of this study was to provide sod businesses, allied firms, industry
leaders, university researchers and specialists, and state policy makers with current agronomic
and economic information on this important agricultural sector. This report begins with a
discussion of the methodology employed in the survey and then examines research findings in
the areas of production, employment, marketing, product quality/price information and perceived
firm- and industry-level problems. The report concludes with an analysis of the total economic
impacts of sod production in Florida.
1 Senior Statistician, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Apopka, FL, 2725 Binion Road, Apopka, FL
32703-8504, tel (407) 884-2034, fax (407) 814-6186, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Extension Scientist, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Food and Resource
Economics Department, Gainesville, FL 32611, tel (352) 392-1881, fax (352) 392-3646, email
3 Senior Partner, Planet First Resources, 10040 Brompton Dr., Tampa, Florida 33626, tel (352) 483-1052, email
4 Professor, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, tel (954) 475-8990, fax (954) 475-4125, email
The population of grower firms for the 'Florida Sod Production Survey-2007' was
constructed from several sources the Florida Turfgrass Association membership, members of
the Florida Sod Growers Cooperative, names provided by County Extension Agents, and a
compilation from previous lists of sod producers. The objectives were to develop as complete
and accurate a list as possible and to obtain information from a statistically representative sample
Due to the quantity of information requested, mail surveys were the instrument of choice;
however, because of previous requests, this year the survey was also presented on-line for those
who wished to complete it in that manner. Three mailings were conducted, at roughly two-
month intervals beginning in March 2007. One hundred thirty-nine questionnaires were sent in
the first mailing; however with numerous additions and subtractions to the mailing list, the
number of actual sod producers on the list was reduced to 107. The most common reasons for
elimination from the list were firms had gone out of business, addresses were undeliverable
(addressee unknown or forwarding order expired), or respondents did not fit our definition of a
sod producer they were plug producers or in a business related to sod such as distribution,
landscape services, or a nursery business that sold sod. A total of 59 completed surveys were
eventually returned (either on-line or by postal delivery) by firms that were currently producing
sod, representing a 55 percent response rate from the mailing list.
To facilitate comparisons over time, the survey was designed to be consistent with three
earlier surveys; however, this year, some previous questions were replaced with new questions
that might shed light on other important aspects of the sod industry. The questionnaire was
divided into four major sections production, marketing, product quality, and firm and
industry problems. Based on acres in production, sod farms were grouped into four size
categories small-sized farms produced 1 to 499 acres, medium-sized farms produced 500 to
999 acres, large-sized farms produced 1,000 to 1,999 acres and very large-sized farms produced
2,000 or more acres.
Results of the 2007 survey indicate that 59 growers produced approximately 73,000 acres of
sod in 2007 (Table 1). However, since the survey responses did not represent total industry
production, several procedures were used to develop an industry-wide estimate. First, as in
previous years, we assumed that our mailing list was only partially complete, by previous
estimations, probably only about 85% complete allowing for an additional 18 'missed'
growers, which would bring the total number of growers to 125. Second, by comparing returned
questionnaires with the population lists, it was determined that nine of ten producers in the 'very
large' category those with more than 2,000 acres of sod were included within the survey
sample. These growers are also commonly known by other producers and state trade associations
who further confirmed numbers in this class. With the very large group accounted for, the
remaining 65 non-responding or non-contacted producers were assumed to comprise 44 small
(68%), 17 medium (26%) and 4 large-sized firms (6%). This assumption was based on the
authors' working knowledge of the industry, input from producer associations, and recognition
that in most agricultural sectors, larger-sized firms tend to produce the majority of output.
Adding the non-responding farms to each size category (e.g. small firms: 34 + 44 = 78), then
dividing by the number of original respondents in each farm size, an expansion factor was
generated for each group (e.g. small: 78 producing farms 34 responding farms = 2.29). These
figures were then used to expand the sample aggregates for all major variables estimated (i.e. the
total reported for each farm-size category (small, medium, large, and very large) was multiplied
by its respective expansion factor (2.29, 3.125, 1.50 and 1.11) to ascertain the overall total for
each farm-size category (reporting firms plus non-reporting or non-contacted firms). For
example, small-sized farms reported 8,059 acres in production; multiplying that number by the
expansion factor of 2.29 gives an expanded production acreage for small-sized farms of 18,455
acres (see total for small-sized firms in Table 2).
Table 1. Number of survey respondents, production acreage reported in each size group
and calculated expansion factors, 2007.
Acreage Number of o Expansion
Number of farms
Farm size (acres) reported respondents factor
Small (1-499) 8,059 34 78 2.29
Medium (500-999) 5,128 8 25 3.125
Large (1000-1999) 9,919 8 12 1.50
Very large (>2000) 49,603 9 10 1.11
Total 72,709 59 125
To ensure that only active sod producers would provide survey information and so others did
not spend their time needlessly filling out the survey instrument, the first question asked if the
firm was currently active in producing sod in Florida. In the on-line survey, only two firms
responded with a 'no'. With the hardcopy survey, we had no way to tell whether the non-
respondents were firms who were not actively engaged in sod production in Florida and did not
return the survey or whether they simply did not wish to participate.
Survey results indicated that 41 percent of the respondents had been in business at least 20
years, ranging from 20 to 57 with an average of 27 years. Forty-three percent of the remaining
respondents had been in business for 6 to 10 years, thirty-one percent for 11 to 19 years and
twenty-three percent for 1 to 5 years.
Sod Area Grown and Harvested
Producers were asked to present production and harvest acreages for both 2006 and 2007 and
their plans regarding production in 2008. Results showed that 2007 production had increased by
nine percent over production in 2006, but harvested area in 2007 had decreased by 17 percent
from 2006. While 60 percent of growers were not going to change their production acreage, ten
percent planned to increase their acres in production by an average of 34 percent (ranging from
6.9% to 100%). This group included no producers from the large or very large-size categories.
Thirty percent intended to decrease their production acreage by an average of 29 percent (ranging
from 8.5% to 89%). Producers in all size categories were in this group, which included 56
percent of the very large-sized farms, 38 percent of both the large- and medium-sized firms and
21 percent of the small-sized enterprises.
Information on Florida sod production by grass type in 2007 is shown graphically in Figure 1.
More detailed information is presented in Table 2 on total sod acreage, farm size and grass
varieties. Using the appropriate expansion factors, total sod produced in Florida in 2007 was
estimated to be 103,923 acres. Of this total, 51 percent (52,937 acres) was comprised of St.
Augustinegrass targeted primarily for the homeowner market. The market share of St.
Augustinegrass has declined from about 64 percent in 2000 and 2003 and from 72 percent in
1996 (Haydu, et. al., 1998, 2002, 2005).
Bahiagrass production, at 33 percent (34,104 acres), increased nearly ten percent from the 24
percent share it held in 2003, at least partially due to the continued construction of new roads and
the refurbishment of existing roads and highways by Florida's Department of Transportation.
Bahiagrass is useful as a roadside cover because it is highly drought-tolerant, requires little
maintenance and, with its deep root system, offers effective erosion control.
Bermudagrass and centipedegrass, commonly used for sports and athletic fields, represented
seven percent (7,663 acres) and three percent (3,244 acres), respectively. Zoysiagrass comprised
five percent (5,249 acres) and, though it holds a minor share of the market, has replaced
centipedegrass as the fourth most produced grass in Florida in 2007. Finally, the production area
of seashore paspalum (686 acres), used primarily for golf courses, was just under one percent.
Figure 1. Types of grasses grown in Florida in 2007 as a percent
of total production.
Table 2. Total area z of sod grown in Florida in 2007, by farm size Y and grass variety.
Acres in production
Farm size Augustine Bahia Bermuda Centipede Zoysia Paspalum Other Total Share
Small 9,713 672 4,495 1,963 1,000 611 0 18,454 18%
Medium 10,850 3,016 1,250 219 691 0 0 16,026 15%
Large 7,495 3,806 698 1,062 1,743 75 0 14,879 14%
Very large 24,879 26,609 1,221 0 1,816 0 39 54,564 53%
Total 52,937 34,103 7,664 3,244 5,250 686 39 103,923 100%
Share 50.9% 32.8% 7.4% 3.1% 5.1% 0.7% 0. 0% 100.0%
z estimates represent expanded values from survey sample.
Y small: 0-499 A; medium: 500-999 A; large: 1,000-1,999 A; very large: >2,000 A.
Farm Size and Varietal Comparisons. Farms comprising the largest size category (2,000
acres or more) continued to increase their share (53%) of total industry output in 2007, up from
less than a third in 2000 and just under one-half in 2003. All other size classes continued to
reduce their share of total production.
The large farm size category (1,000-1,999 acres), whose production fell from 29 percent in
2000 to 16 percent in 2003, slowed its decline but still lost another two percent of production
share in 2007. Market share for medium-sized firms was reduced by two percent also, while
share for the smallest class of producers showed the smallest reduction during the period from
2003 to 2007 and lost only one percent.
For the smallest farms, the share of St. Augustinegrass of their total grass production
remained at nearly one-half (53%), from which it deviated only in 2000 when its share reached
65 percent. Bahiagrass' production share by the small farms (4%) reached a low never reported
since these surveys began. Bermudagrass share increased to 24 percent in 2007, up from 15
percent in 2003 and centipedegrass declined to 11 percent of production share in 2007.
For medium-sized firms, St. Augustinegrass production at 68 percent returned to 'normal'
from its peak at 87 percent in 2003. Bermudagrass production share remained nearly the same
(8%) as it had been in 2003. A dramatic increase occurred in the production share of bahiagrass
for this size category as it rose to 19 percent in 2007 from one percent in 2003 and the share of
zoysiagrass production nearly doubled to four percent in 2007 from just over two percent in
Firms in the large category also experienced notable changes in the share of grass varieties
grown. St. Augustinegrass production of which grew from 59 percent in 2000 to 80 percent in
2003, which was nearly back to its 1996 level of 83 percent continued its back and forth and
dropped to 50 percent of production in 2007. Bahiagrass production, which was not reported
from any growers in the large size category in 2003, was reported at 26 percent, very near the
reported production share of 33 percent in 2000. Bermudagrass production remained low (5%),
while centipedegrass fell to seven percent in 2007.
Finally, the share of St. Augustinegrass by the largest producers declined to 46 percent, after
peaking at 73 percent in 2000. On the other hand, bahiagrass production continued to increase
and reached 49 percent in 2007. This is up from a mere 15 percent in 1996. Other grass varieties
for producers in this category have remained insignificant over the past 20 years.
The percent share of each grass produced by the industry over the past 20 years is shown in
Table 3. Since St. Augustinegrass is primarily used for home lawns, it is not surprising that it
has held the largest share of production since inception of these surveys. With the decline in the
housing market in 2006, there was a large downturn in production share of St. Augustine, with an
increase in share ofbahiagrass, which is often produced as bahiagrass pastures and is harvested
for sod less frequently. Other grass varieties hold a much lower percentage share of the market
and remain relatively steady with only slight fluctuations through the years.
Table 3. Total production share of sod grown in Florida from 1987 to 2007, by grass variety.
Share of production
sod survey St. Augustine Bahia Bermuda Centipede Zoysia Seashore Paspalum Other
1987 55.6% 40.3% 2.5% 1.0% 0.2% n/a n/a
1996 72.1% 10.3% 7.8% 9.2% 0.5% n/a n/a
2000 65.4% 22.6% 5.7% 3.7% 1.9% n/a 0.6%
2003 64.2% 23.6% 5.8% 4.6% 1.3% n/a 0.4%
2007 50.9% 32.8% 7.4% 3.1% 5.1% 0.7% 0.0%
Regional Production in Florida. Placement of sod farms in the state was obtained by
asking survey respondents to note in which of eight map regions, roughly based on telephone
area codes, their farms were located. Unexpanded acreage located by this procedure is shown in
Figure 2 and suggests that nearly half (49%) of the total production occurs on the Florida ridge
down the middle of the south half of the state. This would allow fairly rapid transport to the
growing populations along both coasts in the southern part of the state. Another 20 percent of
reported production occurs in the rapidly growing '407' area in the east-central region of the
Acres Harvested. Acres of sod harvested in 2007 by grass type and farm size are presented
in Table 4. Nearly 63,000 acres of sod were harvested of which just over half (57 percent) was
St. Augustinegrass. Knowledge of acres harvested is useful for calculating turnover rates, or the
relationship between sales and inventory (ratio of harvested to produced acres) for a given year.
Production efficiency is related to two factors, net area stocked per acre (gross area minus areas
taken up by roads, drainage ditches/canals and grass left in ribbons for re-propagation) and the
amount sold relative to the amount produced as influenced by market demand. Strictly from a
technical standpoint, net production area per acre should be relatively constant from year-to-year,
except during extended periods of high rainfall or drought. The former could impair harvesting
activities and the latter could negatively impact both the supply and demand for sod. Market
demand also influences quantities harvested in a given year. During periods of strong demand,
the total harvestable area should be harvested and sold.
Figure 2. Reported acres of sod production in various regions in Florida in 2007.
Table 4. Sod area harvested in Florida in 2007, by farm size and grass variety.
Farm Size (acres) St. Augustine Bahia Bermuda Centipede S. paspalum Zoysia Total
Small (0-499) 7,849 620 3,568 579 360 398 13,374
Medium (500-999) 6,123 2,453 898 109 0 425 10,008
Large (1,000-1,999) 4,510 3,390 401 538 35 1,175 10,049
Very large (>2,000) 17,022 10,226 830 0 0 1,063 29,141
Total 35,504 16,689 5,697 1,226 395 3,061 62,572
Harvested Percent of
67% 49% 74% 38% 58% 58% 60% z
z Total percent of production (60%) is weighted by multiplying the percent of production
harvested for each type of grass by the percent of total production planted in that particular
type of grass.
Sod Production Acreage in Florida Regions (2007)
Regions defined by telephone area codes. 4,146
Acreage reported (not expanded).
Given the costs of producing sod, farmers should strive to maximize inventory turnover to
reduce unit costs, increase profitability, and avoid the risk of compromising product quality. For
example, most St. Augustinegrass varieties in Florida can be produced and ready to sell within 9-
12 months. However, an inability to sell sod that has reached a marketable stage increases
expenses through costs imposed by routine maintenance such as fertilization, weed and pest
control, irrigation and mowing. This is particularly true for St. Augustinegrass, which is
susceptible to root decline (Turgeon, 1985). This root "die-back" adversely affects the visual
quality of St. Augustinegrass and, therefore, the grass is generally not sold until new root growth
begins in the spring, implying a 3- to 4-month dormancy period. Consequently, sound
management practices would encourage a timely and thorough harvesting of mature sod fields to
avoid unnecessary maintenance costs.
Farm Harvesting Efficiency. Overall, 60 percent of all sod that was grown was harvested,
although the percentage varied considerably across varieties. Centipedegrass was harvested at
the lowest rate, 38 percent of production, followed by bahiagrass, which was harvested at 49
percent. However, bahiagrass was the only grass that showed an increase in harvest percent of
production more than doubling the harvest percent (24%) of 2003. Most farms tend to focus
on St. Augustinegrass, which has a broad-based market for new home construction and re-
sodding existing homes, enjoys a fairly stable price and is relatively easy to sell. St.
Augustinegrass also has the highest harvest rate (67%), ranging from 81 percent of total
production for small-sized farms to 56 percent of total production for medium-sized farms,
which had the highest harvest rate of production (87%) in 2003. Zoysiagrass while only 5
percent of production is also harvested at a fairly high rate (58%). Seashore paspalum was
also harvested at 58 percent of production, but it comprises just under one percent of the total
production in Florida. Although these grasses have a much narrower market, they are the highest
priced grasses grown in Florida.
To better understand harvesting practices of producers, respondents were asked what percent
of each acre of sod grown was harvested. For all grass varieties, growers indicated they
harvested an average of 77 percent, down slightly from the 80 percent of 2003, but the same as
the 78 percent average in both 2000 and 1996. In terms of specific grasses, they harvested
approximately 88 percent of each acre of bermudagrass, 80 percent of each acre of zoysiagrass,
77 percent of each acre of St. Augustinegrass, and 70 percent of each acre of centipedegrass and
bahiagrass, leaving the remaining sod for regeneration of later crops.
Harvest ratios (Table 5) for various-sized farms had a narrower spread (53%-72%) than they
did in 2003 (58%-80%), but still are not so narrow as they were in 2000 (63%-75%). From
conversations with industry leaders, a 75 percent harvest rate is considered reasonable from an
efficiency standpoint. None of the farm sizes were able to achieve that ratio in 2007, but the
small-sized farms approached it with 72 percent harvest ratio. The very large farms, which
achieved only 58 percent harvest rate in 2003, declined even further to 53 percent in 2007,
continuing a decline from 75 percent in 1996.
Because sod is such a perishable crop, it is harvested on an as-needed basis. Since the demand
has been reduced by the economic situation, Florida's sod farms are holding their sod in the field
longer, putting less acreage back into production, and going to other crops to supplement their
Table 5. Area of sod grown and harvested, by farm size, in 2007.
Acres grown Acres harvested
Total Average per Total Average Acres grown
Farm size farm per farm
Small 18,454 237 13,374 171 72%
Medium 16,026 641 10,008 400 62%
Large 14,879 1,240 10,049 837 68%
Very large 54,564 5,456 29,141 2,914 53%
Total/All 103,923 831 62,572 501 60%
Production of Specific Turfgrass Varieties. St. Augustinegrass is the most widely used
grass in Florida and, consequently, the most economically important for the industry. A varietal
breakdown of St. Augustinegrass is presented as a pie chart in Figure 3 with details shown in
Table 6. Floratam was the most dominant variety produced in 2007, comprising 81 percent
(42,908 acres) of total St. Augustinegrass production. Far down the scale, Classic was the
second most popular variety representing just six percent (3,100 acres), followed by Palmetto
with five percent (2,643 acres) and Seville with four percent (1,882 acres). Bitterblue rounded
out the top five St. Augustinegrass varieties with just two percent (1,322 acres), a decline from
its five percent share in 2003 with 2,773 acres. Classic replaced Common, which had been
second with nine percent in 2003, and Seville surpassed both Bitterblue and Raleigh. Raleigh
dropped from three percent in 2003 to only one percent in 2007, its share status in 2000.
Figure 3. Varietal percent shares of St. Augustinegrass total
production in Florida in 2007.
Other / Floratam
Table 6. St. Augustinegrass production in 2007, presented by farm size and grass varieties.
Acres in production
Farm size Bitterblue Classic Floratam Palmetto Raleigh Sapphire Seville Other
Small 372 175 8,502 338 0 94 199 30
Medium 62 0 9,934 505 0 188 161 0
Large 263 17 5,166 611 535 205 653 46
Very large 625 2,908 19,306 1,189 0 173 869 35
Total 1,322 3,100 42,908 2,643 535 660 1,882 111
New in this year's survey was the inclusion of questions to determine how much of the more
popular varieties of the other major grasses were being grown. Production acreage and share of
the varieties for each major grass type grown in Florida in 2007 are given in Table 7. The size of
the 'other' category in both seashore paspalum and zoysiagrass indicates that the survey omitted
some important varieties in those grasses.
Table 7. Production acreage and share of varieties of major grass types grown in Florida in
Grass type/ Acres Share of Grass type/ Acres Share of
Variety produced grass type Variety produced grass type
Bahiagrass St. Augustine
Argentine 27,607 84.0 % Bitterblue 1,322 2.5 %
Pensacola 5,213 15.9 % Classic 3,100 5.8 %
other 132 0.1 % Floratam 42,908 80.7 %
Bermudagrass Palmetto 2,643 5.0 %
Celebration 1,615 21.3 % Raleigh 535 1.0 %
Common 1,395 18.4 % Sapphire 660 1.2 %
Tifdwarf 312 4.1 % Seville 1,882 3.5 %
Tifway 4,276 56.2 % other 111 0.2 %
Common 3,203 98.7 % Empire 4,229 81.0 %
Hammock 42 1.3 % Jamur 419 8.0 %
Seashore paspalum Meyer 3 0.1 %
Aloha 68 9.9% Ultimate 401 7.7 %
Seaisle 1 15 2.2 % other 168 3.2 %
Seaisle Supreme 60 8.7 %
Seadwarf 289 42.0 %
other 255 37.2 %
Sod Prices and Harvest Value
Farm gate sod prices received by producers in 2007 are shown in Table 8. Average prices,
weighted by production volume, ranged from a low 6.4 a square foot for bahiagrass to a high of
27.9 a square foot for seashore paspalum. The price of St. Augustinegrass was in the middle of
this range at 12.9 per square foot. In general, sod prices were higher than those received in
Average prices were used to calculate the value of the sod harvested in 2007. Harvest value,
the quantities actually sold in 2007, was estimated at $320 million, up from $307 million in
2003. Sixty-two percent of harvest value was attributable to St. Augustinegrass ($199 million),
quite a decrease from its 85 percent share in 2003 and its 81 percent share in 2000 and 1996.
This is most probably linked to the housing market decline and its concomitant decrease in
demand for St. Augustinegrass since it is the most widely used for home lawns. Bahiagrass
market share jumped from a three percent share in 2003 to a 15 percent share in 2007, bumping
bermudagrass to third with an 11 percent share; in 2003 bermudagrass was the second most
valuable sod variety with a six percent market share. Zoysiagrass more than tripled its 2003
market share of two and a half percent and accounted for eight percent of the 2007 market share;
most likely attributable to the fact that some new development restrictions require 'Empire'
zoysiagrass. Centipedegrass market share was two percent and seashore paspalum, contributed
one and a half percent market share in 2007.
Table 8. Sod farm acreage, percent harvested, price per square foot, and harvest value in
Florida in 2007 by major grass variety.
Total acres (A) Percent of Harvest values
Turfgrass in production Range of Average
varieties production acres harvested prices/ft2 price/ft2 $ millions
St. Augustine 52,937 67% $0.07-$0.30 $0.129 $199.3
Bahia 34,104 49% $0.025-$0.10 $0.064 $46.6
Centipede 3,244 38% $0.125-$0.20 $0.146 $7.8
Bermuda 7,663 74% $0.065-$0.75 $0.147 $36.3
Zoysia 5,249 58% $0.12-$0.35 $0.187 $24.8
S. paspalum 686 58% $0.19-$0.35 $0.279 $4.8
Total 103,883 $319.7
z Harvest value assumes percent of gross production acres sold based on results of this study,
calculated as [(production acres (A) x percent area harvested) x (43,560 ft2/A x price/ft2)].
