Title Page
 Economic importance
 Costs and returns


Cost of producing celery on Evergaldes organic soils, season 1937-38...
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066205/00001
 Material Information
Title: Cost of producing celery on Evergaldes organic soils, season 1937-38...
Physical Description: 2 v. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Howard, Raymond Holt
University of Florida -- Agricultural Extension Service
Florida State College for Women
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: University of Florida, Agricultural Extension Service
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Creation Date: 1937
Publication Date: 1939-1940
Frequency: annual
Subjects / Keywords: Celery -- Growth -- Costs -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
Statement of Responsibility: by R. H. Howard.
Dates or Sequential Designation: 1937/1938-1937/1938 to 1938/1939.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: Each issue is cumulative from the 1937/1938 growing season.
General Note: "Cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics (Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914) Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida, Florida State College for Women, and United States Department of Agriculture cooperating".
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 70875581
lccn - 2006229360
System ID: UF00066205:00001
 Related Items

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Economic importance
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Costs and returns
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
Full Text


(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)

S"SaASo0T 1937-38,

By R. H. Howard,
Assistant Extension Economist
in Farm Ido]Lvrueent.


Celery AE 1

SMaroh, 1939



By R. H. Howard

In order to assist growers in determining costs of producing celery
on peat and muck soils of Palm Beach County, the Agricultural Extension
Service surveyed the operations of four grower-operators at the close of the
1937-3S crop year. There were only five grower-operators during this year.
The survey covered 408 of the 420 acres planted in the area.

The first commercial acreage planted to celery on the Everglades
muck soil, sufficient for car-lot shipments, was about a decade ago. However,
it was not until 1933-34 that any.real expansion of celery acreage occurred.
According to the Everglades Experiment Stationl/ the muck soils are particu-
larly well adapted to various truck crops, and especially to the leaf crops
in which celery is included. "The rapidly increasing utilization of Ever-
glades organic soils for the production of celery is, therefore, a logical
development." This bulletin further points out some of the nore important
characteristics of the Everglades organic soils for celery production. Among
the irTortant factors are: With adequate drainage, the level of the water
table can be regulated during the growing season; more efficient utilization
of fertilizer materials because of water control and the adsorptive capacity
of the organic soils; high nitrogen content which is gradually released in
forms available to plants; and soils are not highly acid and applications of
limestone or hydrated line are not necessary.

There are certain disadvantages inherent in the organic soils of the
Everglades for celery production. The greatest disadvantage is probably the
necessity of adequate drainage facilities consisting of drainage ditches and
mole drainage in the fields. When the muck soils are comparatively dry, there
is danger of fire which would materially reduce their value for crop produc-
tion. Then too, these soils are deficient in potassium and phosphorus. These
soils are also deficient in available manganese, zinc, and copper. Experi-
ments conducted by the Everglades Experiment Station in which these deficien-
cies were discovered aided materially in the profitable production of celery
and many other truck crops on the muck soils,


Until recent years, string beans were a comparatively sure money crop
on the muck soils of the Everglades, With increased plantings, coLpetition
of other producing areas, and relatively lower purchasing power of consumers,
profits have been materially reduced. For this and other reasons, farmers in
this area have been forced to try other possible crops.

/J A Fertility Program for Celory Production on Everglades Organic Soils,
Experiment Station Bulletin 333, by Dr. J, R. Beckenbach, Truck Crop


Among the noro recent and rapidly expanding truck crops in the muck
soils are white potatoes, Lima beans, and celery. There were only five
carloads of celery reported as being shipped from Palm Beach County during
the 1928-29 season. By 1937-38 the car-lot loadings had increased to 347,
according to Florida State Marketing Bureau reports (Table I). There has
been a steady increase in number of car-lot shipments from this area since
1933-434. Shipments of celery have increased more than 500 percent during
the five-year period ending with the 1937-38 season.


Counties : 1933-34 : 1934-35 : 1935-36 : 1936-37 : 1937-38
Seminole 5062 5191 5263 6225 5890
Sarasota 2273 1245 1401 1588 1631
Manatee 641 481 565 503 396
Palm Beach 54 57 82 191 347
SExclusive of boat shipments. Compiled from reports of the
Florida State Marketing Bureau.

Of the 420 acres planted in celery, according to the survey, 376
acres were harvested for market. Based upon the averae yield obtained of
448 packed crates per acre (Table III), total production for the season
amounted to better thnr 168,000 packed crates. The gross income to growers
amounted to about $180,000,00, The ?;ross income from .~ulcry is small in
relationship to many other truck crops grown on the mtck soils of the Ever-
glades. However, duo to the profitableness of this crop when compared with
other crops of the area for the past few years, indications are that it is
likely to become of much greater economic importance i- the future. The
acreage of celery in 1I37-38 ranked eighth among the truck crops grown in
Prlm Beach County, acc-rding to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Divi-
sion of Crop and Livestock Estimates (Table II).

