Plant Materials Center Update: February 24, 2023
Here are 5 things that you should know about the PMC for February 23, 2023:
It Has Been a While
It has been three weeks since the last PMC Update. Please excuse the lapse of time between reports but February has been unusually busy with harvest and shipping, and it is typically a very busy month anyway.
Since the last update on February 3, the PMC has harvested 397,510 additional plants and shipped 363,436 of them. The past week has been particularly busy which included pulling and shipping plant sale orders from eight different conservation districts. These orders are diverse with many different inventory line items as well as different seed zones, sizes, stock types, and bundle sizes. That many different conservation district orders shipping the same week is not that unusual but having it occur in February is. The challenging part about doing this so early in the year is that we have not had as much time to get all of these different items harvested and processed. In a couple of cases, the last items for a plant order were running down the processing line while it was being loaded out.
Another concern about scheduling plant sales and projects earlier in the year is that if there was an extended period of freezing weather, we might not be able to harvest everything on some of these orders in which case the plant sale or project might need to wait until a later date to fulfill some items on their order. That would have been the case if the weather this February was like last February when we lost two weeks of harvest due to frozen ground! But the PMC has been able to meet most of its delivery commitments in full. While the hope of slowing down is on the horizon, it is not here yet.
As of 2/22/23 sales were $1,604,700. That is not much of an increase since the last update because the plants on some orders have needed to be reduced due to cancellations or shortages, as well as the typical slowdown of new orders. Overall, 1,705,217 plants have been sold for the season so far with more to come.
Lori has completed the financial reports for January. The bottom line is that expenses are up as is revenue. PMC operating revenues for the fiscal year to date are up $136,377 over the same period last year. Expenses are up fiscal year to date by $174,766 however. An earlier-than-usual Executive Operations payment, Federal Income Tax Expense, and Seasonal Labor Wages make up some of the larger increases. The Executive Operations Payment will even out in time, the increased tax expense is a function of increased profits last year, and we all know what is happening with minimum wage. It is important to note that in spite of some of these increases, most remain within budget.
As of 2/23/23, over 1.5 million plants have been harvested. All in all, it appears that harvest is on track and on schedule. The two big factors that could adversely affect that are time lost due to weather or a labor shortage. Hopefully, neither will happen but that might not be entirely within our control. Time will tell.
The PMC has (hopefully) a little more than two weeks and a quarter-million plants of harvest left. The overriding concern this time of year is how many of our crew will we lose as they return to their spring, summer, and fall jobs. Right now, we know that our two baggers will leave next week so a workaround has been planned for that. We hope we don’t lose too many from the outside crew for a couple more weeks. Replacing them is more difficult this time of year. Each day we can keep the crew size close to where it is now is a day closer to the end of harvest.
After the last plant runs down the processing line everyone will go outside for field cleanup which can take up to two weeks. After that, we will begin transplanting. Plans are afoot to bring in all of our transplant plugs in a couple of weeks, followed by preparing the ground and equipment for transplanting season.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions. You can find older posts about the Plant Materials Center at https://hub.wadistricts.org/topics/wacd/pmc/
Director of Nursery Operations