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The Cost of Mycorrhizae

As I talk with various landscapers and growers of nurseries, vineyards, fruit trees, row crops, I realize that the emphasis and reasons for purchasing our mycorrhizae products really do vary. For some the draw is the faster germination, for others it is the effect on the soil, and many more it is the higher yields.  Overall, the main benefit is the increased performance of their plants versus non inoculated plants.  In speaking with our customers and reviewing our products, I have been trying to establish a formula for the actual cost benefit of purchasing our products.

Our inoculants, on average, cost around $28-$32 per pound (there are price breaks and volume discounts for larger orders).  So what do our growers receive for approximately $30 per pound?

Below I have listed an example of a nursery using our mycorrhizae product to inoculate their plants.  For the sake of demonstration, please note that these figures are based on averages and they are dependent on factors such as soil condition, type of plant variety, sunlight, etc., which may vary.

Let’s take a nursery with 500 plants that need to be inoculated.  Please note, these would be larger plants and not small vegetable transplants, closely planted small plants or seedlings (those would use much less of the product for inoculation so the cost per plant would be considerably lower - closer to $.01 or $.02 per plant).  The nursery would require only one 3 lb. jar of either our Endomycorrhizal Inoculant (BEI) or Micronized Endomycorrhizal Inoculants (BEIM).  Our micronized version is often preferred due to the ease of simply adding it to water and applying it as a light drench or through the sprinkler system.  This would cost either $85 or $89.  Given an average, the cost per plant would be $.17.

A list of general benefits to nurseries is below:

  • Establishing mycorrhizae before transplanting creates a head start for plants and trees to thrive.
  • Our mycorrhizal inoculants provide a stronger foundation for plants and trees to fight diseases and pathogens.
  • Colonization of the roots with mycorrhizae boosts plant and tree health through a stronger root system.
  • Pre-inoculated transplants create higher customer satisfaction based on appearance and performance.
  • Plants inoculated with our mycorrhizae products require less fertilizer and water.
  • Many “hard-to-propagate” plant types become easy to grow.

The general question for any nursery is how much value do they receive from $.17 per plant (also please note that nurseries who also carry the product for retail customers would have access to a lower price through our dealer pricing).

Here are some things to thinks about:

Can they resell the plant for an extra $.17 based on yield and appearance? 

~ For $.17 more, a customer should be willing to pay for the inoculated plant no matter what the price point is.

Will the $.17 generate increased repeat business from satisfied customers? 

~ Customers should be happier with the performance of the plants and buy more.

Will the reduction in current water and fertilizer costs more than offset the $.17? 

~It may, but this is a little more difficult to quantify because it will vary by plant type and general greenhouse conditions.  This would take a very in depth study and would still not be exact based on all the possible variables.

Ultimately our nursery customers would clearly say that $.17 is a small price to pay for the benefits of mycorrhizae they receive.  We encourage nurseries to set up side by side growth comparison tests.

I would be interested to hear cost benefit calculations that any readers may have done for their own crops.  Based on some tests currently being conducted and forthcoming research, I plan to publish important financial studies on the cost benefit of using mycorrhizae in the future.

As always, we welcome your feedback.  Thank you and good growing.

Graham Phillips


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