Thursday, June 13, 2024

Cancellations – local effects

Queensland specialist orchid grower Sam Cowie of Leaf and Limb, confirmed the impact of cancellations on a crop that has long production times.

“Order cancellations are worse in the orchid industry (except for Phalaenopsis with their short production time). From laboratory submission to flask shipment is 18 months, then add another 2 to 3½ years in production for the finished product. So I’ll look into my crystal ball and work out what the retailers want in four years, so I know what to submit to the labs now!

“The crazy thing about our orchids is sometimes you have to wait for the stock plants to have the right size shoot on them. You may want to submit shoots in January, but the stock plant won’t have shoots ready until June. Add to that the occasional laboratory submission failure, and I question my sanity in what I do.”

Sam explained that supply chain impacts could arise from shoots that failed to ‘take’ in tissue culture first time, biosecurity failures in laboratories, or infections in-transit that can trigger quarantine barriers on arrival. He consequently runs a strict, high-level biosecurity regime, including no visitors to the nursery and a ‘one-way door policy’ (once stock has left it cannot return).

Sam also reported hearing of a few orchid greenhouses already bankrupted in Europe, especially Phalaenopsis growers, from being impacted hard due to their heating requirements, and the dramatically rising, 10-fold and more, gas costs. He’s glad he doesn’t have such heating requirements in Queensland.

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