Given the price differentials across varieties, one might expect producers to concentrate on
the highest-priced grasses; however, little zoysiagrass and seashore paspalum were produced
even though their unit values exceeded St. Augustinegrass by nearly 45 and 116 percent,
respectively. The answer essentially lies with basic economics supply and demand, and
potential market share. From the demand side of the equation, St. Augustinegrass has been the
preferred grass for home lawns. St. Augustinegrass, and particularly Floratam, has dominated the
market because it is perceived to have desirable product attributes, such as visual attractiveness,
good recuperative potential, a certain degree of utility conserving the soil, allowing infiltration
of water and filtering of pollutants and easy maintenance. Although St. Augustinegrass is not
a perfect variety, it has provided these features more consistently over time than other grasses,
hence it has succeeded in preserving its "market share". Producers will naturally be drawn to the
grass that is easiest to sell while still providing a reasonable and steady profit.
On the supply side of the equation, yield, costs and profitability are the critical variables.
Grass varieties differ in yields, but yield effects on profitability can be offset by other factors.
The sod production period is from harvest-to-harvest. A fast-growing grass such as
bermudagrass has high variable costs due to the extensive use of inputs (fertilizer, pesticides,
mowing, etc.) over a short time frame. Sometimes two harvests of bermudagrass are achievable
within a year, as opposed to one for St. Augustinegrass, bahiagrass and zoysiagrass. The interval
of sod production also affects fixed costs (e.g., land, buildings, and overhead or administrative
costs). Generally speaking, shorter production periods imply higher inventory turnover, implying
further that fixed costs on a unit basis (square feet or yards) will be reduced. Exceptional species
such as zoysiagrass, which often requires more intensive management because of greater
susceptibility to pest and diseases, in the long term will generally be more expensive to produce.
Hence, price is only one aspect regarding the economic feasibility of sod production.
Harvesting. In 2007, sixty-four percent of harvested sod was machine-stacked, mostly (58%)
using a combination of machine and hand-stacking. While 26 percent of the large producers'
harvest was accomplished automatically, only two percent of the very large producers' harvest
was automatic. All farm sizes used the combination method for about half (ranging from 45% to
64%) of their harvest. Some of the larger producers prefer to use large teams of manual labor for
stacking sod. Their reasoning is that, for large-scale operations, current farm equipment is not
cost-effective large labor teams can stack and move sod more quickly than most automatic
harvesters (Cisar and Haydu, 1991). In addition, labor often offers more working flexibility.
Since many workers are seasonal, the farm does not incur so high an annualized cost of
production as it does with automatic harvesters. Purchased machinery becomes part of a firm's
fixed costs; thus, even when the equipment is not in use, the owner is still paying for it. On the
other hand, growers can employ seasonal labor, as a variable cost of production, only when
needed. Only the small-sized farms used hand-stacking for the majority (54%) of their harvest.
A new question on the survey asked what type of harvest was used big rolls, mini-rolls or
slabs (Figure 4). Ninety-five percent of the harvest was slabs, with 37 percent of all growers
using slabs exclusively. Big rolls represented four percent of the harvest with 52 percent of them
from very large farms and 39 percent from small farms.
Figure 4. Sod roll, sod slabs and a truck loaded with sod ready for shipping. (left to right)
Shipping. Once sod is cut and stacked, 90 percent of it is shipped to its destination the next
day, with the remainder being shipped in two days. Only a fraction of a percent takes longer to
be shipped. This practice is due to the highly perishable nature of cut-sod. Sod's vulnerability
may also explain the relatively high incidence of truck ownership 41 percent of respondents
indicated that they own their own transportation equipment, down from 60 percent in 2003.
However, two-thirds of those responding indicated that there was a problem obtaining trucks for
sod delivery when they were needed, up from only half in 2003. Scheduling difficulties would
likely arise during the peak selling months of spring and summer when transport demand is high
for other agricultural products as well.
Distance to markets is a critical factor for producers to consider. Sod is a heavy, bulky item
that requires prompt attention. These factors greatly impact the potential risk to both buyer and
seller. The more distant the markets, the more expensive sod is to ship and the greater the
potential for post-harvest losses. Consequently, producers located close to key markets have a
clear strategic advantage over producers located farther away. In 2003, 75 percent of the growers
reported that their markets were staying approximately the same distance from them and half of
the remaining growers' markets were moving closer and the other half were moving farther
away. Survey respondents in 2007 reported that 48 percent of their markets are within 50 miles
(down from 59%) and another 34 percent of the markets (up from 29%) are between 50 and 100
miles away. In other words, most growers are still positioned only a few hours from the majority
of their markets. Consistent with the 2003 results, only 3 percent of sales were reported as being
shipped out of Florida in 2007.
Sod Distribution Channels. The distribution of buyers of Florida sod is presented in Figure
5. Forty-four percent of sales were made to landscape services, 21 percent were made to re-
wholesalers, 15 percent were made to commercial and residential developers, and six percent
were made to brokers. Sports-related activities, independent garden centers, and homeowners
each consumed about four percent of the sod sold, while farm-to-farm and big box garden center
sales were each about one percent of total sod sales. When asked whether the market demand in
their area for turfgrass had changed since 2005-2006 and, if so, how, 82 percent of respondents
reported a decrease in demand.
Figure 5. Depiction of to whom Florida sod producers sold their product in 2007.
Costs of Producing and Marketing Sod
In order to better understand costs of being in the sod business, without asking producers to
spend extensive time reviewing financial records, respondents were asked to estimate the
percentage of total costs per acre that are attributable to various growing-, marketing- and sod
installation-related activities. Principal costs associated with these activities include materials,
labor and equipment. The average percent of expenses attributed to production-related
activities was seventy-two and a half. Production activities are the largest share because they
represent on-going work that begins after planting and continues until harvest, a period of 6-12
months, depending on the grass variety. While 88 percent of respondents attributed some
expenses to administration, sales and marketing activities, the average percent was only 20
percent. Thirty-six percent of respondents had expenses related to sod installation activities and
the average percent of their total expenses was twenty-seven.
Further details were requested in each of the three major categories by asking respondents to
delineate their expenses in several named categories and an 'other' category that could be
specified by the grower. Table 9 provides dollar amounts and percent share attributed to each of
the detailed expenses in the three major expense categories.
Ind. garden ctrs
Big box garden ctrs
Table 9. Average percent of total expenses per acre attributed to specific activities in 2007.
Labor (full, part-time and seasonal for all production-related activities)
Production (mowing, fertilizing, pcr-, ri. lici ), t ... etc.)
Harvesting (equipment operating costs, pallets, etc.)
Irrigation (water/pumping costs-e.g. maintenance + fuel/electricity)
Manager/owner salaries (related to production activities)
Land preparation (weed control, cultivation, harrowing, etc.)
Planting (sod &/or seed + equipment operating costs)
Office expenses related to production
Contracting costs (associated with p ..Ii ri ....iin .r,,', activities)
Other production-related expenses
Labor (full, part-time and seasonal for all adm/sales/market activities)
Manager/owner salaries (related to admin/sales/marketing)
Marketing/admin (sales, collections, phone/fax, supplies, etc.)
Contracting (transport, etc.)
Other administrative/sales/marketing expenses
Sod installation-related expenses *
Labor (full, part-time and seasonal for all sod install-related activities)
Manager/owner salaries (related to sod installation activities)
Office expenses related to sod-installation activities
Other landscape activities
* Not all respondents had this type of activity
Production-related labor accounted for one-quarter (25%) of total production-related costs.
Field maintenance expenses followed closely with a 20 percent share. Harvesting expenses were
moved to the production phase expenses on this survey (on the previous two surveys, it had been
included under marketing as an 'after growth' expense) and placed number three in cost with a
12 percent share of production expenses. Other principal tasks consist of fertilization, pest and
weed control, mowing and irrigation.
Not surprisingly, the majority of administration/sales/marketing-related expenses (only 20%
of the total expenses) were attributed to salaries 37 percent to labor and 21 percent to
managers/owners. Transportation accounted for another 13.5 percent and sales and marketing
(including collections of accounts receivables) averaged 11 percent of these types of costs.
For the 36 percent of respondents who had sod installation-related expenses, labor accounted
for almost two-thirds (62%) of those expenses. Manager/owner salaries (12%), design/
installation (11%) and office expenses (10%) required another third of this type of expense.
Not surprisingly, the largest farm group had the most expenses. However, because of the
number of small farms, that group had the second largest total amount of expenses.
Producers were asked how they determine the price they charge for their product. They were
given five considerations plus an open-ended "other" category and asked to rank their top four
considerations in order of importance. A first-choice ranking was given four points, second-
place ranking received three points, third place was two points and fourth choice was scored as
one point; then total number of points for each choice by all respondents was added to determine
the 'weight' assigned to that choice (Figure 6). Interestingly, fewer producers (26%) indicated
the "selling price of other producers" as the principal pricing method, but so many ranked it as
second (23%) or third (25%) that it achieved the highest ranking overall (total weighted ranking
of 134). "Quality of my sod" was classified first by 30 percent of growers and 21 percent ranked
it as second so overall weighted ranking was 125. The "highest price market will bear" category,
newly added to the survey this year, received the highest percent (32) of first rankings, but fewer
second and third considerations and ranked third in total weighted points (120). "Cost of
production" was ranked first by 23 percent of producers and had a total weighted points of 101.
The other newly added consideration "availability" had a total weighted ranking of 77
points. Seven percent of growers ranked "other" considerations in their top four for a weighted
total of only 9 points. These "other" considerations included the location of the field to the job
and the order size and ability of the customer to pay quickly. Given these results, it is apparent
that sod producers use several inter-related methods to arrive at prices for their products.
Figure 6. Considerations made by Florida sod producers in 2007
when determining the selling price of sod.
Components of Farm Income
In 2007, only 21 percent of producers reported that their sole source of income was sod
production, compared to 46 percent in 2003 and 47 percent in 2000. The percent of income
derived from sod production in 2007 was 61 percent, compared to 73 percent in 2003 (Figure 7).
Roughly one-third of earned income was from related or alternative agricultural business
activities. Food production (cattle, citrus, dairy and vegetables) continued to maintain
approximately the same percent of alternative income with 15 percent, compared to 13 percent in
2003 and 14 percent in 2000. Sod-related services continued its steady rise as an income
alternative, reported at 16 percent in 2007, compared to 12 percent in 2003 and nine percent in
2000. These activities included shipping (5%), landscape contract and/or maintenance services
(10%), and farm supplier of equipment, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. at just under one percent.
Ornamental plant production, which fell from three percent in 1996 to one percent of income in
2000 and just under one percent in 2003, maintained its level at just over one percent. An
"others" category that included land leasing, sugar cane production, sales of silage feed, pine
straw, etc. and real estate/developer/commercial properties increased from just over two percent
in 2003 to nearly seven and a half percent in 2007.
Ranking of considerations
SRanked #1 (4 pts.) Ranked #2 (3 pts.) U Ranked #3 (2 pta.) 0 Ranked #4 (1 pt)
"O 13 13 13
.10 9 99 9
1 3 4, t 1 2 5 p t s 1 2 0 p i a 1 0 1 p 7 7 p ts
Quality of my sod Cost of production
Selling price of 'others' Price market will bear Availability
Considerations when determining prices
Figure 7. Partitioning of farm income by Florida sod producers in 2007.
(Data not weighted by farm size.)
Although turfgrass quality is difficult to measure, Beard (1973) states that characteristics of
high quality turfgrass have been established over the years. The six basic components of
turfgrass quality he identifies are: uniformity, density, texture, growth habit, smoothness and
color. Beard notes that the relative importance of these features will vary according to the
purpose for which the turf is to be used.
In a more general sense, turfgrass quality can be affected at any one (or all) of five major
stages: turfgrass breeding, which determines the inherent physical characteristics of the variety;
production and cultural practices employed by the grower; harvesting and stacking; shipping and
unloading; and after the buyer receives it. In this study, we were interested in factors other than
physical properties. In particular, from the producer's perspective, was quality compromised at
some point on the farm or after the product was sold and delivered? Moreover, if damage did
occur prior to receipt by the buyer, at what stages) did it take place (during production, during
harvesting and stacking, or during shipping and unloading)?
Although no aspect of the sod production/sales cycle is without potential quality-reducing
damage, in 2007 growers believed that 45 percent (down from 51%) of the damage occurred to
sod after the buyer received it, leaving an opportunity for the growers/shippers to improve sod
quality for about half the damaged product. Growers responded that 22 percent of the damage
occurred in the field. This slight (3%) increase in in-the-field damage may reflect slightly more
severe weather conditions than were experienced in much of Florida in 2003. Damage occurring
previous to the buyers' receiving it through harvesting and stacking (17%) increased only two
percent from reported damage in 2003 and shipping and unloading damage increased to 15
percent, returning to approximately the same as in 2000 after a decrease in 2003 to 12 percent.
These results indicate that both producers and consumers are responsible for reducing turf
quality. But more importantly, it suggests that because growers, by their own admission, cause
nearly half of all damage to the turfgrass they sell, significant room for improvement still exists.
Astute growers can distinguish themselves in a competitive market by addressing some of these
Perhaps an indicator of the need for improvement both before and after the consumer
receives the product is the guarantee/quality assurance policy offered. Thirty-nine percent of
respondents offer a policy that guarantees the sod to be free of defects, including being
reasonably free of weeds and pests, and is guaranteed to grow if maintained properly by the
customer. Problems must be reported within 15 days. In the event of a problem, the farm's
responsibility policy covers product only. Thirty-two percent of respondents gave the same
guarantee but allowed only 24 hours after delivery and/or installation for notification to the
company. Sixteen percent of respondents offered no guarantee and 14 percent offered the same
guarantee as the most popular 15-day notification policy above except that the farm replacement
policy covered product, freight and labor.
Employment and Mechanization
As farms become larger in response to increasing pressures to reduce production costs,
agriculture continues to shift towards greater mechanization. This is due to the fact that labor in
agriculture normally accounts for a significant share of total cash expenses. This share can vary
from 15 percent to 30 percent, depending on the size of firm and type of commodity being
produced (USDA/ERS, 1997). Mechanical devices in agriculture are generally designed for
specific functions and for specific crops. For example, wheat harvesters cannot be used for corn
and tomato harvesters cannot be used for cotton. Additionally, this specialized equipment is also
very expensive. To reduce capital costs per unit of output, large-scale farms emphasize mono-
cultural production systems that can efficiently use this specialized equipment.
Labor tends to be much more versatile than machinery and is used for more complex tasks.
Hence, labor use per acre will be significantly less for a large wheat farm than for a smaller farm
producing small quantities of diversified products. Since sod is a monocultural crop, one would
anticipate that there would be a significant substitution of capital for labor in its production.
Interestingly, this is not the case. Results of this study indicate that labor remains a critical
resource in Florida's sod production industry.
Unlike fruit and vegetable producers who employ large numbers of seasonal workers, sod
farms have year-round production and maintenance activities and rely on permanent labor.
Reporting farms employed 855 permanent workers, averaging 14 full-time employees per farm.
One hundred and thirteen part-time workers were employed by 43 percent of reporting firms, an
average of 4.3 part-timers for each firm with part-time help. As in 2003, twelve firms reported
the use of seasonal labor. However, seasonal labor in 2007 totaled 74 people, only 60 percent of
the number reported in 2003. In terms of farm size, the average use of permanent labor ranged
from a low of five persons for small farms to a high of 41 employees for the very largest farms.
Only the large-sized farms reported using more full-time employees in 2007 than they had in
2003. All sizes of farms employed part-time and seasonal help in 2007, a change from 2003
when the large-sized farms did not employ any part-time or seasonal help. When expanding the
employment figures to encompass the complete sod industry, the numbers reflect a slightly
different pattern as seen in Table 10. The total number of full-time employees was 1,426 and the
average number of full-time employees was eleven. Total employment, including part-time and
seasonal employees, was estimated at 1,800 persons. The greatest number of people (30%) were
employed by the small-sized farms, which make up 62 percent of the total number of farms in the
industry. Medium-sized farms employed about one-fifth of the workers and the large- and very
large-sized farms each employed about 25 percent of the work force.
Table 10. Full-time, part-time, seasonal and total employment figures for various-sized sod
farms in 2007.
Average number of workers employed
Farm size Full-time Part-time Seasonal Total
Small 345 125 78 548
Medium 309 44 19 372
Large 366 51 22 439
Very Large 406 13 22 441
Total for industry 1,426 233 141 1,800
Average per farm 11.4 1.9 1.1 14.4
To obtain a more complete picture of the substitution of capital for labor, a question was
asked whether the level of mechanization had changed since 2003. Almost one-third (32%) of
all surveyed firms indicated their farms were more mechanized now, while the remaining two-
thirds stated that the level of mechanization had not changed. In 2003, 67 percent of the large-
sized farms reported an increase in mechanization and while they are still becoming more
mechanized, the percentage of firms doing so was considerably less. Thirty-eight percent of both
the large-sized farms and the medium-sized farms reported the use of more mechanization over
the last few years. As in 2000 and 2003, no respondent reported a decrease in mechanization in
Firm and Industry Problems
In this last section of the survey, five broad areas that affect individual businesses and the
entire industry were listed and producers were asked to identify the three most serious problems
they face as an individual business and the three most serious challenges that the industry faces.
These broad categories had been identified from previous surveys as financial, production-
related, regulatory/environmental, personnel, and marketing. Each respondent's most important
problem counted as 3 points, second most important problem was weighted as 2 points and the
third most important problem was given 1 point. Points scored for each problem were then
summed to give a weighted ranking. Of the five broad classifications, the most prominent (a
weight of 147) related to financial concerns such as fuel and insurance costs, excessive labor
.2 Marketing 8-
E Production- Is'
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160
Total Points Accumulated
Figure 8. Weighted responses of survey participants when asked about
the three most important problems faced by the respondent's
costs, prohibitive equipment costs, fly-by-night competition and taxes (Figure 8). This was also
the primary concern regarding individual businesses of growers three, seven and ten years ago.
Marketing or economic concerns continued as a clear second-place problem (85 accumulated
points) as it was in 2003; in 2000, it nearly tied for second place after being fifth-ranked in 1996.
Some marketing or economic problems included availability of product, distribution/delivery
problems, answering questions and educating the public and government, and reliable service
such as on-time delivery and loading of delivery trucks when they arrive. With a weight of 51,
50 and 50, production-related, personnel-related and regulatory/environmental issues,
respectively, were nearly equally of less concern to the individual firms. Production
considerations were second in 2000, but dropped to fourth in 2003. Typical production issues
were weeds, mole crickets and insects, weather and maintenance of sod in the field. Personnel-
related issues involved problems like deficient production skills of workers and their inability to
hire enough employees with a legal status. Regulatory or environmental type concerns ranked
last in both 2003 and 2000, a far cry from its "tied-for-second" position in 1996. Whether this is
from resignation or enlightenment, it may indicate a capacity to work within the system.
Regulatory issues included the loss of methyl bromide, water restrictions at the receiving end and
dealing with government agencies.
The five categories identified for firms are the same as the industry because of the inter-
related nature of the issues; however, the delineation of the lower category rankings differ
slightly from those of individual business concerns (Figure 9). There were significant changes in
rankings in 2007 when compared to 2003, the most obvious being the leap of financial concerns
from its third-place ranking in 2003 (with a score of 55) to its overwhelming first-place rank in
2007 with a point accumulation of 201. Marketing issues moved from first in 2003 to second
rank in 2007 while maintaining nearly the same number of points accumulated (94 vs. 98 in
2003). Marketing issues included overproduction, price undercutting, lack of advertising and
competition. Regulatory/environmental issues moved from second to third because of the
financial worries facing the industry; regulatory/environmental issues included concerns about
restricted sod usage because of water shortages. Personnel concerns moved from fifth place in
2003 to fourth place in this survey with accumulated points of 38, just ahead of the 30 points
accumulated by production issues. This last place position for production issues, which ranked
first in 2000 and 1996 and fourth in 2003, indicates that production is no longer a big concern for
Figure 9. Weighted responses of survey participants when asked about the
three most important problems facing the sod industry.
E Marketing -
, Regulatory/ 66
S Personnel s
50 100 150 200
Total Points Accumulated
ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE FLORIDA SOD INDUSTRY TO THE STATE
To evaluate the economic contribution of Florida's sod industry to the State's economy, the
revenues and employment associated with the industry were applied to an input-output model of
the State using the IMPLAN9 economic modeling system (Minnesota IMPLAN Group, Inc.).
IMPLAN is a system of computer software and databases that can be used to construct
mathematical models of regional economies, ranging from individual counties to multiple states.
These models describe the relationships and interactions between various industries and
institutions of an economy, and can be employed to predict how a change in one sector will
impact other industries and institutions in the economy, and for the economy as a whole. This
process is often referred to as economic impact analysis.
Usually, economic impact analysis is used to estimate the consequences of a change of "new"
dollars entering an economy. This may occur, for example, when tourists spend money for local
amenities or when a new local industry exports its products outside the region. These new
dollars generate multiplier effects for a local or regional economy when directly affected
businesses purchase inputs from the local supply chain and when employees and owners of
affected businesses spend their earnings inside the region. In cases where the importance of an
existing industry is being evaluated, it is necessary to reframe the context of the analysis in terms
of the losses to the economy that would occur if the industry disappeared. Since sod and most
sod installation services are a necessary input for the construction and landscape trade, the loss of
this industry would likely result in sod being imported from outside the State or a reduction in the
value of new real estate and recreational areas. If that were to occur, then the dollars used to
purchase non-local sod would leave the State's economy or the value of real estate sale would
decline, thus reducing gross state product and jobs. When the economic importance of an
industry or activity is evaluated under these assumptions, it is more appropriate to refer to the
results as economic contributions instead of economic impacts (Watson et. al., 2007).
To estimate the economic contributions of Florida's sod industry for 2007, $320 million (M)
in revenues was applied to sector six (Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Production) of an
IMPLAN model of the State. Based on an estimated employment of 1,800 full and part-time
workers that year, the annual output (sales) per worker in the IMPLAN model was increased
from $102,631 to $177,778, while annual earnings per worker were held at $32,585. Because
the IMPLAN data set used for this analysis was for the year 2007, no deflation or inflation of the
input values or results was necessary. The regional purchase coefficient for the sector evaluated
was set to zero to avoid overestimation of impacts due to forward-linked sectors (Steinback,
2004). All other parameters for the IMPLAN model were left at their default settings.
Results of the IMPLAN analysis are provided in Tables 11 and 12. Direct, indirect, induced
and total economic contributions to the State's economy in 2007 are presented in Table 11, for
output, value added, labor income, other property income, indirect business taxes, and
employment. In Table 12, the estimated contributions generated by the sod industry are
presented for 20 aggregated industry groups defined according to the North American Industry
Classification System (NAICS).
Table 11. Summary of economic contributions of the sod industry in Florida, 2007.
