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Business Principles In Horticulture

( Originally Published Early 1900's )


The application of business principles in any concern is limited to their practical value. It is doubtful if any one can afford to practice methods that are not of practical value.

In locating for horticulture, several questions will appear. Can .one afford to sacrifice easy access to market for good soil, or will it be better to sacrifice the good soil for poorer soil closer to market? Generally a good site and market are to be desired. The fruit grower on a small place has many advantages over one on a larger area. Maximum area only should be under operation affording an amount of work such as pruning. cultivating, spraying, etc., that can be done well and on time. If the work is not done on time there is no use doing it at all.

The use of fertilizers is also a vital question. How far can it be used and allow for profit? There are many instances where an added amount of fertilizer adds to the yield of fruit, but the extra amount of fruit does not begin to pay for the extra application and work. The best fertilizers for use can only be ascertained by practical analysis. A benefit in one case may be a damage in another.

Again it is questionable if other than the best trees shall be set. A cheaper grade might do as well but the risk is too great. Only varieties suited for the location should be set, and not too many of these.

Tillage is the basis of success in horticulture and therefore a vital factor. However there are some important things to consider in this operation. 1. The implements to use. There are some which will keep twice as much ground in a good. state of cultivation as others with the same amount of energy. Also if as good results can be obtained with five operations as with ten, why do the extra work?

The same business methods apply in all parts of the work, thinning, picking, packing and marketing.

In the end the fruit should be put on the market in the best possible shape, a finished product and one of which to be proud.

Observation shows us that the merchant and dealer have found the way to success only by strict application of principles beneficial to their business and the horticulturist is finding the same true.

Let us not stop with the methods now in vogue, but let us put forward every effort to make Michigan a leading state in horticulture.


The Chairman—Before we proceed with the regular program of the afternoon, I would like to make an announcement of the awards made in the Speaking Contest. They are as follows :

First Prize, H. F. Miners, St. Joseph.

Second Prize, I. J. Woodin, Owosso.

Third Prize, L. H. Hutchins, Fennville.

Secretary Bassett-I wish to say a few words in regard to our co-operative buying of supplies. The Executive Board want to know what to do. I desire to submit to you a proposition that I think is better than what we have had in the past. You know we have heretofore secured bids from different companies for our supplies of spraying material, fertilizers, etc., and we have found that many firms did not care to bid—indeed would not put in a bid—they say that they do not care to make a bid and then have us publish that bid, and then other houses, when they get our prices, make a price below ours, so that you are able in this way to get your supplies from them cheaper than through the Association. It is my belief that the proper way for us to buy goods is to co-operate—pool our orders, and allow the executive committee to go out into the field and give the orders to the firm that makes the lowest cash price. Under the old system, the plan was not a success, especially in New York and several other states, and with us, it has not been as satisfactory as we had hoped when we started in with it. Then in getting in such large quantities, we can get the very lowest cash price. I think this should be the policy the coming year, and ask for a favor-able action on the matter.

A member: How would you do-check out, or trust out, or how would you do?

Mr. Bassett—Early in the season you know how much material you will use. You figure that you want so many tons of sulphur, or so much this or that, and let the ones who have the buying know this, and then when that report is furnished, the orders can all be pooled, and price secured, and. you will be notified of this, and then we will expect the cash to be forthcoming to pay for it. There will be no trusting business.

On motion it was agreed that the cooperative buying be left with the Executive Board. Carried.

Mr. Smythe—It may be out of order, but I would like to suggest, as the Society as a whole may not be aware of it, that during the past year we have lost two very valuable members, in the persons of O. S. Bristol, and S. B. Hartman. I would suggest that this body take action authorizing that resolutions of condolence be sent to the families of these two members.

Mr. Bassett—While the Executive Board has already done that as a Board, it would be eminently proper that this body take some action, and I move that it be taken. Carried.

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