Waikato nursery blooms in growth mode

5:11 PM Friday August 25, 2017 Colin Taylor

GAIT Flowers nursery at 346 Reservoir Canal Rd, Kerepehi, produces 17 varieties of chrysanthemum.

One of New Zealand’s most productive chrysanthemum hothouse nurseries is for sale in the Waikato township of Kerepehi.

GAIT Flowers nursery produces 17 varieties of chrysanthemum.

In the just-completed 2016/2017 production year running from June to May, the nursery harvested 419,191 stems and this year’s crop is already ahead of the same time last year by 7365 stems.

The nursery’s freehold land, buildings and business at 346 Reservoir Canal Rd are being marketed for sale as a going concern at auction on September 14 through Bayleys Hamilton.

Salesperson Josh Smith says the business’s temperature, humidity, and light-controlled greenhouse and shedding infrastructure consists of two three-bay greenhouses, one two-bay greenhouse, two propagation houses, a three-bay implement shed and skyline garage.

“As an established supplier with a long history of producing quality stems, all product is sold to one wholesaler at an agreed price — allowing for highly accurate budgeting for the business’s income,” Smith adds.

“Two converted shipping containers provide storage facilities for the cut stems before they are sent off to market. The business chattels also include a 161sq m open-plan four-bedroom owner or manager’s home.

“The nursery currently draws on council-supplied water for its irrigation. However, there is provision on the property for installing a green water supply system that could use water collected off the hothouse rooftops and be diverted into holding tanks — with an area between the sheds kept aside specifically for this purpose.”

The GAIT Flowers nursery business currently employs six part-time staff — equating to four fulltime staff and the two owner/managers working in a ‘hands-on’ capacity in the day-to-day running of the business.

Smith says the nursery sends freshly-picked deliveries three times a week to its Auckland wholesaler, which has expressed a desire to buy as many stems as GAIT Flowers can produce.

“The current owners had no experience in the flower growing industry when they bought the business in 2011, and have since increased the yield substantially — from 183,054 stems in the first year of production up to the current crop of 419,191 stems,” says Smith.

“The addition of a third greenhouse has seen an increase in the harvest yield, and with the available land immediately adjacent to the production hub, there is an opportunity to expand the business even further.

“Heating within hothouse system is run throughout the colder months by waste oil burners. Productivity has been further increased by the development and implementation of good old fashioned Kiwi ingenuity, which has seen the installation of bathroom-style under-floor heating placed under the propagation trays where the seedlings bloom.”

In summer, the hothouse roof tops and sides are opened up to natural warmth. Nutrients are supplied to the plants and soil via the automated watering system.