Total value Labor type business
Activity- Output added income income taxes Employment
effect level Million $ Jobsz
Direct 320.00 184.45 58.65 122.28 3.52 1,800
Indirect 61.72 38.17 27.27 7.77 3.13 977
Induced 321.47 193.38 125.15 52.54 15.69 2,856
Total 703.20 416.01 211.08 182.59 22.34 5,633
z Estimated jobs includes full-time, part-time and seasonal positions.
Direct contribution effects represent the additional revenues, value added, income, taxes and
jobs generated directly by industry activity within a study area. Indirect and induced effects
result from subsequent rounds of local spending created as a consequence of the initial (direct)
sales. Indirect effects occur as businesses purchase inputs from local suppliers, which generates
additional revenues, income, and jobs for the State's economy. Induced effects occur when the
households of employees and business owners spend their earnings for consumer goods and
services in the local economy, thereby generating additional economic activity.
Output represents the total value of sales or revenues generated directly and indirectly by an
industry. The direct output contribution of the sod industry for 2007 is equal to industry sales of
$320 million. Indirect output contributions were estimated at nearly $62 million, and induced
output contributions were valued at $321.5 million. The total output contribution of Florida's
sod industry is the sum of the direct, indirect and induced effects and is estimated to be $703.2
million (Table 11).
Value added contributions represent labor income, business profits, other property type
income and indirect business taxes that are generated directly and indirectly by industry-related
activity. The value added impact for the sod industry on Florida was estimated to total $416
million. The difference between output and value added contributions is the value of
intermediate inputs of goods and services used to produce sod, such as water, fertilizer,
pesticides, fuel, etc. Labor income is the component of value added that represents earnings by
employees and owners of businesses in or affected by the sod industry and was estimated to
equal $211 million Other property type income consists of rents, royalties, interest, dividends,
and corporate profits; activities related to the sod industry generated $182.6 million of these
types of contributions for Florida in 2007. Indirect business tax contributions are estimates of
how much excise, property and sales taxes, as well as business and licensing fees, are generated
by Florida's sod industry. This does not include taxes on income or profits. It is estimated that
over $22.3 M in indirect business tax revenues were generated by the sod industry in 2007.
Employment contributions estimate the number of full, part-time, and seasonal jobs that are
created annually by an industry or activity. These estimates are based on national industry-
average output per worker statistics. For 2007, a total of 5,633 jobs are estimated to have been
created in Florida through the direct, indirect and induced effects of the State's sod industry.
The distribution of economic contributions across twenty aggregate industry groups in
Florida is presented in Table 12. Not surprisingly, nearly half of the total output, value added
and employment contributions accrued to the group that includes Agriculture, with $334 million
in annual output, $196 million in value added, and 2,483 jobs. Real Estate captured the second
largest contribution in output, value added and other property income, while the Government
sector had the second largest employment contribution (455 jobs). These second ranking
contributions were considerable smaller than agriculture's, all individually representing less than
10 percent of the total. Other sectors that ranked in the top five in one or more categories
included Construction, Retail Trade, and Health and Social Services.
Table 12. Economic contributions of the Florida sod industry in 2007, by aggregate industry
Total value Labor property business
Industry Group Output added income income taxes Employment
Million $ Jobs
Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries 334.34 195.76 71.23 120.78 3.75 2,483
Mining 1.45 0.32 0.15 0.15 0.03 4
Utilities 8.44 5.39 1.65 2.87 0.87 13
Construction 41.08 17.08 14.13 2.67 0.28 293
Manufacturing 24.01 6.68 4.33 2.03 0.32 68
Wholesale Trade 24.81 16.11 9.48 3.07 3.55 142
Retail Trade 28.33 12.30 3.02 4.37 426
Transportation & Warehousing 11.38 5.43 4.02 1.15 0.26 99
Information 11.81 5.50 2.77 2.23 0.49 42
Finance & Insurance 30.30 15.51 9.81 5.09 0.61 158
Real Estate & Rental 48.99 34.64 3.98 25.22 5.44 174
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services 24.10 14.92 12.72 1.92 0.28 204
Management of Companies 3.67 2.08 1.68 0.37 0.03 17
Administrative & Waste Services 9.63 5.63 4.54 0.94 0.15 150
Educational Services 3.50 1.98 1.81 0.14 0.03 58
Health & Social Services 31.12 19.29 16.46 2.58 0.25 372
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 3.90 2.48 1.54 0.62 0.32 54
Accommodation & Food Services 14.15 7.44 5.10 1.50 0.84 226
Other Services 11.61 6.11 4.59 1.04 0.49 196
Government & non-classified 36.58 33.98 28.79 5.18 0.00 455
Total 703.20 416.01 211.08 182.59 22.34 5,633
/ Florida sod production area has grown since 2003, but harvested area has
/ Nearly half of sod production occurs in the south-central region of Florida.
/ A large majority of growers report reduced demand for sod in 2007.
/ All firm sizes experienced a reduction in harvest ratios.
/ Market share has increased for bahiagrass and zoysiagrass, and decreased for
St. Augustinegrass and centipedegrass.
/ Sod prices received have increased for bahiagrass, centipedegrass and
bermudagrass, but have decreased for zoysiagrass.
/ Harvest value of sod reached $320 million in 2007.
/ Large and very large sod farms have increased market share.
/ Sod-related services and other (non-sod) production activities represent an
increasing share of total income.
/ Total economic impacts of sod production in Florida in 2007 included $736
million in output, $435 million in value added, and 5,891 jobs.
American FactFinder. 2008. Population growth rates in the United States. Available at
Beard, James B. 1973. Turfgrass Science and Culture, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs,
Cisar, J.L. and J.J. Haydu. 1991. Adjustments in market channels and labor in the Florida sod
industry. Journal ofAgribusiness 9(2): 33-40.
Haydu, J.J., A.W. Hodges and C.R. Hall. 2006. Economic impacts of the turfgrass and lawncare
industry in the United States. University of Florida/IFAS Extension Publication FE632.
Available at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FE632.
Haydu, J.J., L. N. Satterthwaite and J.L. Cisar. 1998. An economic and agronomic profile of
Florida's sod industry in 1996. Economic Information Report El 98-7, Food & Res. Econ.
Dept, IFAS, UF.
Haydu, J.J., L. N. Satterthwaite and J.L. Cisar. 2002. An economic and agronomic profile of
Florida's sod industry in 2000. Economic Information Report EIR 02-6, Food & Res. Econ.
Dept, IFAS, UF.
Haydu, J.J., L. N. Satterthwaite and J.L. Cisar. 2005. An economic and agronomic profile of
Florida's sod industry in 2003. Food & Res. Econ. Dept, IFAS, UF.
Infoplease. 2008. Population by State, 1790 to 2007. 2000-2007 Pearson Education,
publishing as Infoplease. Oct. 2008. Available at
Minnesota IMPLAN Group (MIG). 2007. IMPLAN Professional V2, Economic Impact and
Social Accounting Software, and Data for Florida Counties. Stillwater, MN.
Steinback, S. 2004. Using ready-made regional input-output models to estimate backward-
linkage effects of exogenous output shocks. Review of Regional Studies, 34 (1): 57-71.
Turgeon, A. J. 1985. Turfgrass Management. Reston Publishing Co., Reston VA.
USDA/ERS. 1997. Financial Performance of U.S. Commercial Farms, 1991-94. Agricultural
Economic Report Number 751.
Watson, P., J. Wilson, D. Thilmany, and S. Winter. 2007. Determining economic contributions
and impacts: What is the difference and why do we care? Journal of Regional Analysis and
Policy 37 (2): 140-146. http://www.irap-joural.org/pastvolumes/2000/v37/F37-2-6.pdf
The following pages are the mail survey instrument.
Dear Florida Sod Producer**:
Good day to you!
This survey is being conducted by the University of
Florida/IFAS to provide economic information for the
Florida sod industry and is sponsored by the Florida Sod
Growers Co-op. This survey is also available on the
web. If you would prefer to respond via the on-line
internet survey, please send an email to Loretta
Satterthwaite at lorettan(@iufl.edu to request that option.
In this survey, questions are asked about your
FLORIDA sod production operation in 2007, unless
otherwise noted. Please limit your responses to Florida
only, even if you have operations out-of-state. All
individual responses will be kept strictly confidential;
only averages or totals for all survey respondents will be
Please answer the questions to the best of your
ability. Your participation is voluntary. There is no
compensation nor anticipated risks for participating in
this survey. If you have your financial and management
records at hand, the survey should take no longer than
Thank you for your time and cooperation. We
appreciate it and look forward to receiving your
completed survey in the near future.
**If you are not a sod producer, please inform us of
such in the comments area (inside back cover) and
mail this back to us or send an email to Loretta at
lorettan(@iufl.edu, and we'll remove your name
from the mailing list. Thanks, we appreciate your
UFT^ UNIVERSITY of
Florida Sod Production in 2007
John J. Haydu and John L. Cisar
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Mid-Florida and Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Centers
Please circle the letter or fill in the blanks as appropriate for
each item. When completed, use tape to seal the booklet, and drop
it in the mail (postage is provided). Thank you for your time and
1. Is this business currently active in producing sod in
5. How many acres of sod did you harvest in Florida in 2006?
6. How many acres of sod did you harvest in Florida in 2007?
7. In 2008, do you plan to change the number of acres that
you had in sod production in Florida in 2007?
Yes, change acreage
No, stay the same
8. If yes, how do you plan to change the number of acres that
you have in sod production in Florida in 2008?
Increase acreage by
** See introduction
OR Decrease acreage by
2. How many years has this company been in the sod
3. How many acres of sod did you have in production in
Florida in 2006? acres produced
4. How many acres of sod did you have in production in
Florida in 2007? acres produced
9. What percentage of your total production is each of
these major grass types (enter percentage for those that
apply; answers must sum to 100%).
Bahia ............ %
Bermuda. ........... %
Seashore Paspalum ..... %
St. Augustine.......... %
Zoysia. .......... . %
other............ ... %
10. If you grow Bahiagrass, what percent of it is each of the
following cultivars? (Enter percent for those that apply;
answers must sum to 100%.) In the price column, please
enter your average farm gate selling price (in cents) per
square foot (e.g. if 6 cents, enter '6'; if 8.5 cents, enter
Bahiagrass Type Percent Avg. price
Argentine. ........ %
Bahiagrass total 100%
11. If you grow Bermudagrass, what percent of it is each of
the following cultivars? (Enter percent for those that
apply; answers must sum to 100%.) In the price column,
please enter your average farm gate selling price (in
cents) per square foot (e.g. if 6 cents, enter '6'; if 8.5
cents, enter '8.5').
Bermudagrass Type Percent Avg. price
Tifdwarf. ......... %
Tifeagle ........... %
Tifsport ........... %
Tifway ............ %
Bahiagrass total 100%
12. If you grow Centipedegrass, what percent of it is each of
the following cultivars? (Enter percent for those that
apply; answers must sum to 100%.) In the price column,
please enter your average farm gate selling price (in
cents) per square foot (e.g. if 6 cents, enter '6'; if 8.5
cents, enter '8.5').
Centipedegrass Type Percent Avg. price
Tifblair ........... %
other ............ %
Centipedegrass total 100%
13. If you grow Seashore Paspalum, what percent of it is
each of the following cultivars? (Enter percent for those
that apply; answers must sum to 100%.) In the price
column, please enter your average farm gate selling
price (in cents) per square foot (e.g. if 6 cents,enter '6'; if
8.5 cents, enter'8.5').
Sea. Paspalum Type Percent Avg. price
Aloha ............ %
Salam ............ %
Seaisle 1........... %
Seaisle 2000 ........ %
Seaisle Supreme..... %
other ............ %
Sea. Paspalum total 100%
14. If you grow St. Augustinegrass, what percent of it is each
of the following cultivars? (Enter percent for those that
apply; answers must sum to 100%.) In the price column,
please enter your average farm gate selling price (in
cents) per square foot (e.g. if 6 cents,enter '6'; if 8.5
cents, enter '8.5').
St. Augustine Type Percent Avg. price
Bitterblue .......... %
Delmar .......... %
Floratam ......... %
Palmetto. ......... %
Raleigh .......... %
Sapphire. ......... %
Seville ............ %
St. Augustine total 100%
15. If you grow Zoysiagrass, what percent of it is each of the
following cultivars? (Enter percent for those that apply;
answers must sum to 100%.) In the price column, please
enter your average farm gate selling price (in cents) per
square foot (e.g. if 6 cents, enter '6'; if 8.5 cents, enter
Zoysiagrass Type Percent Avg. price
Cashmere .......... %
Empire ........... %
Meyer. .......... %
Palisades ........... %
Ultimate. .......... %
other ............ %
Zoysiagrass total 100%
16. What percent of your total Florida sod farm acreage is
located in each map area (enter percentage for each that
applies; answers must sum to 100%). [These 'area' codes
are merely used to designate regions and are not the only
area codes in the map regions shown.].
561, 954, 305, etc............
Total acreage of sod farms
17. How many people work for you in a turfgrass-related
capacity in each of the following categories?
a) Full time b) Part time
18. In general, is your farm becoming more mechanized?
a) Yes, more mechanized
b) Staying the same
c) No, less mechanized
19. FOR EACH ACRE (43,560 ft2) of the following grass
types that you produce, roughly how many square feet
are sold (per acre) at each harvest, and how many
harvests are made per year?
Grass Type Harvested ft 2 Harvests
St. Augustine ........
20. What percent of your harvested sod is stacked by each of
these methods? (Answers must sum to 100%.)
Totally automatic machine stacked %
Semi-automatic (machine + hand stacked) %
Hand stacked %
21. What percent of your sod is harvested in each of the
following ways? (Answers must sum to 100%.)
Big rolls (6 ft)
Mini-rolls (4 ft)
25. What percent of your total sales from production in Florida
is shipped out of state?
26. What percent of your total market is located in each of the
following distances from you? (Answers must sum to
22. To whom do you sell your sod? (Please specify
percentages for those that apply. Answers must sum to
a) Within 50 miles
b) 50 to 100 miles
c) Over 100 miles
27. After ci
Broker (calls & arranges sales). .......... ...2. Ae
Re-wholesaler (takes delivery/redistributes) ...... shipmei
Commercial or residential developers .......... a) Ship
Independent retail garden centers ..............
Big box store garden centers b) Ship
Landscape services (installation/maintenance) c) Ship
Golf courses and/or sports/athletic fields
Homeowners d) Del
Total 100 % 28. Do you
24. Compared to 2005-2006, has the market demand for
turfgrass in your area .... a) Yes
a) Increased Ifno, o
b) Stayed the same
c) Decreased a) Yes
hitting and stacking, when is your sod shipped to its
ion? (Please indicate the percentage of total
nts in each category. (Answers must sum to 100%.)
ped same day %
ped next day
ped in 2 days
yed more than 2 days
own your own trucks) for shipping sod?
r if yes and you also hire other trucks, is it difficult
n a truck when you need it?
31. What percent of quality-reducing damage occurs to sod at
each of the following locations? (Answers must sum to
In the field
After buyer receives it %
32. How do you determine what price to charge for your sod?
Please rank your top four considerations from 1 to 4. (1
used most often, 2 = used second most often, etc.)
Cost of production
Highest price market will bear
Selling price of "others"
33. Which of the following statements best characterizes your
answer to the question "Do you offer your customers any
type of guarantee or quality assurance policy?"?
a) No guarantee is offered. Once the sod is loaded on the
truck or delivered to the customer, the farm's
b) The sod is guaranteed to be free of defects, including
being reasonably free of weeds and pests. Problems
must be reported within 24 hours of delivery and/or
installation. In the event of a problem, the farm's
replacement policy covers product only.
c) The sod is guaranteed to be free of defects, including
being reasonably free of weeds and pests, and is
guaranteed to grow if maintained properly by the
customer. Problems must be reported within 15 days.
In the event of a problem, the farm's responsibility
policy covers product only.
d) The sod is guaranteed to be free of defects, including
being free of weeds and pests, and is guaranteed to
grow if maintained properly by the customer.
Problems must be reported within 15 days. In the
event of a problem, the farm's replacement policy
covers product, freight, and labor.
Quality of my sod
Other (please specify below)
Revenue and Expenses
34. Please indicate the percentage of your business' total
annual sales generated by the following categories.
(Please specify percentages for those that apply.
Answers must sum to 100%.)
Sod production ..................
Sod-related distributor (shipping)
Sod-related farm supplier (equip.,
fert., pesticides, etc.)..........
Sod-related landscape contract
Food production (cattle, citrus, dairy,
Ornamentals production (bedding
plants, foliage, woodys, cut
foliage, etc.) ...............
Other (please specify). ...........
35. Which category best describes your total FLORIDA farm
gate TURF sales in 2006? (Choose appropriate range.)
a) Less than $100,000
b) $100,000 $249,999
c) $250,000 $499,999
d) $500,000 $999,999
e) $1,000,000 $1,999,999
f) $2,000,000 $3,999,999
g) $4,000,000 $5,999,999
h) $6,000,000 $7,999,999
i) $8,000,000 $9,999,999
j) $10,000,000 or more; please specify the amount (rounded
to the nearest million).
These next few items will be divided into three major categories:
1) Production Expenses;
2) Administration/Sales/Marketing Expenses; and
3) Sod Installation (Landscape) Expenses.
The total expenses from these three sections will add up to 100%.
Each of these categories is further divided into subcategories;
percentages of the subcategories will equal 100% of the total
percent that the category contributes to total expenses [e.g. as
shown below, Admin/Sales/Marketing is 35% of total (100%)
expenses; its subcategories add up to 35% of the total, but will add
up to 100% for the admin/sales/marketing portion.]
Estimated Percent of Cost per Acre
Attributed to Various Activities
Total of 3 major category activities = 100%
Landscape Actvities 20%
Production Acdvlles 45.%
36. What percent of your business' total costs PER ACRE are
attributable to each of these three major categories? (Total
must sum to 100%.)
% PRODUCTION EXPENSES
(production-related salary, labor & office costs;
land preparation; fumigation; planting;
maintenance; irrigation; harvesting; contracting
associated with production/harvesting; royalties;
other production-related expenses)
% ADMINISTRATION/SALES/MARKETING EXPENSES
(admin/sales/marketing salaries & labor; related
office expenses; advertising; transport; contracting;
other related expenses)
% SOD INSTALLATION EXPENSES
(sod/landscape services-related salary, labor &
office costs; design & installation; maintenance;
other related costs)
I All other labor costs 62.
Total of all activities in a major category = 100%
37. Please estimate, as closely as possible, the percent of your
business' total PRODUCTION-RELATED EXPENSES attributable
to each of the following activities. (Do NOT include initial site
preparation, e.g. stump removal, ditch construction, irrigation
and pump installation, etc.) Include all materials, supplies and
machinery costs lease cost, capital cost, depreciation and
equipment operating costs (e.g. fuel, oil, maintenance &
repair). The total must equal 100%.
% MANAGER/OWNER SALARY for production activities
% All LABOR costs (full, parttime & seasonal) for all
production activities such as those listed in the next
% Land preparation (weed control, cultivation,
% Planting (sod &/or seed + equipment operating
% Production maintenance (mowing, fertilizing,
pesticides, herbicides, etc.)
% Irrigation (water/pumping costs e.g. maintenance
% Harvesting costs (equipment operating costs,
% Contracting costs associated with
% Office expenses related to production
% Other production activities expenses (please
38. Please estimate, as closely as possible, the percent of your
business' total ADMINISTRATIVE/SALES-RELATED EXPENSES
attributable to each of the following activities. Include all
materials, supplies and machinery costs lease cost, capital
cost, depreciation and equipment operating costs (e.g. fuel, oil,
maintenance & repair). The total must equal 100%.
% MANAGER/OWNER SALARY for
S% All LABOR costs (full, parttime, & seasonal) for all
administration/sales/marketing activities such as
those listed in the next 5 items.
S% Marketing & Administration (sales, collections,
phone/fax, office supplies, etc.)
S% Transport costs
S% Contracting costs (transport, etc.)
% Other administration/sales/marketing activities
expenses (please specify)
39. Please estimate, as closely as possible, the percent of your
business' total SOD INSTALLATION-RELATED expenses
attributable to each of the following activities. (Include all
materials, supplies and machinery costs lease cost, capital
cost, depreciation and equipment operating costs (e.g. fuel, oil,
maintenance & repair). The total must equal 100%.
% MANAGER/OWNER SALARY for sod installation
% All labor costs (full, parttime & seasonal) for sod
installation activities such as those listed in the next
% Landscape design & installation
% Landscape maintenance
% Office expenses related to sod installation services
% Other landscape services activities expenses (please
Individual Business Problems
40. Please rank the 3 most serious problems facing your
individual business. (Mark only 1 per column.)
FINANCIAL PRESSURES (e.g. fuel
costs, insurance costs, labor
costs, taxes, etc.)
LABOR ISSUES (e.g. deficient
production skills, inability to
hire enough workers, etc.)
weeds, mole crickets/insects,
weather, maintenance of sod
in field, etc.)
(e.g. loss of methyl bromide,
water restrictions on
dealing with government
41. Please rank the 3 most serious problems facing the
FLORIDA TURFGRASS INDUSTRY. (Mark only 1 per
FINANCIAL PRESSURES (e.g.
insurance costs, production
costs, economic slowdown,
low market prices, increase
in number of farms, etc.)
LABOR ISSUES (e.g. lack of
skilled labor, general
availability of workers, etc.)
(e.g. overproduction, price
undercutting, lack of
consumer education, etc.)
PRODUCTION-RELATED (e.g. sod
quality, state certification,
grasses, insects and weed
(e.g. water issues, loss of
land, pesticide labeling,
environmental concerns, etc.)
You have completed the survey. Thank you! Your cooperation is
If you have questions that you would like to have considered for
the next survey or comments that you would like to make, please
indicate them below.
Thank you for your participation!
