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Greenhouse, sod and nursery industries, 2018

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Released: 2019-04-24

Total sales of the greenhouse, nursery, field cut flowers and sod industries increased 2.8% to $3.9 billion in 2018. Ontario represented the largest share of the total sales (+54.1%), followed by British Columbia (+22.4%).

Greenhouse products accounted for 79.3% of total sales ($3.1 billion), up 4.3% compared with 2017. This was the result of a 5.2% increase in greenhouse fruit and vegetable sales. Sales of nursery products fell 2.4% to $643.5 million and accounted for 16.6% of total sales.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Sales of greenhouse, nursery and sod products
Sales of greenhouse, nursery and sod products

Sales of greenhouse fruit and vegetables increase for the six consecutive year

Total sales of greenhouse fruit and vegetables rose 5.2% to 1.5 billion in 2018—continuing the annual increases that began in 2013. Greenhouse cucumbers continued to show strong sales and production numbers for 2018. National cucumber sales rose 13.5% to $449 million. The export market offered some opportunities, with exports of greenhouses cucumbers and gherkins up 11.9% in 2018.

In Alberta, cucumber sales rose 25.6% to $55.6 million, as production was up 20.5% compared with 2017.

Most flowers and plants sold from Canadian greenhouses are grown domestically

Flower and plant sales and resales rose 3.5% from 2017 to $1.6 billion in 2018. Plants produced inside Canadian greenhouses represented 87.4% of total flower and plant sales and resales.

Sales of cut flowers rose 4.3% to $133.3 million in 2018, below the five-year average of $139.6 million. Vegetable bedding plant sales increased 7.5% in response to higher demands for transplants.

Greenhouse expenses rise

Total operating expenses rose 1.6% to $2.6 billion in 2018. Labour still accounted for the largest share of total expenses (28.8%). The number of employees decreased 1.5% to 32,578, while payroll expenses rose 1.5% to $746.6 million. Greenhouse producers are facing increased competition for employees in some provinces.

Fuel expenses increased 2.6% to $222.5 million, accounting for 8.6% of total operating expenses.

Total greenhouse area increases

Total greenhouse area rose 2.9% to 26.1 million square metres in 2018. Ontario represented 61.3% of total greenhouse area in Canada, compared with 20.1% in British Columbia, 10.3% in Quebec and 4.8% in Alberta.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Provincial distribution of total greenhouse area, 2018
Provincial distribution of total greenhouse area, 2018

Nursery area, sales and expenses are down

Total nursery area decreased 2.8% in 2018 to 17 204 hectares. This decline was accompanied by a 2.9% decrease in nursery product sales to $512.5 million, and a 0.5% decline in resales to $131.0 million.

Nursery operating expenses were down 0.8% to $561.2 million. Labour expenses accounted for 33.8% of total expenses, down 3.8% compared with 2017 due to the change in the total number of employees, which fell 6.3% to 9,854 employees.

Sod area, sales and expenses

As seen in the 2016 Census of Agriculture, the sod sector continues to decrease, as multiple type housing starts continue to progress in metropolitan areas. In 2018, completion of single-detached dwellings decreased by 3.5% compared with 2017. In 2018, total sod area decreased 5.0% to 19 500 hectares. Total sales were down 4.7% to $140.4 million, while expenses decreased 6.7% to $105.7 million. Labour expenses accounted for 35.4% of total costs.

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