MSU Extension software for nursery businesses

Accurate cost estimation helps nursery growers set prices that enable you to recover costs and maintain profitability

In today’s economy, increasingly higher energy costs will impact all inputs into your production system including fertilizers, pesticides, and fuel for crop production equipment. Growers need to have a good handle on their total costs – if you do not know your true costs, you can’t set a fair price for your plants.

MSU Extension has responded to this industry need by producing software to assist nursery growers in understanding their costs. The new software will work for either container or field grown nursery stock. MSU horticulturalist Tom Fernandez and Extension educators Roger Betz and Tom Dudek worked to develop new spreadsheet software to help nursery growers figure cost of production. Included in the CD/DVD package is a cost of production example spreadsheet and DVD tutorial on how to use the software.

The spreadsheets generate estimates for total economic cost, meeting net worth cost, meeting cash flow demand cost and necessary sale price to attain a projected profit above the estimated total economic cost. Primary inputs are from business income tax returns and costs from records or suppliers. Help sheets are provided to estimate costs for fertilizer, substrate, pesticide, overwintering and labor costs. Projected costs can also be inputted to estimate future costs or costs associated with changes in practices or technology. Cost estimations from the spreadsheet are compared to costs from the previous year from Schedule F and nursery records.

The spreadsheet can handle 25, 50 and 100 item enterprises. You must have MS-Office Excel 97 or later to run the program. A Windows or Mac-based computer is capable of playing the DVD although playback is best achieved on a stand-alone DVD player. Copies of the “Estimating the Wholesale Cost of Nursery Production” DVD-029 software set are available from the MSUE Bookstore for $26 plus postage. They can be ordered through the web site or by calling the MSU Extension Bulletin office at: (517) 353-6740.


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