An Ag ron om ic an d Eco n om ic Pro fil e of Flor idas Sod Ind ustry i n 2007 L. N. Satter thwaite, A. W H odges, J.J. Ha y du and J.L. Cisar Fl or i da A gr i c ul t ur a l Expe r i m e nt St a t i ons Flor i da C oo per at i ve E xt ensi on Ser vi ce Food & Res our c e Ec onom i c s D e pa r t m e nt M i d-Fl ori da R ese ar ch and Ed ucat i on C ent er Fe br ua r y 200 9
i A n A g ro n o m ic a n d E co n o m ic P ro fi le o f F lo rid a s Sod I ndus t r y i n 20 07 L .N. Satterthwa ite, A.W. Hodge s, J .J Hay du and J.L Cisar University of F lorida, I nstitut e of F ood and Ag ricultural Scienc es M i d F l o r i d a R e s e a r c h a n d E d u c a t i o n C e n t e r A p o p k a F L, F o o d a n d R e s o u r c e E c o n o m i c s D e p a r t m e n t G a i n e s v i l l e F L, P lan et Fi rst Re so urce s, Tam pa, FL and Ft. L aud erda le R esea rch a nd Ed ucat io n C ent er, Ft L aud erda le, FL AB S TR ACT I nf or ma tio n is pr e se nte d o n p ro du c tio n, e mpl oy me nt, ma rk e tin g p ro du c t qu a lit y a nd pr ic e a s a result of a mail and interne t survey of the F lorida sod industry for the y ear 2007, the fifth in a series of survey s since 1992. Total sod produc tion in Florida wa s estimated to be 103,923 ac res in 2007. Fifty -one pe rce nt of Florida sod acr eag e wa s St. Augustineg rass of w hich 81 per cent was the F loratam va riety while B ahiag rass c omprised 33 per cent of sod in production and bermuda g rass a nd zoy siag rass we re a t 7 perc ent and 5 pe rce nt, respec tively The majority of sod pr od uc tio n w a s in c e ntr a l F lor ida H a rv e ste d s od a c c ou nte d f or 60 pe rc e nt o f t he so d in production and small-sized fa rms harve sted the hig hest perc entag e of the ir production ac res (72%) The in-f ield value f or all var ieties totaled $514 million, whil e har vested sod wa s valued a t $3 20 mil lio n, ba se d o n in du str y -a ve ra g e pr ic e s. L e ve ls o f m e c ha niza tio n in c re a se d f or a ll far m siz es and f ull-time employ ment decr ease d over the last three y ear s for a ll farm sizes. The survey showed that while 70 pe rce nt of all produce rs expected to maintain or inc rea se cur rent sod production, some produc ers f rom eve ry siz e g roup intended to de cre ase the ir sod production. To ta l e c on omi c imp a c ts o f s od pr od uc tio n in F lor ida in c lud ing mul tip lie r e ff e c ts f or loc a l su pp ly chain pur chase s and consumer spending by employ ee house holds, were estimated at $703 million in output or sales reve nues, $416 million i n value a dded (pe rsonal and busine ss net income), $22 mil lio n in ind ir e c t bu sin e ss t a xes t o s ta te a nd loc a l g ov e rn me nts a nd 5, 63 3 jo bs K EY WORDS : sod production, Florida harve sted sod, far m siz e, mec hanization, farm income, fa rm e xpe ns e s, ma rk e tin g s hip pin g e mpl oy me nt, e c on omi c imp a c ts Acknow ledgem ents : This resea rch w as sponsored by a g rant fr om the Florida Sod Grower s Cooperative, L abelle, F L The a uthors wish to recog nize the cooper ation of the many Florida sod g rowe r firm owne rs and mana g ers who r esponded to the sur vey and shar ed their infor mation. The e conomic impact a naly sis was conduc ted by Dr. Thomas J. St evens a t the University of Florida
ii TABLE OF CON TENTS A B S T R A C T .................................................................. i I N T R O D U C T I O N .............................................................. 1 M E T H O D O L O G Y ............................................................. 2 R E S U L T S ................................................................... 3 B u s i n e s s T e n u r e ........................................................... 3 S o d A r e a G r o w n a n d H a r v e s t e d ............................................... 3 F a r m S i z e a n d V a r i e t a l C o m p a r i s o n s ........................................ 5 R e g i o n a l P r o d u c t i o n i n F l o r i d a ............................................. 6 A c r e s H a r v e s t e d ......................................................... 6 Pr od uc t ion of Spe c if ic Tu rf g ra ss V a ri e tie s. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 S o d P r i c e s a n d H a r v e s t V a l u e ............................................... 1 1 M a r k e t i n g ............................................................... 1 2 H a r v e s t i n g ............................................................ 1 2 S h i p p i n g .............................................................. 1 3 S o d D i s t r i b u t i o n C h a n n e l s ................................................ 1 3 C o s t s o f P r o d u c i n g a n d M a r k e t i n g S o d ........................................ 1 4 P r i c e D e t e r m i n a t i o n ....................................................... 1 6 C o m p o n e n t s o f F a r m I n c o m e ................................................ 1 7 S o d Q u a l i t y .............................................................. 1 8 E m p l o y m e n t a n d M e c h a n i z a t i o n ............................................. 1 9 F i r m a n d I n d u s t r y P r o b l e m s ................................................. 2 0 ECO NOMI C CONTRI BU TI ONS OF T HE F L ORI DA SOD I NDUSTRY TO THE STATE. . 2 3 C O N C L U S I O N S ............................................................. 2 6 R E F E R E N C E S .............................................................. 2 6 A P P E N D I X ................................................................. 2 7
iii LIST OF TA BLES Table 1. N umber of sur vey responde nts, production acr eag e re ported in ea ch size g roup and c a l c u l a t e d e x p a n s i o n f a c t o r s 2 0 0 7 ........................................ 3 T a b l e 2 T o t a l a r e a o f s o d g r o w n i n F l o r i d a i n 2 0 0 7 b y f a r m s i z e a n d g r a s s v a r i e t y. . . . . . 5 T a b l e 3 T o t a l p r o d u c t i o n s h a r e o f s o d g r o w n i n F l o r i d a f r o m 1 9 8 7 t o 2 0 0 7 b y g r a s s v a r i e t y. . 6 T a b l e 4 S o d a r e a h a r v e s t e d i n F l o r i d a i n 2 0 0 7 b y f a r m s i z e a n d g r a s s v a r i e t y. . . . . . . . 7 Table 5. A rea of sod g rown a nd harve sted, by far m siz e, in 2007. . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 T a b l e 6 S t A u g u s t i n e g r a s s p r o d u c t i o n i n 2 0 0 7 p r e s e n t e d b y f a r m s i z e a n d g r a s s v a r i e t i e s .. . 1 0 Table 7. P roduction ac rea g e and sha re of varie ties of major g rass ty pes g rown in F lorida in 2007 ................................................................... 1 0 Table 8. S od far m acr eag e, per cent ha rvested, pr ice pe r squar e foot, a nd harve st value in Florida i n 2 0 0 7 b y m a j o r g r a s s v a r i e t y ........................................ 1 1 Table 9. A vera g e per cent of total expenses per a cre attributed to specif ic ac tiviti es in 2007. . 1 5 Table 10. Full-time, par t-time, seasona l and total employ ment fig ures f or var ious-siz ed sod f a r m s i n 2 0 0 7 ........................................................ 2 0 T a b l e 1 1 S u m m a r y o f e c o n o m i c c o n t r i b u t i o n s o f t h e s o d i n d u s t r y i n F l o r i d a 2 0 0 7 .. . . . . 2 4 Table 12. Economic c ontributions of the Florida sod industry in 2007, by ag g reg ate industry g r o u p .............................................................. 2 5 LI S T OF FI GU RES F i g u r e 1 T y p e s o f g r a s s e s g r o w n i n F l o r i d a i n 2 0 0 7 a s a p e r c e n t o f t o t a l p r o d u c t i o n .. . . 4 Fig ure 2. Reported a cre s of sod production in var ious reg ions in Florida in 2007. . . . . . 7 Fig ure 3. V arie tal perc ent share s of St. Augustineg rass total produc tion in Florida in 2007. . . 9 F i g u r e 4 S o d r o l l s o d s l a b s a n d a t r u c k l o a d e d w i t h s o d r e a d y f o r s h i p p i n g .. . . . . . . . 1 3 Fig ure 5. D epiction of to whom F lorida sod produc ers sold their pr oduct in 2007. . . . . . 1 4 Fig ure 6. C onsiderations made by Florida sod produce rs in 2007 when de termining the selling p r i c e o f s o d ......................................................... 1 7 Fig ure 7. Partitioning of f arm income by Florida sod produce rs in 2007. . . . . . . . . 1 8 Fig ure 8. W eig hted re sponses of surve y participa nts when aske d about the thre e most important pr ob le ms f a c e d b y the re sp on de nt s b us ine ss. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1 Fig ure 9. W eig hted re sponses of surve y participa nts when aske d about the thre e most important p r o b l e m s f a c i n g t h e s o d i n d u s t r y ........................................ 2 2
Se n i or St at i s t i ci an M i dFl or i da Res ea r ch a n d Educ at i on Cen t er Apopk a, FL, 2725 B i n i on Road, Apopk a, FL 1 327038504, t el ( 407) 8842034, f ax ( 407) 8146186, e mai l l or et t an @ u f l edu E xt ens i on Sci ent i s t U ni ver s i t y of Fl ori da, I ns t i t ut e of Foo d and Agr i cul t ur al Sci enc es Foo d and Resour ce 2 E c o n o m ic s D e p a rtm e n t, G a ine sv ill e F L 3 2 6 1 1 t e l (3 5 2 ) 3 9 2 -1 8 8 1 f a x (3 5 2 ) 3 9 2 -3 6 4 6 em a il aw h odg es @ u f l edu S e n io r P a rtn e r, P la n e t F irst R e so u rc e s, 1 0 0 4 0 B ro m p to n D r., T a m p a F lo rid a 3 3 6 2 6 t e l (3 5 2 ) 4 8 3 -1 0 5 2 em a il 3 j hay du@ com cas t net P ro fes so r, F t. L a u d e rd a le R e se a rc h a n d E d u c a tio n C e n te r, te l (9 5 4 ) 4 7 5 -8 9 9 0 f a x (9 5 4 ) 4 7 5 -4 1 2 5 em a il 4 j l ci @ u f l edu A n A g ro n o m ic a n d E co n o m ic P ro fi le o f F lo rid a s Sod I ndus t r y i n 20 07 L .N. Satterthwa ite A.W. Hodge s J .J Hay du and J.L Cisar 12 3 4 IN TR OD UC TIO N Results of a compre hensive e conomic impact study of the e nvironmental horticulture or g ree n industry in the United States in 2002 (Hay du et al., 2006) unde rscor ed the diver sity and m a g n i t u d e o f t h e s o d i n d u s t r y. T h i s s t u d y c o n s i d e r e d a l l a s p e c t s o f t h e t u r f g r a s s i n d u s t r y including sod pr oduction, lawnca re se rvice s, lawn and g arde n reta il stores, lawn equipment ma nu fa c tur ing a nd g olf c ou rs e s, a ma jor ind us tr y tha t r e lie s o n ma na g e d tu rf g ra ss. Tu rf g ra ss industry employ ment was 823,000 jobs, of whic h the sod production industry contributed a bout 17,000 (2%) Ex presse d in 2005 dollars, U.S. turf industry total output revenue s were $57.9 billion (B), va lue adde d impacts wer e $35.1 B labor income impacts wer e $23.0 B and indirec t business tax impacts to local and state g overnme nts were $2.4 B. Tota l employ ment impacts of the turfg rass industry in Florida w ere 83,944 jobs, and value a dded impacts we re $3.3 B which we re se c on d o nly to C a lif or nia in t he U. S. Florida rema ined the four th most popul ous state in the U.S. with 18.2 mill ion people in 2007 (Inf o p l ea s e, 2 0 0 8 ), b u t i t s gro wt h ra t e h as s l o we d t o n ea rl y o n eh al f o f t h at o f f o u r y ea rs ago (Amer ican F actF inder, 2008). Coupled w ith the economic c onditions facing most of the country in 2007, this caused a de cre ase in the housing marke t in Florida I n 2008 the fifth in a se ries of U niversity of F lorida surve y s on sod production and mar keting was c ompleted. The pur pose of this study was to provide sod businesse s, allied firms, industry le a de rs u niv e rs ity re se a rc he rs a nd sp e c ia lis ts, a nd sta te po lic y ma ke rs wi th c ur re nt a g ro no mic and ec onomic information on this important ag ricultural se ctor. This re port beg ins with a dis c us sio n o f t he me tho do log y e mpl oy e d in the su rv e y a nd the n e xami ne s r e se a rc h f ind ing s in the ar eas of production, employ ment, marke ting, pr oduct quality /price infor mation and per ceive d fi rm a nd ind us tr y -l e ve l pr ob le ms. Th e re po rt c on c lud e s w ith a n a na ly sis of the tot a l e c on omi c impacts of sod produc tion in Florida.
2 ME TH OD OL OGY The population of g rowe r firms for the < Florida Sod Production S urvey 2007 wa s constructe d from seve ral sourc es the F lorida Turf g rass Assoc iation membership, member s of the Flor ida Sod Growe rs Coopera tive, names provide d by County Ex tension Ag ents, and a c omp ila tio n f ro m pr e vio us lis ts o f s od pr od uc e rs T he ob je c tiv e s w e re to d e ve lop a s c omp le te a nd a c c ur a te a lis t a s p os sib le a nd to o bta in i nf or ma tio n f ro m a sta tis tic a lly re pr e se nta tiv e sa mpl e of fi rm s. Due to the qua ntity of informa tion requested, ma il survey s were the instrument of choic e; ho we ve r, be c a us e of pr e vio us re qu e sts th is y e a r t he su rv e y wa s a lso pr e se nte d o nlin e fo r t ho se who wished to complete it in that manner. Thre e mailing s were conducte d, at roug hly twomon th i nte rv a ls b e g inn ing in M a rc h 2 00 7. On e hu nd re d th ir ty -n ine qu e sti on na ir e s w e re se nt i n the first mailing ; however with numerous additions and subtrac tions to t he mailing list, t he number of a ctual sod produc ers on the list was r educe d to 107. The most common rea sons for e lim ina tio n f ro m th e lis t w e re fi rm s h a d g on e ou t of bu sin e ss, a dd re sse s w e re un de liv e ra ble (addr essee unknown or for war ding or der e x pired), or responde nts did not fit our definition of a sod produce r they wer e plug produce rs or in a business r elated to sod such a s distributi on, landsca pe ser vices, or a nurser y business that sold sod. A total of 59 completed surve y s were eventua lly returne d (either on-line or by postal delivery ) by firms that wer e cur rently producing so d, re pr e se nti ng a 55 pe rc e nt r e sp on se ra te fr om t he ma ili ng lis t. To fac ilitate comparisons over time, the survey was de signe d to be consistent with three ear lier surve y s; however this y ear some previous que stions were r eplac ed with new que stions that might shed lig ht on other important aspe cts of the sod industry The que stionnaire wa s divided into four major sec tions production, marketing product qua lity and firm a nd in d u s tr y p r o b le ms B a s e d o n a c r e s in p r o d u c ti o n s o d f a r ms w e r e g r o u p e d in to f o u r s iz e c a te g or ie s sma llsize d f a rm s p ro du c e d 1 to 4 99 a c re s, me diu msize d f a rm s p ro du c e d 5 00 to 999 acr es, larg e-sized fa rms produce d 1,000 to 1,999 acr es and ve ry larg e-sized fa rms produce d 2, 00 0 o r m or e a c re s. Results of the 2007 survey indicate that 59 g rowe rs produc ed appr ox imately 73,000 acr es of sod in 2007 (Table 1) Howeve r, since the survey response s did not repre sent total industry pr od uc tio n, se ve ra l pr oc e du re s w e re us e d to de ve lop a n in du str y -w ide e sti ma te F ir st, a s in previous y ear s, we a ssumed that our mailing list was only partially complete, by previous estimations, probably only about 85% c omplete allowing for a n additional 18 missed g rowe rs, which would br ing the total number of g rowe rs to 125. Second, by compar ing r eturne d questionnaires w ith the population lis ts, it was determined tha t nine of ten produc ers in the very larg e c ateg ory those with more than 2,000 a cre s of sod wer e included w ithin the survey sample. These g rowe rs ar e also c ommonly known by other produc ers a nd state trade associations who furthe r conf irmed numbers in this class. With the very larg e g roup ac counted f or, the re ma ini ng 65 no nre sp on din g or no nc on ta c te d p ro du c e rs we re a ssu me d to c omp ri se 44 sma ll (68%) 17 medium (26%) a nd 4 larg e-sized firms (6% ). This assumption was base d on the authors w orking knowledg e of the industry input from produce r assoc iations, and rec og nition that in most agr icultural sec tors, larg ersiz ed firms tend to produc e the major ity of output. Adding the non-re sponding f arms to ea ch size cate g ory (e.g small firms: 34 + 44 = 78), the n dividing by the number of orig inal responde nts in each f arm size, an expansion fac tor was g e ne ra te d f or e a c h g ro up (e .g s ma ll: 78 pr od uc ing fa rm s 3 4 r e sp on din g fa rm s = 2. 29 ). Th e se
3 fig ures we re the n used to expand the sample ag g reg ates for all major var iables estimated ( i.e. the total reporte d for e ach f arm-size ca teg ory (small, medium, larg e, and ve ry larg e) w as multipli ed by its respec tive expansion factor ( 2.29, 3.125, 1.50 and 1.11) to a scer tain the over all total for eac h far m-size categ ory (re porting firms plus non-repor ting or non-conta cted f irms). For example, small-siz ed fa rms repor ted 8,059 ac res in produc tion; mul tiply ing tha t number by the expansion factor of 2.29 g ives an expande d production ac rea g e for small-siz ed fa rms of 18,455 acr es (se e total for sma ll-siz ed firms in Table 2). Tab le 1. Number of surve y responde nts, production acr eag e re ported in ea ch size g roup and ca lculated e x pansion fac tors, 2007. F a rm size (a c re s) Ac re age repor ted Number of re sp on de nts Nu mbe r o f f a rm s Ex pansion fac tor Small (1499) 8,059 34 78 2.29 Medium (500999) 5,128 8 25 3.125 L arg e (10001999) 9,919 8 12 1.50 Ver y larg e ( $ 2000) 49,603 9 10 1.11 Total 72,709 59 125 To e ns ur e tha t on ly a c tiv e so d p ro du c e rs wo uld pr ov ide su rv e y inf or ma tio n a nd so oth e rs did not spend their time nee dlessly filling out the surve y instrument, the first question asked if the fi rm wa s c ur re ntl y a c tiv e in p ro du c ing so d in F lor ida I n th e on -l ine su rv e y o nly tw o f ir ms responde d with a no. With the hardc opy survey we ha d no way to tell whether the nonresponde nts were firms who we re not a ctively eng ag ed in sod production in Flor ida and did not return the survey or whe ther they simply did not wish to participate. RE SUL TS B usi nes s T enure Survey results indicated tha t 41 perc ent of the r espondents had be en in business at lea st 20 y ear s, rang ing f rom 20 to 57 with an ave rag e of 27 y ear s. Forty -three perc ent of the r emaining responde nts had bee n in business for 6 to 10 y ear s, thirty -one pe rce nt for 11 to 19 y ear s and tw e nty -t hr e e pe rc e nt f or 1 to 5 y e a rs Sod A rea G row n and H arves t ed Producer s were asked to pre sent production and ha rvest ac rea g es for both 2006 and 2007 and their plans re g arding production in 2008. Results showed that 2007 production had inc rea sed by nine per cent ove r produc tion in 2006, but harvested ar ea in 2007 ha d decr ease d by 17 perc ent from 2006. While 60 perc ent of g rowe rs wer e not g oing to c hang e their pr oduction acr eag e, ten perc ent planned to incr ease their ac res in produc tion by an ave rag e of 34 pe rce nt (rang ing f rom
4 Fig ure 1 Ty pes of g rasse s g rown in F lorida in 2007 as a pe rce nt of total production. 6.9% to 100%). This g roup included no pr oducer s from the lar g e or ve ry larg e-size ca teg ories. Thirty perc ent intended to dec rea se their pr oduction acr eag e by an ave rag e of 29 pe rce nt (rang ing from 8.5% to 89%) Producer s in all siz e ca teg ories we re in this g roup, which inc luded 56 perc ent of the ve ry larg e-sized fa rms, 38 perc ent of both the lar g ea nd medium-sized firms and 21 pe rc e nt o f t he sma llsize d e nte rp ri se s. I nformation on F lorida sod produc tion by g rass ty pe in 2007 is shown g raphic ally in Fig ure 1. Mo re de ta ile d in fo rm a tio n is pr e se nte d in Ta ble 2 o n to ta l so d a c re a g e f a rm size a nd g ra ss varie ties. Using the appropr iate expansion fac tors, total sod produced in F lorida in 2007 was e sti ma te d to be 10 3, 92 3 a c re s. Of thi s to ta l, 5 1 p e rc e nt ( 52 ,9 37 a c re s) wa s c omp ri se d o f S t. Au g us tin e g ra ss ta rg e te d p ri ma ri ly fo r t he ho me ow ne r m a rk e t. T he ma rk e t sh a re of St. Au g us tin e g ra ss h a s d e c lin e d f ro m a bo ut 6 4 p e rc e nt i n 2 00 0 a nd 20 03 a nd fr om 7 2 p e rc e nt i n 1996 (Ha y du, et. al., 1998, 2002, 2005). Ba hiag rass produc tion, at 33 perc ent (34,104 a cre s), incre ased ne arly ten per cent f rom the 24 perc ent share it held in 2003, at least partially due to the continued c onstruction of new roads a nd the re furbishment of e x isting roa ds and hig hway s by Florida s Depa rtment of Tra nsportation. B a hia g ra ss i s u se fu l a s a ro a ds ide c ov e r b e c a us e it i s h ig hly dr ou g httol e ra nt, re qu ir e s li ttl e ma int e na nc e a nd w ith its de e p r oo t sy ste m, o ff e rs e ff e c tiv e e ro sio n c on tr ol. Be rmudag rass a nd centipede g rass, c ommonly used for sports and athletic f ields, repr esente d seven pe rce nt (7,663 ac res) and thre e per cent ( 3,244 acr es), r espec tively Z oy siag rass c omprised five pe rce nt (5,249 ac res) and, thoug h it holds a minor share of the marke t, has repla ced centipede g rass a s the fourth most produce d g rass in F lorida in 2007. Fina lly the produc tion area of se a sh or e pa sp a lum (6 86 a c re s) u se d p ri ma ri ly fo r g olf c ou rs e s, wa s ju st u nd e r o ne pe rc e nt.
