Buyer and grower perceptions of liner quality and associated production costs of nursery liner stock
Date of Award
Master of Science
William E. Klingeman
Dean A. Kopsell, David S. Buckley
Liner production is a key segment in the nursery industry. Due to a lack of specific of quality standards by governing industry organizations as well as a lack of general consensus among growers of perceived liner quality, a conjoint analysis study was developed to determine buyer and grower preferences for nursery liner product features during point-of-purchase decisions. The study used a visual survey using six variables (first order lateral roots (FOLR), price, region of production, and height, canopy density and caliper uniformity) with varying levels yielding a 3 x 3 x 3 x 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design. Surveys were administered at tradeshows and events around the southeastern United States. Results indicated that a high FOLR, a uniform canopy density and height were most important to purchasing decisions of nursery liner buyers, while liner price and region of production were found not to be important. From the experimental model, utility values for each product feature were derived and can be inserted into an equation to determine a hypothetical quality rating. Growers can use this formula to determine hypothetical quality ratings for their products and serve as a marketing tool for growers.
To determine if the production of premium quality liners is economically feasible and help aid growers to take advantage of niche opportunities we investigated production costs of growing ornamental nursery liners in a USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6b to 7a nursery. We used three contemporary nursery liner production systems: a fieldgroundbed system, a polyhouse-covered groundbed, and a polyhouse covered container system. We estimated capital requirements, fixed costs and variable costs for each system. We also compared production costs of a deciduous plant, a broadleaf evergreen, and a needle leaf evergreen to allow inferences about the widest variety of nursery liner crops.
Jeffers, Andrew H., "Buyer and grower perceptions of liner quality and associated production costs of nursery liner stock. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2008.