271-4 Consumer 'preferences for Warm Season Turfgrass Attributes.

See more from this Division: C05 Turfgrass Science
See more from this Session: Symposium--USDA-SCRI Turfgrass Breeding Projects

Tuesday, November 17, 2015: 2:30 PM
Hilton Minneapolis, Marquette Ballroom VII-VIII

Tracy Boyer1, Monika Ghimire2 and Chanjin Chung1, (1)Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
(2)Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
Turfgrass is a pervasive feature of the urban landscape in United States of America (USA). In arid and semiarid regions, 40-75% of household irrigation is accounted by turfgrass irrigation (Mayer et.al. 1999). Mandatory irrigation restrictions, water audits, and limits on turfgrass irrigation have been imposed in many cities to reduce water scarcity and to meet water demand for long term and during drought (e.g., City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma). In addition, a lack of freshwater or municipally treated water has compelled the use of effluent or other low quality water for turfgrass irrigation. The use of low quality water for irrigating lawn, intrusion of seawater in the coastal cities, and use of salt for road thawing have increased the problem of salinity in turfgrass. The non-traditional, low maintenance and the stress resistant turfgrass varieties have to be adopted to cope with the stresses and also to maintain the environmental benefit from turfgrass. Identifying the preference of consumers for saline and drought tolerant cultivars in conjunction with other characteristics such as maintenance has the potential to reduce turf maintenance and input costs.

Prior studies have shown that people are willing to pay for environmentally friendly goods and services (e.g., Engel and Potschke 1998; Hu, Woods, and Bastin 2009). However, concerns for the environment vary widely among consumers especially in adoption of new products and services. Thus, it is necessary to conduct valid research to understand consumers’ attitudes toward new products, i.e., abiotic stress tolerant turfgrass in this case. Little formal applied economic research has been performed on the consumer preferences and willingness to pay for of specific cultivars on the sod industry. However, the preference of consumers about the abiotic stress resistant and low maintenance turfgrass cultivars has not been identified. This information will contribute to connect the research progress and turfgrass market. Yue et.al (2012) used a choice experiment with real product to assess consumer’s willingness to pay for low input attributes of turfgrass, and reported that consumer’s demand and preference were greatly influenced by maintenance attributes of turfgrass. Their study was limited to a small portion of household consumer of turfgrass in Minnesota. It is known that consumer preferences for any good and services including turfgrass are characterized by heterogeneity. Heterogeneity arises due to difference in socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Limiting study to a particular area might induce a biased demand forecasting model. Thus, our study covers five states of USA (Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Texas) to account for more heterogeneity among consumers and the study focuses on abiotic stress related issues of turfgrass. To account for heterogeneity in random utility models, latent class model (LCM) has been identified (Greena and Hensher, 2003).  This study compares and contrasts individual attribute estimates and willingness to pay values for turfgrass attributes using the LCM. An internet based survey was performed over 1,194 randomly selected homeowners from five states (Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina) of the southern region of USA for the willingness to pay analysis. The survey composed of stated choice experiments and general and demographic questions. Preliminary results show that the market is segmented into willing hobby gardeners who are willing to adopt new varieties and reluctant consumers who do not wish to pay for greater performing varieties. The results of this study will be highly applicable for the development of consumer preferred new turfgrass varieties that would minimize the economic and environmental costs of turfgrass maintenance.


Engel,U. and M.Potschke 1998. “Willingness to pay for the environment: social structure, value orientations and environmental behaviour in a multilevel perspective. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research 11(3):315-32.

Greene, W. H. and Hensher, D. A. 2003. “A latent class model for discrete choice analysis: contrasts with mixed logit.” Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 37(8):681-698.

Hu,W., T.Woods, and S.Bastin 2009. “Consumer acceptance and willingness to pay for blueberry products with nonconventional attributes. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 41(1):47-60.

Yue,C. et al. 2012. “Are consumers willing to pay more for low-input turfgrasses on residential lawns? Evidence from choice experiments. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 44(4):549

Islam, T., Louviere, J. J., & Burke, P. F. 2007. “Modelling the effects of including/excluding attributes in choice experiments on systematic and random components.” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 24(4):289-300.

Mayer, P.W. , W.B. Deoreo, E.M. Opitz, J.C. Kiefer, W.Y. Davis, B. Dziegielewski, and J.O. Nelson. 1999. “Residential End Uses of Water.” Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.310pp.

See more from this Division: C05 Turfgrass Science
See more from this Session: Symposium--USDA-SCRI Turfgrass Breeding Projects