5 T a b l e 2 T o t a l a r e a o f s o d g r o w n i n F l o r i d a i n 2 0 0 7 b y f a r m s i z e a n d g r a s s v a r i e t y. z y Far m si ze Acr es i n pr odu ct i on S t. A u g u stine B a h ia B e rm u d a C e n tip e d e Z o ysia Se ashore P aspalum O t her T o t al Sha re Sma l l 9, 713 672 4, 495 1, 963 1, 000 611 0 18, 454 18% M edi u m 10, 850 3, 016 1, 250 219 691 0 0 16, 026 15% La r g e 7, 495 3, 806 698 1, 062 1, 743 75 0 14, 879 14% V er y l ar g e 24, 879 26, 609 1, 221 0 1, 816 0 39 54, 564 53% T ot al 52, 937 34, 103 7, 664 3, 244 5, 250 686 39 103, 923 100% Sh ar e 50. 9% 32. 8% 7. 4% 3. 1% 5. 1% 0. 7% 0. 0% 100. 0% es t i mat es r epre s ent ex panded val ues f r om s ur vey s amp l e. z sm a ll: 0 4 9 9 A ; m e d ium : 5 0 0 9 9 9 A ; l a rg e : 1 ,0 0 0 1 ,9 9 9 A ; ve ry la rg e : $ 2, 00 0 A y F ar m Siz e and V ar ie ta l C om par iso ns Fa rms comprising the larg est size categ ory (2,000 acr es or more ) continued to incr ease their shar e (53% ) of total industry output in 2007, up from le ss t ha n a thi rd in 2 00 0 a nd jus t un de r o ne -h a lf in 2 00 3. Al l ot he r s ize c la sse s c on tin ue d to reduc e their sha re of total production. Th e la rg e fa rm size c a te g or y (1 ,0 00 1 ,9 99 a c re s) w ho se pr od uc tio n f e ll f ro m 29 pe rc e nt i n 2000 to 16 perc ent in 2003, slowed its decline but still lost another two perc ent of produc tion sh a re in 2 00 7. Ma rk e t sh a re fo r m e diu msize d f ir ms w a s r e du c e d b y tw o p e rc e nt a lso w hil e share for the sma llest class of produc ers showe d the smallest reduc tion during the period fr om 20 03 to 2 00 7 a nd los t on ly on e pe rc e nt. For the smallest far ms, the share of St. Aug ustineg rass of the ir total g rass produc tion rema ined at nea rly one-ha lf (53%) from which it devia ted only in 2000 when its share rea ched 65 perc ent. B ahiag rass pr oduction share by the small far ms (4%) r eac hed a low ne ver r eporte d since these survey s beg an. B ermuda g rass shar e incr ease d to 24 perc ent in 2007, up from 15 perc ent in 2003 and ce ntipedeg rass de clined to 11 per cent of production shar e in 2007. F or me diu msize d f ir ms, St. Au g us tin e g ra ss p ro du c tio n a t 68 pe rc e nt r e tur ne d to n or ma l fr om i ts p e a k a t 87 pe rc e nt i n 2 00 3. B e rm ud a g ra ss p ro du c tio n s ha re re ma ine d n e a rl y the sa me (8 %) a s it ha d b e e n in 20 03 A dr a ma tic inc re a se oc c ur re d in the pr od uc tio n s ha re of ba hia g ra ss for this size categ ory as it rose to 19 per cent in 2007 fr om one per cent in 2003 and the share of zoy sia g ra ss p ro du c tio n n e a rl y do ub le d to fo ur pe rc e nt i n 2 00 7 f ro m ju st o ve r t wo pe rc e nt i n 2003. Firms in the lar g e ca teg ory also experience d notable cha ng es in the shar e of g rass va rieties g rown. St. Aug ustineg rass produc tion of which g rew from 59 per cent in 2000 to 80 per cent in 2003, which wa s near ly back to its 1996 level of 83 pe rce nt continued its back a nd forth and dropped to 50 pe rce nt of production in 2007. B ahiag rass produc tion, which was not re ported from any g rowe rs in the larg e size cate g ory in 2003, was re ported a t 26 perc ent, ver y near the repor ted produc tion share of 33 perc ent in 2000. Be rmudag rass produc tion remained low ( 5%), while ce ntipedeg rass fe ll to seven perc ent in 2007. Finally the share of St. Aug ustineg rass by the larg est produce rs dec lined to 46 perc ent, af ter pe a kin g a t 73 pe rc e nt i n 2 00 0. On the oth e r h a nd b a hia g ra ss p ro du c tio n c on tin ue d to inc re a se
6 and re ache d 49 perc ent in 2007. This is up from a mere 15 perc ent in 1996. Other g rass va rieties fo r p ro du c e rs in t his c a te g or y ha ve re ma ine d in sig nif ic a nt o ve r t he pa st 2 0 y e a rs Th e pe rc e nt s ha re of e a c h g ra ss p ro du c e d b y the ind us tr y ov e r t he pa st 2 0 y e a rs is s ho wn in Ta ble 3. Sin c e St. Au g us tin e g ra ss i s p ri ma ri ly us e d f or ho me la wn s, it i s n ot s ur pr isi ng tha t it has held the la rg est share of produc tion since inception of these survey s. Wi th the decline in the housing ma rket in 2006, there was a larg e downturn in produc tion share of St. Augustine, with an incre ase in shar e of ba hiag rass, whic h is often produc ed as ba hiag rass pa stures and is har vested for sod less fr equently Other g rass va rieties hold a much lowe r per centa g e shar e of the marke t a nd re ma in r e la tiv e ly ste a dy wi th o nly sli g ht f luc tua tio ns thr ou g h th e y e a rs T a b l e 3 T o t a l p r o d u c t i o n s h a r e o f s o d g r o w n i n F l o r i d a f r o m 1 9 8 7 t o 2 0 0 7 b y g r a s s v a r i e t y. Y e a r o f so d su rv e y Sh ar e of pr odu ct i on St Augu s t i ne B ahi a B er muda C ent i pede Zoys i a Seas hor e Paspal um O t her 1 9 8 7 5 5 .6 % 4 0 .3 % 2 .5 % 1 .0 % 0 .2 % n /a n /a 1 9 9 6 7 2 .1 % 1 0 .3 % 7 .8 % 9 .2 % 0 .5 % n /a n /a 2000 65. 4% 22. 6% 5. 7% 3. 7% 1. 9% n / a 0. 6% 2003 64. 2% 23. 6% 5. 8% 4. 6% 1. 3% n / a 0. 4% 2007 50. 9% 32. 8% 7. 4% 3. 1% 5. 1% 0. 7% 0. 0% Regional P roduction in F lorida. Placement of sod far ms in the state was obtaine d by asking survey responde nts to note in which of eig ht map reg ions, roug hly based on te lephone a re a c od e s, the ir fa rm s w e re loc a te d. Un e xpa nd e d a c re a g e loc a te d b y thi s p ro c e du re is s ho wn in Fi gu re 2 an d s u gges t s t h at n ea rl y h al f ( 4 9 %) o f t h e t o t al p ro d u ct i o n o cc u rs o n t h e F l o ri d a r i d ge down the middle of the south half of the state. T his would allow fairly rapid tra nsport to the g rowing populations along both coasts in the southern pa rt of the state Another 20 pe rce nt of repor ted produc tion occurs in the r apidly g rowing 407' are a in the ea st-centr al re g ion of the state. Acr es Harve sted Acr es of sod ha rvested in 2007 by g rass ty pe and f arm size are prese nted in Table 4. Ne arly 63,000 acr es of sod we re ha rvested of which just over ha lf (57 per cent) was St. Augustineg rass. Know ledg e of a cre s harve sted is useful for c alculating turnover r ates, or the rela tionship between sale s and inventory (ra tio of harve sted to produce d acr es) f or a g iven y ear Production eff iciency is related to two f actor s, net are a stocke d per a cre (g ross are a minus are as taken up by roads, dr ainag e ditches/c anals a nd g rass lef t in ribbons for re -propa g ation) and the a mou nt s old re la tiv e to t he a mou nt p ro du c e d a s in fl ue nc e d b y ma rk e t de ma nd St ri c tly fr om a technica l standpoint, net production are a per acr e should be re latively constant fr om y ear -to-y ear except during extended periods of hig h rainfa ll or droug ht. The for mer c ould impair harve sting activities and the la tter could ne g atively impact both the supply and dema nd for sod. Mar ket demand a lso influences qua ntities harvested in a g iven y ear During periods of strong demand, the total harve stable ar ea should be harve sted and sold.
7 Fig ure 2. Repor ted ac res of sod production in various re g ions in Florida in 2007. T a b l e 4 S o d a r e a h a r v e s t e d i n F l o r i d a i n 2 0 0 7 b y f a r m s i z e a n d g r a s s v a r i e t y. F arm S i ze (ac res) A cr es H ar ves t ed St Augu s t i ne B ahi a B er muda C ent i pede S. pas pal um Zoys i a T ot al Sma l l ( 0499) 7, 849 620 3, 568 579 360 398 13, 374 M edi u m ( 500999) 6, 123 2, 453 898 109 0 425 10, 008 La r g e ( 1, 0001, 999) 4, 510 3, 390 401 538 35 1, 175 10, 049 V er y l ar ge ( $ 2, 000) 17, 022 10, 226 830 0 0 1, 063 29, 141 T ot al 35, 504 16, 689 5, 697 1, 226 395 3, 061 62, 572 H a r v es t ed Per ce n t of Produ ct i on 67% 49% 74% 38% 58% 58% 60% z Total perc ent of produc tion (60%) is weig hted by multipl y ing the perc ent of produc tion z harve sted for e ach ty pe of g rass by the per cent of total production planted in that par ticular ty pe of g ra ss.
8 Gi ve n th e c os ts o f p ro du c ing so d, fa rm e rs sh ou ld s tr ive to m a ximize inv e nto ry tur no ve r t o reduc e unit costs, incre ase pr ofitability and avoid the r isk of compromising pr oduct quality For example, most S t. Aug ustineg rass va rieties in Flor ida ca n be produc ed and r eady to sell within 9 12 months. However an inability to sell sod that has rea ched a marke table stag e incr ease s e xpe ns e s th ro ug h c os ts i mpo se d b y ro uti ne ma int e na nc e s uc h a s f e rt ili zat ion w e e d a nd pe st c on tr ol, ir ri g a tio n a nd mow ing T his is p a rt ic ula rl y tr ue fo r S t. A ug us tin e g ra ss, wh ic h is susceptible to root dec line (Turg eon, 1985). This root die-ba ck a dverse ly aff ects the visual qu a lit y of St. Au g us tin e g ra ss a nd th e re fo re th e g ra ss i s g e ne ra lly no t so ld u nti l ne w r oo t g ro wt h beg ins in the spring, imply ing a 3to 4-month dormanc y period. Conseque ntly sound ma na g e me nt p ra c tic e s w ou ld e nc ou ra g e a tim e ly a nd tho ro ug h h a rv e sti ng of ma tur e so d f ie lds to a vo id u nn e c e ssa ry ma int e na nc e c os ts. Fa rm Har vesting Effic iency Over all, 60 perc ent of a ll sod that was g rown wa s harve sted, althoug h the per centa g e var ied consider ably acr oss varieties. Centipede g rass wa s harve sted at the lowest ra te, 38 per cent of production, followed by bahiag rass, whic h was ha rvested a t 49 perc ent. Howe ver, ba hiag rass wa s the only g rass that showe d an incr ease in harve st perce nt of production more tha n doubling the ha rvest per cent ( 24%) of 2003. Most farms tend to foc us on St. Augustineg rass, whic h has a br oad-ba sed marke t for new home construc tion and reso dd ing e xistin g ho me s, e njo y s a fa ir ly sta ble pr ic e a nd is r e la tiv e ly e a sy to s e ll. St. Aug ustineg rass a lso has the hig hest harve st rate ( 67%), r ang ing f rom 81 perc ent of total pr od uc tio n f or sma llsize d f a rm s to 56 pe rc e nt o f t ota l pr od uc tio n f or me diu msize d f a rm s, w h i c h h a d t h e h i g h e s t h a r v e s t r a t e o f p r o d u c t i o n ( 8 7 % ) i n 2 0 0 3 Z o ys i a g r a s s w h i l e o n l y 5 perc ent of produc tion is also harvested a t a fa irly high r ate ( 58%). Sea shore pa spalum was also harve sted at 58 per cent of production, but it comprises just under one pe rce nt of the total pr od uc tio n in F lor ida A lth ou g h th e se g ra sse s h a ve a muc h n a rr ow e r m a rk e t, t he y a re the hig he st price d g rasse s g rown in F lorida. To better unde rstand har vesting prac tices of pr oducer s, responde nts were asked w hat per cent of ea ch ac re of sod g rown wa s harve sted. For all g rass va rieties, g rowe rs indicated the y harve sted an a vera g e of 77 pe rce nt, down slightly from the 80 pe rce nt of 2003, but the same a s the 78 per cent a vera g e in both 2000 and 1996. I n terms of spec ific g rasse s, they harve sted a pp ro xima te ly 88 pe rc e nt o f e a c h a c re of be rm ud a g ra ss, 80 pe rc e nt o f e a c h a c re of zoy sia g ra ss, 77 perc ent of e ach a cre of St. Aug ustineg rass, a nd 70 perc ent of e ach a cre of ce ntipedeg rass a nd ba hia g ra ss, le a vin g the re ma ini ng so d f or re g e ne ra tio n o f l a te r c ro ps Har vest ratios (Ta ble 5) for various-sized fa rms had a na rrowe r spre ad (53% 72%) than the y did in 2003 (58%80%), but still are not so na rrow a s they wer e in 2000 (63%75% ). F rom conver sations with indust ry leade rs, a 75 pe rce nt harve st rate is consider ed re asonable from an eff iciency standpoint. None of the f arm sizes were able to ac hieve that r atio in 2007, but the small-siz ed fa rms approa ched it with 72 per cent ha rvest ra tio. The very larg e fa rms, which achie ved only 58 perc ent har vest rate in 2003, declined e ven fur ther to 53 per cent in 2007, continuing a decline f rom 75 perc ent in 1996. Be cause sod is such a per ishable cr op, it is harvested on a n as-ne eded ba sis. Si nce the demand ha s b e e n r e du c e d b y the e c on omi c sit ua tio n, F lor ida s so d f a rm s a re ho ldi ng the ir so d in the fi e ld lon g e r, pu tti ng le ss a c re a g e ba c k in to p ro du c tio n, a nd g oin g to o the r c ro ps to s up ple me nt t he ir income.
9 Fig u re 3. V arie tal perc ent share s of St. Augustineg rass total production in Florida in 2007. Tab le 5. Are a of sod g rown a nd harve sted, by far m siz e, in 2007. Fa r m s i ze Acres g rown Acres harv ested Acres harv ested/ Acr es grown Total Av erag e pe r fa rm Total Ave r a ge pe r fa rm Sm all 18, 454 237 13, 374 171 72% Medium 16, 026 641 10, 008 400 62% Larg e 14, 879 1,2 40 10, 049 837 68% Very larg e 54, 564 5,4 56 29, 141 2,9 14 53% Total/All 103, 923 831 62, 572 501 60% P r oduc ti on o f Spe c ific Tur fgr as s V ar ie ti e s. St. Augustineg rass is the most widely used g rass in F lorida and, c onsequently the most economica lly important for the industry A var ietal br e a kd ow n o f S t. A ug us tin e g ra ss i s p re se nte d a s a pie c ha rt in F ig ur e 3 w ith de ta ils sh ow n in Table 6. F loratam wa s the most dominant variety produce d in 2007, comprising 81 pe rce nt (42,908 ac res) of total St. Augustineg rass produc tion. Far down the sca le, Classic was the se c on d mo st p op ula r v a ri e ty re pr e se nti ng jus t si x pe rc e nt ( 3, 10 0 a c re s) f oll ow e d b y Pa lme tto with five per cent ( 2,643 acr es) a nd Seville with four per cent ( 1,882 acr es). B itterblue rounde d out the top five St. Aug ustineg rass va rieties with just two perce nt (1,322 ac res) a dec line from its five perc ent share in 2003 with 2,773 acre s. Classic replac ed Common, which had be en s ec o n d wi t h n i n e p er ce n t i n 2 0 0 3 an d S ev i l l e s u rp as s ed b o t h Bi t t er b l u e a n d R al ei gh R al ei gh dropped f rom three perc ent in 2003 to only one per cent in 2007, its share status in 2000.
10 Ta ble 6. St. Au g us tin e g ra ss p ro du c tio n in 20 07 p re se nte d b y fa rm size a nd g ra ss v a ri e tie s. Far m si ze Acr es i n pr odu ct i on B i t t er bl ue C l as s i c Fl orat am P al met t o R al ei gh Sapp hi r e Sevi l l e O t her Sma l l 372 175 8, 502 338 0 94 199 30 M edi u m 62 0 9, 934 505 0 188 161 0 La r g e 263 17 5, 166 611 535 205 653 46 V er y l ar g e 625 2, 908 19, 306 1, 189 0 173 869 35 T ot al 1, 322 3, 100 42, 908 2, 643 535 660 1, 882 111 New in this y ear s survey was the inc lusion of questions to determine how much of the more popular va rieties of the other major g rasse s were being g rown. Production ac rea g e and sha re of the var ieties for e ach ma jor g rass ty pe g rown in F lorida in 2007 are g iven in Table 7. The siz e of the other ca teg ory in both seashore paspalum and zoy siag rass indica tes that the surve y omitted so me imp or ta nt v a ri e tie s in tho se g ra sse s. Ta b le 7. Pr od uc tio n a c re a g e a nd sh a re of va ri e tie s o f m a jor g ra ss t y pe s g ro wn in F lor ida in 2007. Grass ty pe/ Var ie ty Acres produ ced Share of g rass ty pe Grass ty pe/ Var ie ty Acres produ ced Share of g rass ty pe Bah iag rass St. Aug ustine Arg entine 27, 607 84. 0 % Bitterblu e 1 ,32 2 2 .5 % Pens acola 5 ,21 3 15. 9 % Classic 3 ,10 0 5 .8 % other 1 32 0. 1 % Floratam 42, 908 80. 7 % Berm udag rass Palm etto 2 ,64 3 5 .0 % Celeb ration 1,6 15 21. 3 % Raleig h 5 35 1 .0 % Com m on 1,3 95 18. 4 % Sapp hire 6 60 1 .2 % Tifdwarf 312 4. 1 % Sev ille 1 ,88 2 3 .5 % Tifway 4,2 76 56. 2 % other 1 11 0 .2 % Cen tipedeg rass Z oy siag rass Com m on 3,2 03 98. 7 % Em pire 4,2 29 81. 0 % Ham m ock 42 1. 3 % J am ur 419 8 .0 % Seash ore p aspalum Mey er 3 0 .1 % Aloh a 6 8 9 .9 % Ultim ate 401 7 .7 % Seaisle 1 1 5 2 .2 % other 168 3 .2 % Seaisle Sup rem e 6 0 8 .7 % Sead warf 289 42. 0 % other 255 37. 2 %
11 S o d Pri c e s and H ar ve s t V al ue F a rm g a te so d p ri c e s r e c e ive d b y pr od uc e rs in 2 00 7 a re sh ow n in Ta ble 8. Av e ra g e pr ic e s, weig hted by production volume, ra ng ed fr om a low 6.4¢ a squa re f oot for bahia g rass to a hig h of 27.9¢ a squar e foot for seashor e paspa lum. The price of St. Aug ustineg rass wa s in the middle of thi s r a ng e a t 12 .9 ¢ p e r s qu a re fo ot. I n g e ne ra l, s od pr ic e s w e re hig he r t ha n th os e re c e ive d in 2003. Aver ag e pric es we re use d to calcula te the value of the sod har vested in 2007. Ha rvest value the qu a nti tie s a c tua lly so ld i n 2 00 7, wa s e sti ma te d a t $3 20 mil lio n, up fr om $ 30 7 mi lli on in 2003. Six ty -two per cent of harve st value wa s attributable to St. Augustineg rass ($199 million), quite a dec rea se fr om its 85 percent sha re in 2003 a nd its 81 perce nt share in 2000 a nd 1996. Th is i s mo st p ro ba bly lin ke d to the ho us ing ma rk e t de c lin e a nd its c on c omi ta nt d e c re a se in de ma nd fo r S t. A ug us tin e g ra ss s inc e it i s th e mos t w ide ly us e d f or ho me la wn s. B a hia g ra ss marke t share jumped f rom a thre e per cent sha re in 2003 to a 15 pe rce nt share in 2007, bumping be rm ud a g ra ss t o th ir d w ith a n 1 1 p e rc e nt s ha re ; in 20 03 be rm ud a g ra ss w a s th e se c on d mo st valuable sod va riety with a six perc ent marke t share. Z oy siag rass more than tripled its 2003 marke t share of two and a ha lf perc ent and a ccounte d for e ight pe rce nt of the 2007 marke t share; most li kely attributable to the fa ct that some new development r estrictions requir e Empire zoy siag rass. Centipede g rass mar ket share was two pe rce nt and sea shore pa spalum, contributed one and a half pe rce nt market shar e in 2007. Ta b le 8. Sod fa rm a c re a g e p e rc e nt h a rv e ste d, pr ic e pe r s qu a re fo ot, a nd ha rv e st v a lue in F l o r i d a i n 2 0 0 7 b y m a j o r g r a s s v a r i e t y. Turfg rass v arieties T ota l ac re s (A) in produ ction Percen t of produ ction acres h arv ested Ran g e of pr ic es /f t 2 Ave r a ge pr ic e/ ft 2 Harv est v alue z $ m illions St. Aug ustine 52, 937 67% $0. 07$ 0.3 0 $0. 129 $199 .3 Bah ia 34, 104 49% $0. 025 $0. 10 $0. 064 $46. 6 Cen tipede 3,2 44 38% $0. 125 $0. 20 $0. 146 $7. 8 Berm uda 7,6 63 74% $0. 065 $0. 75 $0. 147 $36. 3 Z oy sia 5,2 49 58% $0. 12$ 0.3 5 $0. 187 $24. 8 S. paspa lum 686 58% $0. 19$ 0.3 5 $0. 279 $4. 8 Total 103, 883 $319 .7 Har vest value a ssumes perc ent of g ross production ac res sold base d on results of this study z c a lc u la te d a s [( p r o d u c ti o n a c r e s ( A ) p e r c e n t a r e a h a r v e s te d ) ( 4 3 5 6 0 f t /A p r ic e /f t ) ]. 22 Given the pr ice diff ere ntials across va rieties, one mig ht expect produce rs to conce ntrate on the hig hest-pric ed g rasse s; however littl e zoy siag rass a nd seashor e paspa lum were produce d e ve n th ou g h th e ir un it v a lue s e xce e de d St A ug us tin e g ra ss b y ne a rl y 45 a nd 11 6 p e rc e nt, respe ctively The a nswer e ssentially lies with basic ec onomics supply and dema nd, and potential marke t share. F rom the dema nd side of the e quation, St. Augustineg rass ha s been the pref err ed g rass for home lawns. St. Aug ustineg rass, a nd particula rly Flora tam, has dominated the
12 ma rk e t be c a us e it i s p e rc e ive d to ha ve de sir a ble pr od uc t a ttr ibu te s, su c h a s v isu a l a ttr a c tiv e ne ss, g ood rec upera tive potential, a ce rtain deg ree of utility conser ving the soil, allowing infiltration of wa ter a nd filtering of pollutants and ea sy maintenanc e. Althoug h St. Augustineg rass is not a pe rf e c t va ri e ty it ha s p ro vid e d th e se fe a tur e s mo re c on sis te ntl y ov e r t ime tha n o the r g ra sse s, hence it has succe eded in pr eser ving its ma rket shar e. Produc ers will natura lly be dra wn to the g ra ss t ha t is e a sie st t o s e ll w hil e sti ll p ro vid ing a re a so na ble a nd ste a dy pr of it. On the supply side of the e quation, y ield, costs and prof itability are the cr itical varia bles. Gra ss varieties diff er in y ields, but y ield eff ects on prof itability can be offse t by other fa ctors. The sod produc tion period is from har vest-to-ha rvest. A f ast-g rowing g rass such a s be rm ud a g ra ss h a s h ig h v a ri a ble c os ts d ue to t he e xten siv e us e of inp uts (f e rt ili zer p e sti c ide s, mow ing e tc .) ov e r a sh or t ti me fr a me So me tim e s tw o h a rv e sts of be rm ud a g ra ss a re a c hie va ble within a y ear as opposed to one f or St. Aug ustineg rass, ba hiag rass a nd zoy siag rass. The interval of sod produc tion also affe cts fixed costs (e.g ., land, buildings, a nd overhe ad or a dminist rative costs). Ge nera lly speaking shorter pr oduction periods imply highe r inventory turnover, imply ing further that fix ed costs on a unit basis (squa re f eet or y ards) will be reduc ed. Exceptional specie s such as zoy siag rass, whic h often re quires more intensive manag ement bec ause of g rea ter susceptibility to pest and disease s, in the long te rm will ge nera lly be more expensive to produce. Henc e, pric e is only one aspe ct re g arding the ec onomic fea sibili ty of sod produc tion. M ar ke t i ng Har ve st ing I n 2007, six ty -four perc ent of ha rvested sod w as mac hine-stac ked, mostly (58%) us ing a c omb ina tio n o f m a c hin e a nd ha nd -s ta c kin g Wh ile 26 pe rc e nt o f t he la rg e pr od uc e rs ha rv e st w a s a c c omp lis he d a uto ma tic a lly o nly tw o p e rc e nt o f t he ve ry la rg e pr od uc e rs h a rv e st wa s a uto ma tic A ll f a rm size s u se d th e c omb ina tio n me tho d f or a bo ut h a lf (r a ng ing fr om 4 5% to 64%) of their har vest. Some of the lar g er pr oducer s pref er to use la rg e tea ms of manual labor for stacking sod. Their re asoning is that, for larg e-sc ale ope rations, cur rent fa rm equipment is not c os te ff e c tiv e la rg e la bo r t e a ms c a n s ta c k a nd mov e so d mo re qu ic kly tha n mo st a uto ma tic harve sters (Cisar a nd Hay du, 1991). I n addition, labor often of fer s more wor king f lexi bility Since many worke rs ar e sea sonal, the fa rm does not incur so hig h an annua liz ed cost of production as it does with automatic ha rvester s. Purchase d machiner y become s part of a firms fix ed costs; thus, even w hen the e quipment is not i n use, the owne r is still pay ing f or it. On the other ha nd, g rowe rs ca n employ seasona l labor, as a varia ble cost of pr oduction, only when ne e de d. On ly the sma llsize d f a rm s u se d h a nd -s ta c kin g fo r t he ma jor ity (5 4% ) o f t he ir ha rv e st. A new que stion on the survey asked w hat ty pe of ha rvest wa s used big rolls, mini-rolls or slabs (F igur e 4). N inety -five pe rce nt of the har vest was slabs, with 37 per cent of all g rowe rs using slabs e x clusively Big rolls repre sented four perc ent of the ha rvest with 52 per cent of them fr om v e ry la rg e fa rm s a nd 39 pe rc e nt f ro m sm a ll f a rm s.
