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Group Title: Research report - Bradenton Agricultural Research & Education Center - GC1974-9
Title: Strawberry production costs in the Plant City area, 1974
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00067755/00001
 Material Information
Title: Strawberry production costs in the Plant City area, 1974
Series Title: Bradenton AREC research report
Physical Description: 4 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Levins, Richard A
Downs, R. D
Agricultural Research & Education Center (Bradenton, Fla.)
Publisher: Agricultural Research & Education Center, IFAS, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Bradenton FL
Publication Date: 1974
 Subjects
Subject: Strawberries -- Economic aspects -- Florida -- Plant City   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: R.A. Levins and R.D Downs.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "October, 1974."
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00067755
Volume ID: VID00001
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 - 73267878

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HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida





S3 -i AGRICP"CU AL RESEARCH & P7"CATION CENTER
G C S IFAS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

ERADENTON AREC RESEARCH REPORT GC1974-9 October, 1974

STRAWBERRY PRODUCTION COSTS IN THE PLANT CITY AREA, 1974

R. A. Levins and R. D. Downs1

A survey of several local farmers growing Tioga strawberries and researchers
at the Agricultural Research Center in Dover, Florida, was recently conducted to
determine the costs of growing strawberries in the Plant City area. The total
growing cost in 1974 was estimated at $2484.45 per acre pLus $1.77 per flat for
harvesting, packing, and containers (see Table 1). This epo t -use~ the cost
estimates in Table 1 to answer some questions commonly a~kd42i out- th"e eonamics
of growing strawberries. 7 i

Why $354.45 for spray materials? F
197
We figured that the field would be sprayed once aw-eek for the fis fouren
weeks and twice a week for the next eleven weeks. DuriFgtlis time Benlate wold
be applied 18 times, Captan 29 times, Omite 9 times, Phosdin W6.'ip, d Di b om
9 times, all at recommended label rates. At May 1974 prices theset iould
cost $354.45. J

Obviously, a farmer who is careful not to needlessly apply extra spray mater-
ials will be on his way to saving a fair amount of money on his production costs.

Why are those "fixed costs" included in Table 1?

There's more to equipment costs than fuel, oil, and repairs. By the very
fact that you own equipment, regardless of how much you use it, you face "fixed
costs," the biggest part being depreciation. If market prices are not enough to
cover the fixed costs of equipment at current prices, the strawberry industry
will not be healthy for two reasons. The first is that no new growers will try
their luck since they won't be able to justify the large initial investment in
equipment and land. The second is that existing growers will be in a financial
bind when they are faced with having to replace worn out equipment.

The yearly fixed costs were estimated as follows:

Irrigation system $1,350
25 h.p. tractor with fertilizer
distributors and cultivators 625
Sprayer 320
Grove disk 135
Fumigation equipment 100
1/2 ton truck 750

This is a total of $3,280, which works out to $656 per acre for a five acre farm.




1R. D. Downs is a Hillsborough County Extension Agent specializing in vegetables.







TABLE 1. COST OF PRODUCING STRAWBERRIES IN THE PLANT CITY AREA, 1974


Item Cont
Dollars per acre

NON-HARVEST COSTS

Remove plastic from previous crop
8 hrs. labor @ $2.14/hr.l 17.12

Disk (double-cut), 2 times, 1.5 hrs. each time
Tractor & driver & dice 0 $&.63/hr.2 13.89

Fertilizer for cover crop
Chicken manure,,3 tons, 'delivered and spread 20.00

Plant cover crop, one time
Tractor & driver, 30 min. @ $4.06/hr. 2.03
Seed, 50 Ibs. sorghum 13.00

Disk cover crop (double-cut), 4 times, 1.5 hra. each time
Tractor & driver & disc 0 $4.63/hr 27.78

Lay off rows, one time, one hour each time
Tractor & driver @ $4.06/hr. 4.06

Fertilize, two times, one hr. each time
Tractor & driver, $4.06/hr 8.12
Fertilizer, 3,000 lbs. 6-8-8 special @ $95/ton 142.50

Fumigate, 1 time, 4 hrs each time
Tractor & driver & fumigator 0 $4.59/hr 18.36
3 helpers @ $2.14/hr. 25.68
Fumigant, 175 lb. HC-33 @ $.78/lb. 136.50
Plastic, 11,000' 0 $12.00/1000' 132.00

Set Plants
40 brs. labor @ $2.14/hr. 85.60
23,000 plants @ $23/1,000 529.00

Cultivate, 3 times, 1 hr. each time
Tractor & driver @ $4.06/hr. 12.18

Spraying, 36 applications, 30 min. each time
Tractor & driver & sprayer @ $A.58/hr. 82.A4
Spray materials 354.45

Electricity for Irrigation 75.00

Land Rent 50.00

Interest on above expenses, 9Z for 6 months 78.74

Fixed cost of equipment 656.00

Total Non-Harvest Cost 2484.45
- --------------------------------------------------
HARVEST COSTS Dollars per flat

Picking 1.07
Other Labor (leveling flats, etc.) .10
Packing materials .55
Hauling .05

Total Harvest Cost 1.77
------------------------ ---- ----
***TOTAL GROWING COST IS $2484.45 PLUS $1.77 PER FLAT HARVESTING COST***


1. All wage rates and piece rates include Social Security.
2. Equipment costs were updated from a 1971 study by Dr. R. E. L. Greene. Tractor
drivers were figured at $2.50 per hour.





-3-


What price will I need to break even?


The "break-even p:ice" depends on the yield. Break-even prices for yields
of 1,400, 1,700, and 2,000 flats per acre are shown in Table 2.



Table 2. Production costs per flat.


Sales Non-harvest cots Harvest costs Total cost

Flats per acre --------------- Dollars per flat -----------------------

1400 1.77 1.77 3.54

1700 1.46 1.77 3.23

2000 1.25 1.77 3.02



Remember that the break-even prices are the absolute minimum average prices
that will cover the costs in Table 1. In a healthy industry, market prices will
be higher than the break-even prices to cover the salary you pay yourself for
managing the farm and to compensate for the risks involved in growing straw-
berries.

Won't these break-even prices be lower for me if I do some of the work myself
instead of hiring it done?

Yes if you don't mind working for free. Otherwise, you should figure
on paying yourself the same as you would pay anyone else for doing a job.

How do "you-pick" berries affect the break-even price?

The effect of you-picks on the break-even price will depend on both the
number of flats marketed and the number of quarts sold as you-picks.

As an example, assume yo u have sold 1400 flats on the market and you decide
to keep your field open 3 days a week for 6 more weeks for you-picks. During
this time 3600 quarts are sold at 25 each.

This is $900 additional gross income. However, to pay someone $2.14 per
hour for the 18 days to supervise the field will add $308 to your costs.
Sprayi: once a week with Captan and Omite will add another $62 to the costs.
So by the time these costs are subtracted from $900, $530 is left. Dividing
this among 1400 flats will come to 38 per flat.

Therefore, selling you-picks in this example reduces the break-even price
from $3.54 per flat to $3.16 per flat.





-4-


How accurate are the cost estimates in this report?


Although every effort was made to assure that the numbers in Table 1
were reasonably accurate, the fact remains that everyone does things a little
differently and costs are changing all the time. Therefore, you may want to
change the numbers in Table 1 to whatever you think they should be for your
farm. Knowing what your costs are is a first step towards good farm manage-
ment.














The use of "trade" names is for purposes of clarification and does not
constitute endorsement of any product.




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