ECONOMIC IMPACT OF MECHANIZATION ON NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES
Workers in participating wholesale nurseries and greenhouses in eight southern states perform about one-fifth of their main tasks with some form of mechanization. The increase in total workers earnings associated with improved mechanization indicated that nurseries and greenhouses were able to pay their workers higher wages and salaries. The increased levels of mechanization produced neutral effects on employment and raised the value of the marginal productivity of labor, implying that technology adoption by wholesale nurseries and greenhouses did not displace any worker but instead improved total workers earnings.
Source: Posadas, Benedict C. 2012. Economic Impacts of Mechanization or Automation on Horticulture Production Firms Sales, Employment, and Workers’ Earnings, Safety, and Retention. HortTechnology, 22(3): 388-401.
CURRENT MECHANIZATION SYSTEMS AMONG NURSERY-ONLY AND MIXED OPERATIONS
While irrigation management, chemical application, and plant pruning are somewhat automated or mechanized, growers have opportunities to apply new or different technology. For instance, plant transportation throughout the nursery and plant placement in the field utilize little mechanization. Therefore, new or existing technology may be applied. Substrate mixing, container filling, and planting are also areas where automation or mechanization might be implemented or modified to help increase production.
Source: Coker, Randal Y., Benedict C. Posadas, Scott A. Langlois, Patricia R. Knight, and Christine H. Coker. 2010. Current Mechanization Systems Among Nurseries and Mixed Operations. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1189, Mississippi State, Mississippi.
SOCIOECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF WORKERS IN NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES
Although there were variations from grower to grower, the industry peak season covered the months starting in February and ending in May. During peak months, working hours averaged 9.1 hours a day or 51.5 hours per week. During slack months, workers averaged 7.1 hours a day or 36.1 hours per week. The average wage rate reported by nurseries and greenhouses was $7.89 per hour. Most of the workers had access to rest and lounging areas, sanitation facilities, and drinking water. Nurseries and greenhouses provided their workers limited housing benefits, dental and medical insurance, and retirement benefits.
Source: Posadas, Benedict C., Patricia R. Knight, Christine H. Coker, Randal Y. Coker, and Scott A. Langlois. 2010. Socioeconomic Characteristics of Workers and Working Conditions in Nurseries and Greenhouses in the Northern Gulf of Mexico States. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1182, Mississippi State, Mississippi.
OPERATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES
When growers made production decisions, one of the most crucial elements in the process was the choice of which plant sizes to grow. These decisions had serious implications on the labor, materials, and supplies that would be required to operate efficient production lines. The five most commonly produced liner products included 2-, 3-, 4-, 6-, and 8-inch pots and liners in 18-and 36-cell trays. The top five potted products most frequently selected by the growers included plants in 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, and 15-gallon pots. The participating nursery and greenhouse growers in the northern Gulf of Mexico states mostly preferred plants in 10-inch baskets to other basket sizes.
Source: Posadas, Benedict C., Patricia R. Knight, Christine H. Coker, Randal Y. Coker, and Scott A. Langlois. 2010. Operational Characteristics of Nurseries and Greenhouses in the Northern Gulf of Mexico States. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1184, Mississippi State, Mississippi.