13 F ig ur e 4. Sod ro ll, so d s la bs a nd a tr uc k lo a de d w ith so d r e a dy fo r s hip pin g ( le ft to r ig ht) Shippi ng O n c e s o d is c u t a n d s ta c k e d 9 0 p e r c e n t o f it is s h ip p e d to it s d e s ti n a ti o n th e n e xt da y w ith the re ma ind e r b e ing sh ipp e d in tw o d a y s. On ly a fr a c tio n o f a pe rc e nt t a ke s lo ng e r t o be sh ipp e d. Th is p ra c tic e is d ue to t he hig hly pe ri sh a ble na tur e of c utso d. Sod s vu lne ra bil ity ma y a lso e xpla in t he re la tiv e ly hig h in c ide nc e of tr uc k o wn e rs hip 4 1 p e rc e nt o f r e sp on de nts indicated that they own their own tra nsportation equipment, down fr om 60 perc ent in 2003. Howeve r, two-thirds of those r esponding indicated that ther e wa s a problem obtaining trucks for so d d e liv e ry wh e n th e y we re ne e de d, up fr om o nly ha lf in 2 00 3. Sc he du lin g dif fi c ult ie s w ou ld l i k el y ar i s e d u ri n g t h e p ea k s el l i n g m o n t h s o f s p ri n g an d s u m m er wh en t ra n s p o rt d em an d i s h i gh fo r o the r a g ri c ult ur a l pr od uc ts a s w e ll. Distance to markets is a c ritical fa ctor for produce rs to consider. Sod is a he avy bulky item that require s prompt attention. These f actor s g rea tly impact the potential risk to both buy er a nd seller. The more distant the mar kets, the more e x pensive sod is to ship and the g rea ter the potential for post-ha rvest losses. Consequently produce rs locate d close to key marke ts have a clea r strate g ic adva ntag e over produce rs locate d far ther a way I n 2003, 75 perc ent of the g rowe rs repor ted that their mar kets wer e stay ing a pproxi mately the same distanc e fr om them and half of the re maining g rowe rs mar kets wer e moving closer a nd the other ha lf wer e moving far ther awa y Survey responde nts in 2007 reported tha t 48 perc ent of their ma rkets ar e within 50 miles (down fr om 59%) and a nother 34 pe rce nt of the marke ts (up from 29%) are betwee n 50 and 100 mil e s a wa y I n o the r w or ds mo st g ro we rs a re sti ll p os iti on e d o nly a fe w h ou rs fr om t he ma jor ity of their mar kets. Consistent with t he 2003 re sults, only 3 perc ent of sale s were repor ted as be ing shipped out of Flor ida in 2007. Sod D ist r ibut ion Cha nne ls The distribution of buy ers of Florida sod is presented in F igur e 5. For ty -four perc ent of sale s were made to landsc ape se rvice s, 21 perc ent wer e made to rewholesale rs, 15 per cent we re ma de to commer cial and r esidential deve lopers, and six perce nt wer e made to brokers. Sports-r elated a ctivities, independent g arde n cente rs, and homeow ners eac h consumed a bout four per cent of the sod sold, while far m-to-fa rm and big box g arde n cente r sa le s w e re e a c h a bo ut o ne pe rc e nt o f t ota l so d s a le s. Whe n a sk e d w he the r t he ma rk e t de ma nd in the ir a re a fo r t ur fg ra ss h a d c ha ng e d s inc e 20 05 2 00 6 a nd if so h ow 8 2 p e rc e nt o f r e sp on de nts repor ted a de cre ase in de mand.
14 Fig u re 5. D epiction of to whom F lorida sod produc ers sold their pr oduct in 2007. C os t s of P roduci ng and M arket i ng Sod I n o rd e r t o b e tte r u nd e rs ta nd c os ts o f b e ing in t he so d b us ine ss, wi tho ut a sk ing pr od uc e rs to spend extensive time review ing f inancial r ecor ds, responde nts were asked to e stimate the perc entag e of total c osts per ac re tha t are attributable to var ious gr owing -, marke tingand sod ins ta lla tio nre la te d a c tiv iti e s. Pr inc ipa l c os ts a sso c ia te d w ith the se a c tiv iti e s in c lud e ma te ri a ls, labor a nd equipment. The a vera g e per cent of expenses attributed to production-r elated activities was se venty -two and a half. Production ac tiviti es ar e the lar g est share beca use they repr esent on-g oing w ork that beg ins after planting a nd continues until harvest, a period of 612 mon ths d e pe nd ing on the g ra ss v a ri e ty Wh ile 88 pe rc e nt o f r e sp on de nts a ttr ibu te d s ome expenses to administration, sales and mar keting activities, the ave rag e per cent wa s only 20 perc ent. Thirty -six perc ent of re spondents had expenses re lated to sod installation activities and the ave rag e per cent of their total expenses was twe nty -seve n. F ur the r d e ta ils we re re qu e ste d in e a c h o f t he thr e e ma jor c a te g or ie s b y a sk ing re sp on de nts to delineate their expenses in sever al named c ateg ories and a n other cate g ory that could be specifie d by the g rowe r. Table 9 provides dollar a mounts and perc ent share attributed to ea ch of the de ta ile d e xpe ns e s in the thr e e ma jor e xpe ns e c a te g or ie s.
15 Table 9. A v erag e pe rcent o f total expen ses p er acre attributed to sp ecific ac tiv ities in 2007 Expe nse catego ry / Detailed exp enses D ol la r sh ar e P er ce nt s ha re Prod uction-re lated expen ses $226 ,02 5,3 09 74 .0 L ab or (f ul l pa rt t i m e and s easona l f o r al l pro d uct i o nrel at ed act i vi t i es) $56, 506, 327 25. 0 Prod uction (mo wi ng, f ert i l i zi ng, pe st i ci d es/ herbici d es, et c. ) $44, 753, 011 19. 8 Ha r ves t i ng (equipm ent op erat i ng co st s, pa l l et s, et c. ) $26, 670, 986 11. 8 I rrig ation (wat er/ p um p i ng co st se.g. m ai nt enance + f uel / el ect ri ci t y ) $21, 020, 354 9 .3 Manag er/ow ner sa laries (r el at ed t o pro d uct i o n act i vi t i es) $20, 568, 303 9 .1 Land prep aration (weed co nt rol, cul t i vat i o n, harr o wi ng, et c. ) $16, 951, 898 7 .5 Pl a nt i ng (s o d & / o r s eed + eq ui p m ent op erat i ng co st s) $15, 369, 721 6 .8 Office expen ses rela ted to pro duction $9, 267, 038 4 .1 Fum ig ation $6, 780, 759 3 .0 Con tracting cos ts (as sociat ed wi t h pro d uct i o n/ harvest i ng act i vi t i es) $2, 938, 329 1 .3 Roy alties $2, 486, 278 1 .1 Othe r prod uctionrelated expen ses $3, 164, 354 1 .4 Adm inistrative/Sa les/Marketing-r elated expen ses $58, 763, 891 19. 0 L ab or (f ul l pa rt t i m e and s easona l f o r al l ad m / sal es/ m arket act i vi t i es) $21, 801, 404 37. 1 Manag er/ow ner sa laries (r el at ed t o ad m i n/ sal es/ m arket i ng) $12, 399, 181 21. 1 Transportation $7, 933, 125 13. 5 Mark eting /adm in (s al es, co l l ect i o ns, pho ne/ f ax, s up p l i es, et c. ) $6, 522, 792 11. 1 Adv ertising $3, 760, 889 6 .4 Co nt r a c t i ng (t rans p o rt et c. ) $3, 173, 250 5 .4 Othe r adm inistrativ e/sales/m ark eting exp enses $3, 173, 250 5 .4 Sod installation -related expen ses $21, 870, 358 7.0 L ab or (f ul l pa rt t i m e and s easona l f o r al l s o d i nst al l rel at ed act i vi t i es) $13, 625, 233 62. 3 Manag er/ow ner sa laries (r el at ed t o s o d i nst al l at i o n act i vi t i es) $2, 558, 832 11. 7 Land scape desig n/installation $2, 318, 258 10. 6 Office expen ses rela ted to sod installation activ ities $2, 165, 165 9 .9 Land scape m aintenan ce $634 ,24 0 2 .9 Othe r land scape activ ities $743 ,59 2 3 .4 N o t a ll r es po nd en ts h ad th is ty pe o f ac ti v it y
16 Production-re lated labor acc ounted for one -quar ter (25% ) of total produc tion-relate d costs. Field maintena nce e x penses f ollowed closely with a 20 per cent sha re. H arve sting e x penses we re moved to the produc tion phase expenses on this survey (on the pre vious two survey s, it had been included under marke ting a s an a fter g rowth e x pense) and plac ed number three in cost with a 12 perc ent share of produc tion ex penses. Othe r principa l tasks consist of fer tiliz ation, pest and wee d control, mowing and irrig ation. Not surprising ly the majority of administration/sales/marke tingrela ted expenses (only 20% of the tot a l e xpe ns e s) we re a ttr ibu te d to sa la ri e s 37 pe rc e nt t o la bo r a nd 21 pe rc e nt t o manag ers/owne rs. Tra nsportation acc ounted for a nother 13.5 pe rce nt and sales a nd marke ting (i nc lud ing c oll e c tio ns of a c c ou nts re c e iva ble s) a ve ra g e d 1 1 p e rc e nt o f t he se ty pe s o f c os ts. For the 36 per cent of responde nts who had sod installation-rela ted expenses, labor a ccounte d for a lmost t wo-thirds (62% ) of those e x penses. Ma nag er/owne r salar ies (12%) desig n/ installation (11%) and of fice expenses (10%) require d another third of this ty pe of e x pense. Not surprising ly the larg est far m gr oup had the most expenses. Howe ver, be cause of the nu mbe r o f s ma ll f a rm s, tha t g ro up ha d th e se c on d la rg e st t ota l a mou nt o f e xpe ns e s. P ri ce D et erm i nat i on Producer s were asked how they deter mine the price they char g e for their produc t. They wer e g iven five c onsiderations plus an openended other cate g ory and aske d to rank their top f our considera tions in order of importanc e. A f irst-choice ranking was g iven four points, sec ondplace ranking rec eived thre e points, third place w as two points and fourth c hoice wa s score d as one point; then total number of points for e ach c hoice by all responde nts was adde d to determine the we ight assig ned to that choice (F igur e 6). I ntere stingly few er pr oducer s (26%) indica ted the se lling pric e of othe r produc ers as the princ ipal pricing method, but so many ranke d it as second ( 23%) or third (25%) tha t it achieved the highe st ranking overa ll (total weig hted ra nking of 134). Quality of my sod wa s classified f irst by 30 perc ent of g rowe rs and 21 pe rce nt ranke d i t a s s e c o n d s o o v e r a l l w e i g h t e d r a n k i n g w a s 1 2 5 T h e h i g h e s t p r i c e m a r k e t w i l l b e a r c a t e g o r y, newly added to the sur vey this y ear rec eived the hig hest perc ent (32) of first ranking s, but fewe r second a nd third considera tions and ranke d third in total weig hted points (120). Cost of production w as ra nked first by 23 perc ent of produc ers a nd had a total we ighte d points of 101. The other newly added c onsideration a vailability had a total weig hted ra nking of 77 points. S even pe rce nt of g rowe rs ra nked othe r c onsiderations in their top four f or a w eig hted total of only 9 points. These othe r c onsiderations included the location of the f ield to the job and the or der size and a bility of the c ustomer to pay quickly Given these results, it is appare nt tha t so d p ro du c e rs us e se ve ra l in te rre la te d me tho ds to a rr ive a t pr ic e s f or the ir pr od uc ts.
17 Co mp o n e n t s o f F a r m I n c o me I n 2007, only 21 perc ent of produc ers r eporte d that their sole sourc e of inc ome was sod pr od uc tio n, c omp a re d to 46 pe rc e nt i n 2 00 3 a nd 47 pe rc e nt i n 2 00 0. Th e pe rc e nt o f i nc ome derive d from sod produc tion in 2007 was 61 perc ent, compar ed to 73 per cent in 2003 (F igur e 7). Rou g hly on e -t hir d o f e a rn e d in c ome wa s f ro m r e la te d o r a lte rn a tiv e a g ri c ult ur a l bu sin e ss a c tiv iti e s. F oo d p ro du c tio n ( c a ttl e c itr us d a ir y a nd ve g e ta ble s) c on tin ue d to ma int a in a pp ro xima te ly the sa me pe rc e nt o f a lte rn a tiv e inc ome wi th 1 5 p e rc e nt, c omp a re d to 13 pe rc e nt i n 20 03 a nd 14 pe rc e nt i n 2 00 0. Sod -r e la te d s e rv ic e s c on tin ue d it s st e a dy ri se a s a n in c ome a lte rn a tiv e r e po rt e d a t 16 pe rc e nt i n 2 00 7, c omp a re d to 12 pe rc e nt i n 2 00 3 a nd nin e pe rc e nt i n 2000. These a ctivities included shipping ( 5%), landsc ape c ontrac t and/or maintena nce se rvice s (10%) and fa rm supplier of e quipment, fertilizers, pesticides, etc at just under one pe rce nt. Or na me nta l pl a nt p ro du c tio n, wh ic h f e ll f ro m th re e pe rc e nt i n 1 99 6 to on e pe rc e nt o f i nc ome in 2000 and just under one perc ent in 2003, maintained its level at just over one perc ent. An other s ca teg ory that included land lea sing, sug ar c ane pr oduction, sales of silag e fe ed, pine straw, e tc. and r eal e state/deve loper/commer cial prope rties incre ased f rom just over two per cent in 2003 to nearly seven a nd a half perc ent in 2007. Fig ure 6 Considerations made by Florida sod produce rs in 2007 when de termining the selling price of sod.