COUNTY, FLORIDA, SEASONS 1933-34 TO 1937-38.-i

Kind ; 1933-34 : 1934-35 : 1935-36 : 1936-37 : 1937-38
Beans (String) 36,800 36,700 26, OO 25,100 28,800
Peas, green 4,000 4,500 7,700 5,800 5,800
Tomatoes 2, 00 4,750 10,500 3,800 8,800
Potatoes 400 1,150 900 2,400 3,000
Cabbage 1,500 1,400 2,000 1,800 2,000
Lina beans 1/ V/ 500 700 1,500
Poppers 125 175 75 250 400
Celery 100 50 100 180 350

1i Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Division of Crops and Livestock
2/ Not reported separately, Included in string bean acreage,


The average costs of production and returns from celery grown in
the Everglades during the 1937-38 season are shown in Table III. These data
were obtained by the survey method, with the exception of costs of marketing
and returns from celery, a large part of which were obtained from packing-
house records,

It should be noted that the data were obtained from farm operators
rather than growers. Two operators who had celery acreage of their own also
grew additional acreage with someone else but supervised the farm operations.
Then too, all operators grew two or more crops during the year, which made it
difficult to allocate accurately depreciation on equipment, repairs, gas and
oil, and other farm expenses chargeable to celery production. For this
reason, most items of cost include labor, power, and equipment involved in
performing the operations. The average costs are based upon acreage planted.
Low prices were primarily responsible for the unharvested acreage.
Apparently one of the more important factors affecting profitable pro-
duction of celery on the muck soils of the Everglades is well prepared land,
including proper drainago for seedbeds and fields where it is to be grown.
The necessary expense of preparing new lands for celery has made it difficult
for the growers who rent their lands for only one year to compete with the
owner-operators and those who lease their celery lands for sevorrl years. If
facilities for adequate water control through means of mole drainage with
ditches and motor pumps have to be provided on new land each year, the cost
of producing celery is proportionately greater. Too much water can be as
harmful as an insufficient amount. 'Except at the time of sowing the seed
and at the time of setting plants to the field, the water table should be kept
at a depth of from 16 to 24 inches throughout the entire growing period of
the crop. A high water table shuts necessary soil air from the plant roots
and will result in drowning, the crop, and a very low water table may result
in a water deficiency." /

Naturally, one might expect considerable variation in costs incurred
in growing ccleor' in a conprwratively new area, and particularly so for a crop
about which until recently little information was known as to profitable
practices. Since the production of this crop previously has been confined
to a few operators, the practices have been fairly uniform.

The cost of producing plants sufficient to set an acre of celery in
the field ranged from $21.79 to $28.05. The average cost was $22.69 per acre
for all operators. Variation in average cost for the different operators was
due principally to expense for labor, as r,-ost other items of cost were fairly
uniform. Seedbeds, with the exception of one operator's, were 4 feet wide
and 300 feet lone. Sufficient plants were grown on these beds to set an acre
of celery consisting of approximately 50,000 plants.

Costs of growing and harvesting an acre of celery delivered to .the
packinghouse ranged from $163.47 to $179.98, and the average for all operators

1/ Experiment Station Bulletin 333.


Nurnber of Operators
Acres Planted 40o
Acres Harvested 364
Average Yield of Harvested Acreage (Crates) 44g

Per Acre
Costs of Growing Plants:
Rent on land $ .54
Preparing seedbed 5,73
Fertilizer .86
Seed 2.90
Applying fertilizer and seeding .32
Spraying including materials 1.33
IrriCation expense .9
Labor (Weedin and covering beds) 4.24
Depreciation on seedbed frames and covers 5.50
Miscellaneous .28
Total $22.69

Costs of Growing nnd Harvesting:
Rent on land $10.91
Growing cover crop 3.58
Preparing land for celery 6,07
Fertilizer 34.77
Applying fertilizer .86
Transplanting from seedbed to field 14.03
Water control 2.88
Qultivating and weeding 11.64
Spraying including materials 16.17
Aoplying and removing paper 11.38
Depreciation on paper and wire 9.30
Cutting celery and field stripping 34.36
Hauling to packinghouse 15.-
Total $171.63

Costs of Marketing:
Grading $55.24
Pre-cooling 35.84
Crates 85.12
Selling 32.70
Total $211.90

Total Cost Excludin. Production Interest
and Operator's Supervision $4o6.22
Returns from Celory Marketed 487.76
Net Returns to Operator 81.54

was $171.63 per acre. On the average, fertilizer represented the largest
singlo item of cost in producing celery, and also exhibited the greatest per
acre difference es in expense. Two operators used the same mixture, of ferti-
lizer but used different rates per acre. The other operators used a wide
variation In percentage of different plant nutrients as well as rate of ap-
plication. This accounts, in part, for the great variation in cost of fer-
tilizer which ranged from $31.50 to $47.50 per acre. Among the plant
nutrients used in the comnercinl nixed fertilizers wero: phosphorus, potas-
sium, manganese, zinc, copper, sulphur, and boron. Operators surveyed did
not use any nitrogen. All operators used phosphorus in the form of super-
phosphate, and potassium as muriate or sulphate of potash. The available
phosphorus applied in a ton of fertilizer ranged from 10 to 12 percent, while
the potassium varied from 18 to 30 percent, The ratio of these nutrients
ran-od from 0-12-18 to 0-10-30, and the mixtures were applied at the rate of
about one ton per acre.

