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An Economic evaluation of horticultural alfalfa as a substitute for sphagnum peat moss


  • Ziyou Yu

    (Purdue University Department of Agricultural Economics)

  • Jay T. Akridge

    (Center for Agricultural Business, Purdue University Department of Agricultural Economics)

  • Michael N. Dana

    (Purdue University Department of Horticulture)

  • Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer

    (Purdue University Department of Agricultural Economics)


Imported sphagnum peat holds a significant share of the US market for horticultural growing media, but the price of the product is relatively high due to transportation costs. Low-quality alfalfa may provide an effective substitute. The purpose of this research is to identify the characteristics consumers want in a horticultural organic material, to determine the cost competitiveness of an alfalfa-based substitute, and to determine the product's market potential. Results suggest that most consumers would accept alfalfa as a substitute. Production cost estimates range from $111.10 to $162.71 per short ton, depending on the quality of the raw material used. Due to lower transportation costs, the wholesale and retail prices of this new product are estimated to be about 30% lower than sphagnum peat.

Suggested Citation

  • Ziyou Yu & Jay T. Akridge & Michael N. Dana & Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer, 1990. "An Economic evaluation of horticultural alfalfa as a substitute for sphagnum peat moss," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(5), pages 443-462.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:agribz:v:6:y:1990:i:5:p:443-462
    DOI: 10.1002/1520-6297(199009)6:5<443::AID-AGR2720060504>3.0.CO;2-J

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