18 Fig ure 7. Partitioning of f arm income by Florida sod produce rs in 2007. (Da ta not weig hted by far m siz e.) S o d Q u a li ty Although tur fg rass qua lity is difficult to measure Be ard ( 1973) states that c hara cter istics of high qua lity turfg rass ha ve bee n established over the y ear s. The six basic c omponents of turfg rass qua lity he identifies a re: unifor mity density text ure, g rowth habit, smoothness and color. B ear d notes that the re lative importance of these f eatur es will vary acc ording to the purpose f or which the turf is to be used. I n a more g ener al sense, tur fg rass qua lity can be aff ecte d at any one (or all) of f ive major s t a g e s : t u r f g r a s s b r e e d i n g w h i c h d e t e r m i n e s t h e i n h e r e n t p h ys i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h e v a r i e t y; production and c ultural prac tices employ ed by the g rowe r; harve sting a nd stacking ; shipping and unloading ; and af ter the buy er r ece ives it. I n this study we we re inter ested in fa ctors other than phy sical prope rties. I n particula r, fr om the produce rs pe rspec tive, was qua lity compromised at so me po int on the fa rm or a ft e r t he pr od uc t w a s so ld a nd de liv e re d? Mor e ov e r, if da ma g e did occur prior to re ceipt by the buy er, a t what stag e(s) did it take place (during production, during harve sting a nd stacking or during shipping a nd unloading )? Although no a spect of the sod production/sales cy cle is without potential quality -re ducing da ma g e in 20 07 g ro we rs be lie ve d th a t 45 pe rc e nt ( do wn fr om 5 1% ) o f t he da ma g e oc c ur re d to sod after the buy er r ece ived it, leaving an opportunity for the g rowe rs/shippers to improve sod q u al i t y fo r a b o u t h al f t h e d am age d p ro d u ct Gr o we rs re s p o n d ed t h at 2 2 p er ce n t o f t h e d am age occur red in the f ield. This slight (3%) incre ase in in-thefield dama g e may ref lect slig htly more sever e we ather conditions than were experience d in much of F lorida in 2003. Dama g e occ urring
19 previous to the buy ers rec eiving it through ha rvesting and stac king ( 17%) incr ease d only two perc ent from r eporte d damag e in 2003 and shipping and unloading damag e incr ease d to 15 perc ent, re turning to approxim ately the same a s in 2000 after a dec rea se in 2003 to 12 perc ent. These r esults indicate that both produc ers a nd consumers a re r esponsible for r educing turf qu a lit y B ut m or e imp or ta ntl y it su g g e sts tha t be c a us e g ro we rs b y the ir ow n a dmi ssi on c a us e near ly half of a ll damag e to the turfg rass they sell, signific ant room for improvement still ex ists. As tut e g ro we rs c a n d ist ing uis h th e mse lve s in a c omp e tit ive ma rk e t by a dd re ssi ng so me of the se qu a lit y -c omp ro mis ing iss ue s. Perhaps a n indicator of the need f or improvement both bef ore a nd afte r the c onsumer rec eives the pr oduct is the g uara ntee/quality assura nce policy offe red. Thir ty -nine pe rce nt of responde nts offer a policy that g uara ntees the sod to be f ree of def ects, including being rea sonably fre e of w eeds a nd pests, and is g uara nteed to g row if maintaine d proper ly by the customer. Problems must be re ported within 15 day s. I n the eve nt of a proble m, the far ms re sp on sib ili ty po lic y c ov e rs pr od uc t on ly T hir ty -t wo pe rc e nt o f r e sp on de nts g a ve the sa me g uara ntee but allowe d only 24 hours af ter de livery and/or installation for notifica tion to the c omp a ny Si xtee n p e rc e nt o f r e sp on de nts of fe re d n o g ua ra nte e a nd 14 pe rc e nt o ff e re d th e sa me g uara ntee a s the most popular 15-day notification policy above e x cept that the f arm re place ment policy cover ed produc t, freig ht and labor. E m pl oy m ent and M echani zat i on As fa rm s b e c ome la rg e r i n r e sp on se to i nc re a sin g pr e ssu re s to re du c e pr od uc tio n c os ts, a g ri c ult ur e c on tin ue s to sh if t to wa rd s g re a te r m e c ha niza tio n. Th is i s d ue to t he fa c t th a t la bo r i n ag riculture nor mally acc ounts for a sig nificant shar e of total c ash expenses. This share can va ry from 15 per cent to 30 per cent, de pending on the size of firm and ty pe of c ommodity being produce d (USDA/ERS, 1997). Mecha nical devic es in ag riculture a re g ener ally desig ned for specific functions and f or spec ific cr ops. For e x ample, whe at har vesters c annot be use d for c orn a nd tom a to h a rv e ste rs c a nn ot b e us e d f or c ott on A dd iti on a lly th is s pe c ia lize d e qu ipm e nt i s a lso very expensive. To reduc e ca pital costs per unit of output, larg e-sc ale f arms empha siz e monoc ult ur a l pr od uc tio n s y ste ms t ha t c a n e ff ic ie ntl y us e thi s sp e c ia lize d e qu ipm e nt. L abor te nds to be much more ve rsatile than mac hinery and is used for more c omplex tasks. Henc e, labor use per acr e will be sig nificantly less for a larg e whe at fa rm than for a smaller f arm pr od uc ing sma ll q ua nti tie s o f d ive rs if ie d p ro du c ts. Sin c e so d is a mon oc ult ur a l c ro p, on e wo uld anticipate tha t there w ould be a sig nificant substitution of capital for la bor in its production. I ntere stingly this is not the ca se. Results of this study indicate that labor rema ins a critica l r e s o u r c e i n F l o r i d a s s o d p r o d u c t i o n i n d u s t r y. Unlike fruit and ve g etable pr oducer s who employ larg e number s of sea sonal worke rs, sod far ms have y ear -round pr oduction and maintena nce a ctivities and rely on perma nent labor. Reporting far ms employ ed 855 per manent wor kers, a vera g ing 14 f ull-time employ ees pe r fa rm. One hundr ed and thirte en par t-time worker s were employ ed by 43 perc ent of re porting firms, an aver ag e of 4.3 pa rt-timers for eac h firm with part-time he lp. As in 2003, twelve firms re ported the use of se asonal labor Howeve r, sea sonal labor in 2007 totaled 74 pe ople, only 60 perc ent of the number r eporte d in 2003. I n terms of fa rm size, the aver ag e use of perma nent labor r ang ed from a low of five pe rsons for small fa rms to a hig h of 41 employ ees f or the ve ry larg est far ms. On ly the la rg e -s ize d f a rm s r e po rt e d u sin g mor e fu lltim e e mpl oy e e s in 20 07 tha n th e y ha d in 2003. All siz es of f arms employ ed par t-time and sea sonal help in 2007, a c hang e fr om 2003
20 when the la rg e-sized fa rms did not employ any part-time or seasona l help. When expanding the e mpl oy me nt f ig ur e s to e nc omp a ss t he c omp le te so d in du str y th e nu mbe rs re fl e c t a sli g htl y differ ent patter n as see n in Table 10. The total number of f ull-time employ ees w as 1,426 and the aver ag e number of full-time employ ees w as ele ven. Total e mploy ment, including pa rt-time and seasona l employ ees, w as estimated a t 1,800 persons. The g rea test number of pe ople (30%) wer e employ ed by the small-sized farms, which ma ke up 62 per cent of the total number of f arms in the industry Medium-sized farms employ ed about one -fifth of the worke rs and the la rg ea nd very larg e-sized fa rms eac h employ ed about 25 pe rce nt of the work f orce Tab le 10. Full-time, pa rt-time, sea sonal and total employ ment fig ures f or var ious-siz ed sod far ms in 2007. F a r m s iz e Aver ag e number of worke rs employ ed F ull -t ime Pa rt -t ime Se a so na l To ta l Small 345 125 78 548 Medium 309 44 19 372 L arg e 366 51 22 439 Ver y L arg e 406 13 22 441 Total for industry 1,426 233 141 1,800 Aver ag e per far m 11.4 1.9 1.1 14.4 To obtain a more complete pictur e of the substitut ion of ca pital for labor a question wa s asked w hether the level of mecha nization had chang ed since 2003. Almost one-third (32%) of all survey ed firms indica ted their fa rms wer e more mecha nized now, while the re maining twothirds stated that the leve l of mecha nization had not chang ed. I n 2003, 67 perc ent of the la rg esiz ed fa rms repor ted an incr ease in mechanization and while they are still becoming more me c ha nize d, the pe rc e nta g e of fi rm s d oin g so wa s c on sid e ra bly le ss. Th ir ty -e ig ht p e rc e nt o f b oth the larg e-sized fa rms and the medium-sized fa rms repor ted the use of more mec hanization over the la st f e w y e a rs A s in 20 00 a nd 20 03 n o r e sp on de nt r e po rt e d a de c re a se in m e c ha niza tio n in 2007. F i r m a n d I n d u s t r y P r o b l e ms I n this last section of the survey five broa d are as that af fec t individual busi nesses a nd the e nti re ind us tr y we re lis te d a nd pr od uc e rs we re a sk e d to ide nti fy the thr e e mos t se ri ou s p ro ble ms they fac e as a n individual business and the three most serious challeng es that the industry fac es. These br oad ca teg ories had be en identified f rom previous surve y s as financ ial, productionrela ted, re g ulatory /environmental, pe rsonnel, and ma rketing Eac h responde nts most im portant problem counte d as 3 points, second most important problem was w eig hted as 2 points and the third most im portant problem wa s g iven 1 point. Point s score d for e ach pr oblem wer e then summed to give a we ighte d ranking Of the f ive broa d classifica tions, the most promi nent (a weig ht of 147) re lated to financ ial conce rns such a s fuel and insura nce c osts, ex cessive la bor
21 Fig ur e 8. Weig hted re sponses of surve y participa nts when aske d about the three most im portant problems fa ced by the re spondents bu sin e ss. c os ts, pr oh ibi tiv e e qu ipm e nt c os ts, fl y -b y -n ig ht c omp e tit ion a nd ta xes ( F ig ur e 8) T his wa s a lso the primary conce rn re g arding individual businesses of g rowe rs three seven a nd ten y ear s ag o. Marke ting or economic c oncer ns continued as a clea r sec ond-plac e proble m (85 ac cumulated points) as it was in 2003; in 2000, it nearly tied for se cond plac e af ter be ing f ifth-ra nked in 1996. Some marketing or ec onomic problems included a vailability of produc t, distributi on/delivery problems, answe ring questions and educ ating the public and g overnme nt, and re liable servic e such as ontime delivery and loading of deliver y trucks whe n they arr ive. With a weig ht of 51, 50 a nd 50 p ro du c tio nre la te d, pe rs on ne lre la te d a nd re g ula tor y /e nv ir on me nta l is su e s, respe ctively wer e nea rly equally of less conc ern to the individual firms. Production considera tions were se cond in 2000, but dropped to four th in 2003. Ty pical produc tion issues we re we e ds mo le c ri c ke ts a nd ins e c ts, we a the r a nd ma int e na nc e of so d in the fi e ld. Pe rs on ne lre la te d is su e s in vo lve d p ro ble ms l ike de fi c ie nt p ro du c tio n s kil ls o f w or ke rs a nd the ir ina bil ity to hire e noug h employ ees w ith a leg al status. Reg ulatory or environme ntal ty pe conc erns r anked la st i n b oth 20 03 a nd 20 00 a fa r c ry fr om i ts tie dfo rse c on d po sit ion in 1 99 6. Whe the r t his is from re signa tion or enlig htenment, it may indicate a capa city to work within the sy stem. Reg ulatory issues included the loss of methy l bromide, wate r re strictions at the rec eiving end and de a lin g wi th g ov e rn me nt a g e nc ie s.
22 Fig ur e 9. Weig hted re sponses of surve y participa nts when aske d about the t h r e e m o s t i m p o r t a n t p r o b l e m s f a c i n g t h e s o d i n d u s t r y. The five cate g ories identified f or firms ar e the sa me as the industry beca use of the inter rela ted nature of the issues; howeve r, the de lineation of the lowe r ca teg ory ranking s differ sli g htl y fr om t ho se of ind ivi du a l bu sin e ss c on c e rn s ( F ig ur e 9) T he re we re sig nif ic a nt c ha ng e s in ranking s in 2007 when compa red to 2003, the most obvious being the leap of financ ial conce rns fr om i ts t hir dpla c e ra nk ing in 2 00 3 ( wi th a sc or e of 55 ) t o it s o ve rw he lmi ng fi rs tpla c e ra nk in 2007 with a point acc umulation of 201. Marke ting issues moved f rom first in 2003 to second ra nk in 2 00 7 w hil e ma int a ini ng ne a rl y the sa me nu mbe r o f p oin ts a c c umu la te d ( 94 vs 9 8 in 2003). Mar keting issues included over production, price underc utting, lac k of adve rtising a nd competition. Reg ulatory /environmental issues moved f rom second to third be cause of the financ ial worrie s fac ing the industry ; reg ulatory /environmental issues included c oncer ns about re str ic te d s od us a g e be c a us e of wa te r s ho rt a g e s. Pe rs on ne l c on c e rn s mo ve d f ro m f if th p la c e in 20 03 to f ou rt h p la c e in t his su rv e y wi th a c c umu la te d p oin ts o f 3 8, jus t a he a d o f t he 30 po int s acc umulated by production issues. This last place position for production issues, which ra nked first in 2000 and 1996 and f ourth in 2003, indicates that produc tion is no l ong er a big c oncer n for t h e i n d u s t r y.
23 EC ON OM IC CO NT RI BU TIO NS O F THE F LOR ID A SO D I ND UST RY TO TH E STA TE To eva luate the e conomic contr ibution of Florida s sod industry to the States ec onomy the reve nues and e mploy ment associate d with the industry wer e applied to a n input-output model of the State using the I MPL AN ec onomic modeling sy stem (Minnesota I MPL AN Gr oup, I nc.). I MPL AN is a sy ste m of c omp ute r s of tw a re a nd da ta ba se s th a t c a n b e us e d to c on str uc t mathematica l models of reg ional economies, r ang ing f rom individual counties to multi ple states. These mode ls describe the re lationships and interac tions between va rious industries and ins tit uti on s o f a n e c on omy a nd c a n b e e mpl oy e d to pr e dic t ho w a c ha ng e in o ne se c tor wi ll imp a c t ot he r i nd us tr ie s a nd ins tit uti on s in the e c on omy a nd fo r t he e c on omy a s a wh ole T his pr oc e ss i s o ft e n r e fe rr e d to a s e c on omi c imp a c t a na ly sis Usually economic impac t analy sis is used to estim ate the c onsequenc es of a chang e of new dollars enter ing a n economy This may occur for e x ample, whe n tourists spend money for loca l amenities or whe n a new local industry exports it s products outside the re g ion. These ne w dollars g ener ate multiplier eff ects for a loca l or reg ional economy when dire ctly aff ecte d businesses purc hase inputs from the loc al supply chain a nd when e mploy ees a nd owner s of aff ecte d businesses spend their e arning s inside the reg ion. I n case s where the importance of an e xistin g ind us tr y is b e ing e va lua te d, it i s n e c e ssa ry to r e fr a me the c on te xt of the a na ly sis in t e rm s of the los se s to the e c on omy tha t w ou ld o c c ur if the ind us tr y dis a pp e a re d. Sin c e so d a nd mos t sod installation services a re a nece ssary input for the construc tion and landsca pe tra de, the loss of this indust ry would likely result in sod being imported from outside the State or a re duction in the va lue of ne w r e a l e sta te a nd re c re a tio na l a re a s. I f t ha t w e re to o c c ur th e n th e do lla rs us e d to pu rc ha se no nloc a l so d w ou ld l e a ve the Sta te s e c on omy or the va lue of re a l e sta te sa le wo uld decline, thus re ducing g ross state produc t and jobs. When the economic importanc e of a n industry or ac tivity is evaluate d under the se assumptions, it is more a ppropriate to refe r to the results as ec onomic contributions instead of ec onomic impacts (Watson et. al., 2007). To estimate the e conomic contr ibutions of Floridas sod industry for 2007, $320 million (M) in reve nues wa s applied to sector six (Gre enhouse, N urser y and F loriculture Produc tion) of an I MPL AN mod e l of the Sta te B a se d o n a n e sti ma te d e mpl oy me nt o f 1 ,8 00 fu ll a nd pa rt -t ime worke rs that y ear the annua l output (sales) per worke r in the I MPL AN model wa s increa sed fr om $ 10 2, 63 1 to $1 77 ,7 78 w hil e a nn ua l e a rn ing s p e r w or ke r w e re he ld a t $3 2, 58 5. B e c a us e the I MPL AN data set used for this analy sis was for the y ear 2007, no defla tion or inflation of the input values or re sults was nece ssary The re g ional purcha se coe fficie nt for the se ctor e valuated was set to zero to avoid ove restimation of impacts due to f orwa rd-linked se ctors (Steinbac k, 2004). All other pa rame ters for the I MPL AN model we re le ft at their de fault setting s. Results of the I MPL AN ana ly sis are pr ovided in Tables 11 a nd 12. Direc t, indirect, induce d and total ec onomic contributions to the States economy in 2007 are prese nted in Table 11, f or output, value adde d, labor income other prope rty income, indirec t business tax es, and employ ment. I n Table 12, the estimated contributions g ener ated by the sod industry are prese nted for 20 a g g reg ated industry g roups def ined ac cording to the North Amer ican I ndustry Classification Sy stem (NAI CS).
24 Table 11. Summary of ec onomic contributions of the sod industry in Florida, 2007. Activity eff ect leve l Output Total value added L abor inc ome Other pr op e rt y ty pe inc ome I ndirec t bu sin e ss taxes Employ ment Milli on $ J obs z Direc t 320.00 184.45 58.65 122.28 3.52 1,800 I ndirec t 61.72 38.17 27.27 7.77 3.13 977 I nduced 321.47 193.38 125.15 52.54 15.69 2,856 Total 703.20 416.01 211.08 182.59 22.34 5,633 Es tim a te d jo bs inc lud e s f ull -t ime p a rt -t ime a nd se a so na l po sit ion s. z Direc t contribution effe cts repr esent the a dditional revenue s, value a dded, income, ta x es and job s g e ne ra te d d ir e c tly by ind us tr y a c tiv ity wi thi n a stu dy a re a I nd ir e c t a nd ind uc e d e ff e c ts re su lt f ro m su bs e qu e nt r ou nd s o f l oc a l sp e nd ing c re a te d a s a c on se qu e nc e of the ini tia l ( dir e c t) sales. I ndirec t effe cts occ ur as businesse s purcha se inputs from local suppliers, w hich g ener ates additional reve nues, income, a nd jobs for the States e conomy I nduced e ffe cts occ ur whe n the households of employ ees a nd business owners spe nd their ea rning s for c onsumer g oods and s e r v i c e s i n t h e l o c a l e c o n o m y, t h e r e b y g e n e r a t i n g a d d i t i o n a l e c o n o m i c a c t i v i t y. Output repre sents the total value of sales or r evenue s g ener ated dire ctly and indirec tly by an industry The dire ct output contribution of the sod industry for 2007 is equa l to indust ry sales of $320 milli on. I ndirec t output contributions were e stimated at nea rly $62 milli on, and induce d output contributions were va lued at $321.5 million. The total output contribution of Floridas sod industry is the sum of the direc t, indirect and induc ed ef fec ts and is estimated to be $703.2 milli on (Table 11). Value a dded contr ibutions represe nt labor income, business pr ofits, other prope rty ty pe income and indire ct business taxes that are g ener ated dire ctly and indirec tly by industry -re lated activity The va lue adde d impact for the sod industry on Florida was e stimated to total $416 milli on. The diff ere nce be tween output and va lue adde d contributions is the value of intermediate inputs of goods a nd service s used to produce sod, such as wa ter, fe rtiliz er, pesticides, fue l, etc. L abor inc ome is the component of va lue adde d that repr esents ea rning s by e mpl oy e e s a nd ow ne rs of bu sin e sse s in or a ff e c te d b y the so d in du str y a nd wa s e sti ma te d to e qu a l $2 11 mil lio n O the r p ro pe rt y ty pe inc ome c on sis ts o f r e nts r oy a lti e s, int e re st, div ide nd s, a nd c or po ra te pr of its ; a c tiv iti e s r e la te d to the so d in du str y g e ne ra te d $ 18 2. 6 mi lli on of the se ty pes of c ontributions for Florida in 2007. I ndirec t business tax contributions are estimates of how much excise, prope rty and sale s tax es, as we ll as business and licensing fee s, are g ener ated by Florida s sod industry This does not include taxes on income or prof its. I t is estimated that over $22.3 M in indirec t business tax reve nues we re g ener ated by the sod industry in 2007. Employ ment contributions estimate the number of full, part-time, a nd seasona l jobs that are c r e a t e d a n n u a l l y b y a n i n d u s t r y o r a c t i v i t y. T h e s e e s t i m a t e s a r e b a s e d o n n a t i o n a l i n d u s t r y-
25 aver ag e output per w orker statistics. For 2007, a total of 5,633 jobs are e stimated to have be en c r e a t e d i n F l o r i d a t h r o u g h t h e d i r e c t i n d i r e c t a n d i n d u c e d e f f e c t s o f t h e S t a t e s s o d i n d u s t r y. Th e dis tr ibu tio n o f e c on omi c c on tr ibu tio ns a c ro ss t we nty a g g re g a te ind us tr y g ro up s in Florida is presente d in Table 12. Not surpr isingly near ly half of the total output, value added and employ ment contributions acc rued to the g roup that includes Ag riculture, w ith $334 mil lion in annual output, $196 milli on in value adde d, and 2,483 jobs. Real Estate c apture d the sec ond larg est contribution in output, value added a nd other prope rty income, while the G overnme nt sector ha d the sec ond larg est employ ment contribution (455 jobs). These second r anking contributions were considera ble smaller than a g riculture s, all individually repr esenting less than 10 perc ent of the total. Othe r sec tors that ranke d in the top five in one or mor e ca teg ories inc lud e d Co ns tr uc tio n, Re ta il T ra de a nd He a lth a nd Soc ia l Se rv ic e s. Tab le 12. Economic c ontributions of the Florida sod industry in 2007, by ag g reg ate industry g roup. Indust ry G roup O ut p ut T o t al val ue added La bor i n c om e O t her p ro p e rty i n c om e I ndi r ect b usiness t axes E m p l o y m ent M i l l i on $ Jobs Agr i cu l t u r e, For es t r y Fi s h er i es 334. 34 195. 76 71. 23 120. 78 3. 75 2, 483 M i n i n g 1. 45 0. 32 0. 15 0. 15 0. 03 4 U t i l i t i es 8. 44 5. 39 1. 65 2. 87 0. 87 13 Cons t r u ct i on 41. 08 17. 08 14. 13 2. 67 0. 28 293 M an u f ac t u r i n g 24. 01 6. 68 4. 33 2. 03 0. 32 68 W h ol es al e T r ade 24. 81 16. 11 9. 48 3. 07 3. 55 142 Ret ai l T r ade 28. 33 12. 30 3. 02 4. 37 426 T r an s por t at i on & W ar eh ou s i n g 11. 38 5. 43 4. 02 1. 15 0. 26 99 I n f or mat i on 11. 81 5. 50 2. 77 2. 23 0. 49 42 Fi n an ce & I n s u r an ce 30. 30 15. 51 9. 81 5. 09 0. 61 158 Rea l Es t at e & Ren t al 48. 99 34. 64 3. 98 25. 22 5. 44 174 Prof es s i on al Sc i en t i f i c & T ec h n i ca l Se r v i ce s 24. 10 14. 92 12. 72 1. 92 0. 28 204 M an ag eme n t of Compan i es 3. 67 2. 08 1. 68 0. 37 0. 03 17 Admi n i s t r at i v e & W as t e Se r v i ce s 9. 63 5. 63 4. 54 0. 94 0. 15 150 Educ at i on al Se r v i ce s 3. 50 1. 98 1. 81 0. 14 0. 03 58 H ea l t h & Soc i al Se r v i ce s 31. 12 19. 29 16. 46 2. 58 0. 25 372 Ar t s Ent er t ai n men t & Rec r ea t i on 3. 90 2. 48 1. 54 0. 62 0. 32 54 Acc ommodat i on & Food S er v i ce s 14. 15 7. 44 5. 10 1. 50 0. 84 226 O t h er Se r v i ce s 11. 61 6. 11 4. 59 1. 04 0. 49 196 G ov er n men t & n on cl as s i f i ed 36. 58 33. 98 28. 79 5. 18 0. 00 455 T ot a l 703. 20 416. 01 211. 08 182. 59 22. 34 5, 633
26 CONCLUSIONS T Fl orida sod produc tion area has g rown since 2003, but harve sted are a has r e m a i n e d s t e a d y. T Nea rly half of sod pr oduction occur s in the south-centra l reg ion of Florida T A larg e majority of g rowe rs re port reduc ed dema nd for sod in 2007. T Al l f ir m si zes e xpe ri e nc e d a re du c tio n in ha rv e st r a tio s. T M arke t share ha s increa sed for bahiag rass a nd zoy siag rass, a nd decr ease d for St. Au g us tin e g ra ss a nd c e nti pe de g ra ss. T So d price s rec eived ha ve incr ease d for ba hiag rass, c entipedeg rass a nd be rm ud a g ra ss, bu t ha ve de c re a se d f or zoy sia g ra ss. T Har vest value of sod rea ched $320 million in 2007. T L arg e and ve ry larg e sod fa rms have inc rea sed marke t share. T So d-re lated ser vices a nd other (nonsod) produc tion activities repre sent an incre asing share of total income. T To tal economic impac ts of sod production in Florida in 2007 included $736 mil lio n in ou tpu t, $ 43 5 mi lli on in v a lue a dd e d, a nd 5, 89 1 jo bs RE F ER EN CE S Am eric an F actF inder. 2008. Population g rowth ra tes in the United States. Available at
27 Min nesota I MPL AN Gr oup (MI G). 2007. I MPL AN Profe ssional V2, Economic I mpact and Social Acc ounting Softwa re, a nd Data f or F lorida Counties. Sti llwater, MN. www.implan.com Stei nback, S. 2004. Using rea dy -made reg ional input-output models to esti mate bac kwar dlinkag e ef fec ts of exogenous output shocks. Review of Reg ional Studies, 34 (1): 5771. http:// www.e conomy .okstate.edu/rr s/issue.asp? volume=34& issue=1 Turg eon, A. J. 1985. Turfgras s Manageme nt Reston Publi shing Co., Reston VA. USD A/ERS. 1997. Financial Performance of U.S. Commercial Farms, 199194 Ag ricultural Economic Repor t Number 751. Wat son, P., J Wil son, D. Thilmany and S. Wint er. 2007. D eter mining ec onomic contributions and impacts: What is the differ ence and why do we c are ? J ournal of Re g ional Analy sis and Policy 37 (2): 140146. http:// www.jra p-journal.or g /pastvolumes/2000/v37/F37-2-6.pdf AP P EN DI X Th e fo llo wi ng pa g e s a re the ma il s ur ve y ins tr ume nt.