Celery growers in the Everglades would probably do well to obtain a
copy of a recent bulletin published by the Agricultural Experiment Station
entitled "A Fertility Program for Celery Production on Everglados Organic
Soils" and follow the recommended fertilization practices which are based upon
experiments carried on over a period of years,

In brief, tho Experiment Station reconnends a fertilizer analyzing
3 percent nitrogen, 6 percent phosphate, and 12 percent potash, broadcast (dis-
tributed with a seed-drill) at the rate of one ton per acre when the strip-
pings of the previous crop have been retained on the land. If strippings are
removed from the field for sanitary reasons, it would probably be advisable
to continue the use of the 3-6-12 fertilizer but at the rate of approximately
one and one-half tons per acre, It may be beneficial to apply a side dressingg
of nitrate of soda or nitrate of potash if during the growing season it should
be unseasonably wet and cold on unburned soils,

In addition, it was found that small qu-titits of manganese, zinc,
and copper, and possibly boron in some areas, added to the mixture of ferti-
lizer would be beneficial. However, the experiments carried on by the Station
showed a definite deficiency of manganese in these soils. Recommendations are
that 100 pounds of manariese sulphatu be applied per acre with the fertilizer
provided no application has been previously added to the land. After the
first yepr'o application, 25 pounds per acre will probably be sufficient.
Celery requirement for zinc is comparatively small. The addition of 25 pounds
of zinc sulphate per acre in the fertilizer the first year celery is grown
on the land, and thereafter 10 to 15 pounds per acre will probably be suffi-
cient. Copper was found to be not so much of a problem with celery if
Bordeaux sprays are used, copper being the normal base for this insecticide.
However, the first year that celery is grown on the land, it might be well to
add 100 pounds of some snow-form of copper sulphate per acre alonri with the
fertilizer. If synthetic fertilizers are used exclusively in making up the
mixed fertilizer, 't might be well to add 10 to 15 pounds of borax per ton of
fertilizer as an insurance against a deficiency of boronr. Based upon present
knowledge, no other olonents are needed or should be added to the muck soils
where celery is to be grown, according to the Everglades Experiment Station

All operators incurred expenses for all items listed under "costs
of growing and harvesting" (Table III) except growing a cover crop. Because
most operators rent their celery land each year and obtain possession of it
too late for planting a cover crop, this practice of growing a louminous
cover crop prior to setting celery has not been followed by most growers.
However, the operator who obtained the largest yield planted a crop of velvet
beans and turned them under prior to setting the 1937*-3 crop. It was the
opinion of growers that a loguminous crop grown on the land before setting
celery would help to put the soils in a good state of tilth.

Naturally, the total cost of marketing an acre of celery would vary
directly with yield per aore when most operations are hired by the crate.
Based uppn the average yield of 448 crates per acre, the average cost of mar-
koting was approximately $0,47 per crate. Of the $0.47 total, grading
amounted to 13 cents, preyscooling 8, crates 19, and selling 7 cents per crato.

The total cost, excluding interest On production capital used and
operator's supervision, was $406.22 per acre or 90.6 cents per crate marketed.
The average return was approximately $1.09 per crate or $487.76 per acre.
Net returns per crate to operator amounted to 18,4 cents. According to the
survey, the difference between total cost of production (as computed in
Table III) and returns from celery marketed was $81.54 per acre for the
1937-38 crop. This would have paid interest on a production loan of $2C'0.00
(at 6 percent for six months) leaving $75.54 per acre for the operator's
supervision and profit. However, it should be noted that these data are based
upon one years operations only and may not be representative for a period of

ACKITOWLEDGEMEIrTS; The writer wishes to express his appreciation to the
celery growers who furnished information which made this study possible, and
to make special mention of their cooperation and interest; to Mr. M. U. Mounts,
Palm Beach County Agricultural Agent, for assistance in obtaining the data;
to Dr. J. R, Beckenbach, Associate Truck Horticulturist of the Everglades
Experiment Station, who read the manuscript and made valuable suggestions.
Much credit is also due Dr, C. V. Noble, Head of the Departnent of Agricultural
Economics, for his valuable suggestions,
RHH Ext,
3/27/39 500