-1D ear Fl ori da Sod P roducer**: Goo d d ay to y ou! This surv ey is b eing con ducted by the Univ ersity of Florida /I FA S to pro v ide ec onom ic info rm ation for the Florida sod indu stry and is s pons ored by the Florida So d Grow ers C oop. This s urv ey is a lso av ailable o n the web I f y ou wou ld pre fer to respon d v ia the online in te rn et s ur v ey p le as e se nd a n em ai l t o L or et ta S at te rt hw ai te a t lorettan@ ufl.ed u to request that o ption. I n this surv ey q uestion s are ask ed a bout y our FLO RI DA sod pro duction op eration in 20 07, un less otherw ise no ted. Plea se lim it y our respon ses to Flo rida on ly e v en if y ou h av e op er at io ns o ut of st at e. A ll in di v id ua l r es po ns es w il l b e k ep t strictly c onfidential ; only av erag es o r totals for all surv ey respo nden ts w ill be disclosed Please answ er the questio ns to the best o f y our ability You r particip ation is v oluntary There is n o co m pe ns at io n no r an ti ci pa te d ri sk s fo r pa rt ic ip at in g in this su rv ey I f y ou hav e y our financial and m anag em ent records at han d, the su rv ey sho uld ta k e no long er than on eha lf h ou r. Tha nk y ou f or y ou r ti m e an d co op er at io n. W e apprec iate it a nd look forw ard to receiv ing y our com pleted surv ey in the n ear futu re. **I f y ou are n ot a sod produ cer, pleas e info rm us of such in the com m ents a rea (ins ide b ack cov er) and m ail this back to us o r send an em ail to Loretta at lorettan@ ufl.ed u, a n d we l l r e mo ve yo u r n a me from the m ailing list. Thank s, we apprec iate y our assistance
-2# Florid a So d Prod uctio n in 200 7 J ohn J Hay du and John L Cisar U ni ver s i t y of F l ori da I nst i t ut e of F oo d an d A gri cul t ural Sci ences M i d -F l o ri d a a n d F t L a u d erd a l e R ese a rch a n d E d u ca t i o n C en t ers Please c ircle the letter or f ill in t he blanks a s appropr iate for eac h item. When completed, use tape to seal the booklet, a nd drop it in the mail (postage is provided). Tha nk y ou for y our time and c omm e nts 1. I s th is b us ine ss c ur re ntl y a c tiv e in p ro du c ing so d in Florida ? Yes ______ No** ______ ** See introduction 2. How many y ear s has this company been in the sod pr oduc ti on bus ine ss ? Florid a Produ ction 3. Ho w m a ny a c re s o f s od did y ou ha ve in p ro du c tio n in Florida in 2006? acres prod uced 4. Ho w m a ny a c re s o f s od did y ou ha ve in p ro du c tio n in Florida in 2007? acres prod uced -35 H o w m a n y a c r e s o f s o d d i d y o u h a r v e s t i n F l o r i d a i n 2 0 0 6 ? acres harv ested 6 H o w m a n y a c r e s o f s o d d i d y o u h a r v e s t i n F l o r i d a i n 2 0 0 7 ? acres harv ested 7. I n 2008, do y ou plan to chang e the number of ac res that y ou had in sod production in Florida in 2007? Yes, c hang e ac rea g e _____ No, stay the same _____ 8. I f y es, how do y ou plan to chang e the number of ac res that y ou have in sod produc tion in Florida in 2008? I ncre ase a cre ag e by _______________ acr es OR Dec rea se ac rea g e by ______________ acr es 9. What perce ntag e of y our total production is ea ch of these major g rass ty pes (e nter pe rce ntag e for those that apply ; answer s must sum to 100%). Grass Percen t B a h i a ... ... ... ... ... % B e r m u d a ... ... ... ... % C e n t i p e d e ... ... ... ... % S e a s h o r e Pa s p a l u m . . % St. Aug ustine. . . . . % Z o y s i a ... ... ... ... .. % o t h e r ... ... ... ... ... % 10 0%
-410. I f y ou g row B ahiag rass, wha t perc ent of it is eac h of the f o l l o w i n g c u l t i v a r s ? ( E n t e r p e r c e n t f o r t h o s e t h a t a p p l y; a ns we rs mus t su m to 10 0% .) I n th e pr ic e c olu mn, ple a se enter y our ave rag e farm gate selling pr ice ( in cents) pe r square foot (e.g if 6 ce nts, enter < 6; if 8.5 ce nts, enter < 8.5). Bah iag rass Ty pe Percen t Av g p rice Arg entine . . . . % ¢ Pens acola. . . . . % ¢ o t h e r ... ... ... ... % ¢ Bah ia gr as s to ta l 100% 11. I f y ou g row B ermuda g rass, wha t perc ent of it is eac h of the following cultivars? (Enter perc ent for those that apply ; answer s must sum to 100%.) I n the price column, please enter y our ave rag e farm gate se lli ng pr ic e (i n cents) pe r squar e foot (e .g if 6 ce nts, enter < 6; if 8.5 cents, e nter < 8.5). Berm udag rass Ty pe Percen t Av g p rice C e l e b r a t i o n .. . . . % ¢ C o m m o n ... ... ... % ¢ Tifd w ar f . . . . . % ¢ T i f e a g l e ... ... ... % ¢ T i f s p o r t ... ... ... % ¢ T i f w a y ... ... ... .. % ¢ o t h e r ... ... ... ... % ¢ Bah ia gr as s to ta l 100% -512. I f y ou g row Centipede g rass, wha t perc ent of it is eac h of the following cultivars? (Enter perc ent for those that apply ; answer s must sum to 100%.) I n the price column, please enter y our ave rag e farm gate se lli ng pr ic e (i n cents) pe r squar e foot (e .g if 6 ce nts, enter < 6; if 8.5 cents, e nter < 8.5). Cen tipedeg rass Ty pe Percen t Av g p rice C o m m o n ... ... ... % ¢ H a m m o c k ... ... ... % ¢ T i f b l a i r ... ... ... .. % ¢ o t h e r ... ... ... ... % ¢ C en ti p ed eg ra ss t ot al 10 0% 13 I f y ou g ro w Se a sh or e Pa sp a lum w ha t pe rc e nt o f i t is e a c h o f t he fo llo wi ng c ult iva rs ? (E nte r p e rc e nt f or tho se that apply ; answer s must sum to 100%.) I n the price column, please enter y our ave rag e farm gate selling price (in ce nts) per squa re f oot (e.g if 6 ce nts,enter < 6 ; if 8.5 cents, e nter < 8.5). Sea. Pa spalum Ty pe Percen t Av g p rice A l o h a ... ... ... ... % ¢ S a l a m ... ... ... ... % ¢ S ea dw ar f . . . . . % ¢ S e a i s l e 1 ... ... ... .. % ¢ Seaisle 2000 . . . . % ¢ Seaisle Sup rem e. . . % ¢ o t h e r ... ... ... ... % ¢ S ea Pa sp al u m t ot al 100%
-614. I f y ou g row St. Aug ustineg rass, wha t perc ent of it is eac h of the following cultivars? (Enter perc ent for those that apply ; answer s must sum to 100%.) I n the price column, please enter y our ave rag e farm gate se lli ng pr ic e (i n cents) pe r squar e foot (e .g if 6 ce nts,enter < 6; if 8.5 cents, e nter < 8.5). St. Aug ustine Typ e Percen t Av g p rice Bitterblu e. . . . . % ¢ C l a s s i c ... ... ... .. % ¢ D e l m a r ... ... ... % ¢ F l o r a t a m . . . . . % ¢ Palm etto . . . . . % ¢ R a l e i g h ... ... ... % ¢ Sapp hire . . . . . % ¢ S e v i l l e ... ... ... .. % ¢ o t h e r ... ... ... ... % ¢ S t. A u gu st in e to ta l 100% -715. I f y ou g row Z oy siag rass, wha t perc ent of it is eac h of the f o l l o w i n g c u l t i v a r s ? ( E n t e r p e r c e n t f o r t h o s e t h a t a p p l y; a ns we rs mus t su m to 10 0% .) I n th e pr ic e c olu mn, ple a se enter y our ave rag e farm gate selling pr ice ( in cents) pe r square foot (e.g if 6 ce nts, enter < 6; if 8.5 ce nts, enter < 8.5). Z oy siag rass Ty pe Percen t Av g p rice Cash m ere. . . . . % ¢ E m p i r e ... ... ... .. % ¢ J a m u r ... ... ... ... % ¢ M e y e r ... ... ... .. % ¢ Palisad es. . . . . . % ¢ U l t i m a t e ... ... ... % ¢ o t h e r ... ... ... ... % ¢ Z oy si ag ra ss t ot al 100%
-816 Wha t pe rc e nt o f y ou r t ota l F lor ida so d f a rm a c re a g e is located in e ach ma p are a (e nter pe rce ntag e for eac h that applies; answe rs must sum to 100%). [ These are a c odes a re me re ly us e d to de sig na te re g ion s a nd a re no t th e on ly a r e a c o d e s in th e ma p r e g io n s s h o w n ]. Map area Percen t of t ot a l ac r e a ge 8 5 0 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. % 9 0 4 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. % 3 5 2 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. % 4 0 7 3 2 1 7 7 2 ... ... ... ... ... % 7 2 7 8 1 3 ... ... ... ... ... ... % 8 6 3 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. % 9 4 1 2 3 9 ... ... ... ... ... ... % 561, 95 4, 305, etc. . . . . . % Total acreag e of sod farm s 100% -917. How many people wor k for y ou in a turfgrass-re lated capacity in e a c h o f t he fo llo wi ng c a te g or ie s? a) F ull tim e b) Part time c ) S e a so na l 18. I n g ener al, is y our fa rm bec oming more mecha nized? a) Y es, more me chanized b) Sta y ing the sa me c) N o, less mecha nized Harvesting/Marketing: 19 F OR EA CH AC RE ( 43 ,5 60 ft ) o f t he fo llo wi ng g ra ss 2 ty pes that y ou produce roug hly how many square fee t are sold (per a cre ) at e ach ha rvest, and how many harve sts are ma de per y ear ? G ra ss Ty pe H ar v es te d ft H ar v es ts /y r. 2 B a h i a ... ... ... ... .. B e r m u d a ... ... ... .. C e n t i p e d e .. . . . . St. Aug ustine . . . . Z o y s i a ... ... ... ... 20. What perce nt of y our har vested sod is stacke d by eac h of these methods? (Answe rs must sum to 100%.) Totally automatic mac hine stacke d _______ % Semi-automatic (mac hine + ha nd stacke d) _______ % Hand stac ked _______ % 1 0 0 %
-1021. What perce nt of y our sod is harve sted in eac h of the following way s? (Answe rs must sum to 100%.) Big rolls (6 ft) ______ % Mini-rolls (4 ft) ______ % Slabs ______ % 100 % 22. To whom do y ou sell y our sod? (Please spe cify pe rc e nta g e s f or tho se tha t a pp ly A ns we rs mus t su m to 100%.) Sales Categ ory Percen t F a r m t o F a r m ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. B ro k er ( ca ll s & a rr an g es s al es ). . . . . . . . R ew ho le sa le r (t ak es d el iv er y /r ed is tr ib ut es ). . . Com m ercial o r reside ntial de v elopers . . . . . I ndep enden t retail g arden centers . . . . . . . B ig b ox s to re g ar de n ce nt er s Land scape serv ices (ins tallation/m aintenan ce) Golf courses and /or sp orts/athletic fields H om eo w ne rs Total 100 % 24. Compared to 20052006, has the marke t demand for turfg rass in y our ar ea .... a) I ncre ased b) Sta y e d th e sa me c) D ecr ease d -1125. What perce nt of y our total sales fr om production in Florida is shipped out of state? _________ % 26. What perce nt of y our total marke t is located in ea ch of the fo llo wi ng dis ta nc e s f ro m y ou ? (A ns we rs mus t su m to 100%.) a) Within 50 mi les % b) 50 to 100 miles % c) O ver 100 miles % 27 Af te r c utt ing a nd sta c kin g w he n is y ou r s od sh ipp e d to its destination? (Please indica te the per centa g e of total shipments in each c ateg ory (Answe rs must sum to 100%.) a ) S h i p p e d s a m e d a y % b ) S h i p p e d n e x t d a y % c ) S hip pe d in 2 d a y s % d) De lay ed more than 2 day s _________ % 28. Do y ou own y our own truc k(s) for shipping sod? a) Y es b) No I f n o, or if y e s a nd y ou a lso hir e oth e r t ru c ks is it d if fi c ult to o bta in a tr uc k w he n y ou ne e d it ? a) Y es b) Sometimes c) N o
-12Pricin g/Qualit y 31. What perce nt of quality -re ducing damag e occ urs to sod at e a c h o f t he fo llo wi ng loc a tio ns ? (A ns we rs mus t su m to 100%.) I n th e fi e ld % Har vesting /stacking % Shipping/unloading % Af te r b uy e r r e c e ive s it % 100% 3 2 H o w d o y o u d e t e r m i n e w h a t p r i c e t o c h a r g e f o r y o u r s o d ? Please ra nk your top fou r considera tions from 1 to 4. (1 = used most often, 2 = use d second most often, e tc.) Availability _______ Cost of production Hig hest price marke t will bear _______ Se lli ng pr ic e of oth e rs Quality of my sod Other ( please specify below) -1333. Which of the following statements best cha rac terizes y our answe r to the question Do y ou offe r y our customer s any ty pe of g uara ntee or quality assura nce policy ? ? a) No g uara ntee is off ere d. Once the sod is loaded on the truck or de livered to the c ustomer, the fa rms re sp on sib ili ty e nd s. b ) The sod is gua rante ed to be f ree of def ects, including be ing re a so na bly fr e e of we e ds a nd pe sts Pr ob le ms must be repor ted with in 2 4 ho ur s of deliver y and/or installation. I n the eve nt of a proble m, the far ms re pla c e me nt p oli c y c ov e rs product o n l y. c ) The sod is gua rante ed to be f ree of def ects, including be ing re a so na bly fr e e of we e ds a nd pe sts a nd is g uara nteed to g row if maintaine d proper ly by the customer. Problems must be re ported wi thin 15 d ays I n th e e ve nt o f a pr ob le m, t he fa rm s re sp on sib ili ty po lic y c ov e rs product o n l y. d) The sod is gua rante ed to be f ree of def ects, including be ing fr e e of we e ds a nd pe sts a nd is g ua ra nte e d to g row if maintaine d proper ly by the customer. Problems must be reporte d wi thin 15 d ays I n the event of a proble m, the far ms repla ceme nt policy c ov e rs product, freight, and labor
-14Revenue and Ex penses 34. Please indica te the per centa g e of y our business total annual sa les g ener ated by the following cate g ories. (Please spe cify perc entag es for those that apply Answer s must sum to 100%.) En te rp ri se Perce nt of Total Sales S o d p r o d u c t i o n .................. % Sod-relate d distributor (shipping) Sod-r elated f arm supplier ( equip., fer t., pesticides, etc.) . . . . . % Sod-r elated la ndscape contra ct service s (install/maintenance e t c ) ...................... % F o o d p r o d u c t i o n ( c a t t l e c i t r u s d a i r y, v e g e t a b l e s e t c ) .. . . . . . . % Orna m entals produc tion (bedding plants, foliag e, woody s, cut foliag es, etc .). . . . . . . . % Other ( please specify ). . . . . . . % 100% -1535 Whic h c a te g or y be st d e sc ri be s y ou r t ota l F L OR I DA far m g ate T U RF sales in 2006? (Choose appr opriate r ang e.) a) L ess than $100,000 b) $100,000 $249,999 c) $250,000 $499,999 d) $500,000 $999,999 e) $1,000,000 $1,999,999 f) $2,000,000 $3,999,999 g ) $4,000,000 $5,999,999 h) $6,000,000 $7,999,999 i) $8,000,000 $9,999,999 j) $10,000,000 or more; plea se spec ify the amount (rounde d to the near est milli on).
-16Exp ense Informatio n : Th e se ne xt fe w i te ms w ill be div ide d in to t hr e e ma jor c a te g or ie s: 1) Pr od uc tio n E xpe ns e s; 2) Administration/Sales/Marketing Ex penses; and 3) Sod I ns ta lla tio n ( L a nd sc a pe ) E xpe ns e s. The total expenses fr om these three sections will add up to 100%. Ea c h o f t he se c a te g or ie s is fu rt he r d ivi de d in to s ub c a te g or ie s; perc entag es of the subc ateg ories will equal 100% of the total perc ent that the ca teg ory contributes to total expenses [e.g. a s shown below, Admin/Sales/Marke ting is 35% of total (100%) expenses; its subcateg ories add up to 35% of the total, but will add up to 100% for the admin/sales/marke ting por tion.] -1736 Wha t pe rc e nt o f y ou r b us ine ss tot a l c os ts PER ACR E are attributable to ea ch of the se three major ca teg ories? (Total must sum t o 100%.) _____ % P R ODUC TI ON E XPENS ES (p ro du c tio nre la te d s a la ry la bo r & of fi c e c os ts; l an d p re p ar at i o n ; fu m i gat i o n ; p l an t i n g; maintenanc e; irrig ation; harve sting; contra cting a sso c ia te d w ith pr od uc tio n/h a rv e sti ng ; r oy a lti e s; oth e r p ro du c tio nre la te d e xpe ns e s) _____ % A DMI NI S TR ATI ON /S AL ES /M AR K ETI NG E XPENS ES (admin/sales/marke ting sa laries & labor; re lated o ff i ce ex p en s es ; ad v er t i s i n g; t ra n s p o rt ; co n t ra ct i n g; oth e r r e la te d e xpe ns e s) _____ % S OD I NS TAL L ATI ON E XPENS ES (sod/landsca pe ser vices-r elated sa lary labor & office costs; desig n & installation; maintenanc e; oth e r r e la te d c os ts)
-1837. Please e stimate, as closely as possible, the per cent of y our bu sin e ss tot a l P R ODUC TI ON -R ELA T ED EX PE N SES a ttr ibu ta ble to eac h of the following activities. ( D O N OT inc lud e ini tia l si te prepa ration, e.g stump removal, ditch construc tion, irriga tion and pump installation, etc.) I nclude a ll materials, supplies and machiner y costs lease cost, ca pital cost, depre ciation and equipment oper ating costs (e.g fuel, oil, maintenanc e & repa ir). The total must equal 100%. _____ % M ANA GER / OW NE R S AL AR Y for pr oduction activities __ __ % Al l L AB OR c os ts ( fu ll, pa rt tim e & se a so na l) fo r a ll p r o d u c ti o n a c ti v it ie s s u c h a s th o s e li s te d in th e n e xt 10 ite ms _____ % L and pre para tion (wee d control, cultivation, harr owing etc.) _____ % Fumig ation _____ % Planting (sod & /or seed + equipment oper ating c os ts) _ _ % P ro d u ct i o n m ai n t en an ce (m o wi n g, fe rt i l i z i n g, pesticides, her bicides, etc .) _____ % I rrig ation (wa ter/pumping costs e.g maintenanc e + f u e l / e l e c t r i c i t y) __ __ % Ha rv e sti ng c os ts ( e qu ipm e nt o pe ra tin g c os ts, pallets, etc.) __ __ % Con tr a c tin g c os ts a sso c ia te d w ith production/harve sting a ctivities _____ % Roy alties _____ % Offic e expenses re lated to produc tion __ __ % Ot he r p ro du c tio n a c tiv iti e s e xpe ns e s ( ple a se s p e c i f y) -1938. Please e stimate, as closely as possible, the per cent of y our bu sin e ss tot a l A DMI NI S TR ATI VE /S AL ES RE L AT ED EXPENS ES a ttr ibu ta ble to e a c h o f t he fo llo wi ng a c tiv iti e s. I nc lud e a ll materia ls, supplies and machiner y costs lease cost, ca pital c os t, d e pr e c ia tio n a nd e qu ipm e nt o pe ra tin g c os ts ( e .g f ue l, o il, maintenanc e & repa ir). The total must equal 100%. _____ % M ANA GER / O WN ER SALARY for Administration/S ales/Mar keting __ __ % Al l L AB OR c os ts ( fu ll, pa rt tim e & se a so na l) fo r a ll administration/sales/marketing activities such as tho se lis te d in the ne xt 5 it e ms. __ __ % Ma rk e tin g & Ad min ist ra tio n ( sa le s, c oll e c tio ns phone/fa x office supplies, etc.) _____ % Adver tising __ __ % Tr a ns po rt c os ts _____ % Contracting costs (transpor t, etc.) _____ % Other a dminist ration/sales/marke ting a ctivities e x p e n s e s ( p l e a s e s p e c i f y)
-2039. Please e stimate, as closely as possible, the per cent of y our bu sin e ss tot a l S OD I NS TAL L ATI ON RE L AT ED expenses a ttr ibu ta ble to e a c h o f t he fo llo wi ng a c tiv iti e s. (I nc lud e a ll materia ls, supplies and machiner y costs lease cost, ca pital c os t, d e pr e c ia tio n a nd e qu ipm e nt o pe ra tin g c os ts ( e .g f ue l, o il, maintenanc e & repa ir). The total must equal 100%. _____ % M ANA GER / OW NE R S AL AR Y for sod installation _____ % All labor costs (f ull, parttime & se asonal) f or sod in s ta ll a ti o n a c ti v it ie s s u c h a s th o s e li s te d in th e n e xt 4 it e ms _____ % L andsca pe desig n & installation _____ % L andsca pe maintena nce _____ % Offic e expenses re lated to sod installation services __ __ % Ot he r l a nd sc a pe se rv ic e s a c tiv iti e s e xpe ns e s ( ple a se s p e c i f y) -21Ind iv id u al Bu sine ss P ro b le ms 40. Please ra nk the 3 most serious problems fa cing y our ind iv idu al b usin e ss (Mar k only 1 per c olumn.) Problem are as Mo st serious Second mos t serious Third mos t serious F I NA NCI AL PR ESS URES (e.g fuel costs, insurance costs, labor costs, taxes, etc.) L A BOR I SS UES (e.g defic ient pr od uc tio n s kil ls, ina bil ity to hire e noug h worke rs, etc.) M ARK ET RE LAT ED PR ES S URE (e.g distribution/ delivery problems, fly -by -nig ht competition, consumer knowledg e/awa rene ss, etc.) P R ODUCT I ON RELATED (e g. we e ds mo le c ri c ke ts/ ins e c ts, wea ther, maintena nce of sod in field, etc.) R E GULAT ORY /E NVI RONM ENT AL (e.g loss of methy l bromide, water restric tions on pr od uc e rs /c on su me rs dealing with gove rnment ag encie s, etc.)
-22Ind u st ry Pro b le ms 41. Please ra nk the 3 most serious problems fa cing the F L ORI DA T U R FGR A SS I NDUS T RY (Mar k only 1 per column.) Problem are as Mo st serious Second mos t serious Third mos t serious F I NA NCI AL PR ESS URES (e g. insurance costs, production costs, economic slowdow n, low ma rk e t pr ic e s, inc re a se in number of f arms, etc .) L A BOR I SS UES (e.g lack of skilled labor, g ener al availability of worke rs, etc.) M ARK ET RE LAT ED PR ES S URE (e.g overpr oduction, price underc utting, lac k of adver tising, transpor tation, consumer e ducation, etc .) P R ODUCT I ON RELATED (e.g sod quality state ce rtification, need dr oug ht-resistant g rasse s, insects and we ed controls, etc.) R E GULAT ORY /E NVI RONM ENT AL (e.g water issues, loss of l an d p es t i ci d e l ab el i n g, environmenta l conce rns, etc.) -23Yo u h a ve c omp le te d th e su rv e y T ha nk y ou Y ou r c oo pe ra tio n is g rea tly appre ciated. I f y ou have que stions that y ou would like to have c onsidered f or the ne xt sur ve y or c omm e nts tha t y ou wo uld lik e to m a ke p le a se indicate them be low. Thank you for your participation!