Title: Labor and materials requirements, costs and returns per acre for tobacco in three Florida counties, 1949
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Agricultural Economics
Series No. 51-13






LABOR AND MATERIALS REQUIREMENTS, COSTS AND RETURNS
PER ACRE FOR TOBACCO

in

THREE FLORIDA COUNTIES
1949

















by


Donald L. Brooke
Associate Agricultural Economist








University of Florida
Agricultural Experiment Stations
Gainesville, Florida
June, 1951







Labor and Materials Requirements, Costs and Returns Per Acre
for Tobacco in Three Florida Counties, 1949

by
Donald L. Brooke
Associate Agricultural Economist

Introduction

In February 1950 the Division of Farm Management and Costs, Bureau of
Agricultural Economics, U.S.D.A,, conducted a survey of practices and costs
of producing tobacco in several southern states. Schedules on flue-cured
(type-l4) tobacco were obtained from a representative sample of farms in
Alachua, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, Florida.l/ Because data of this
type on local practices are badly needed, the Department of Agricultural Eco-
nomics, Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations has obtained copies of the
Florida field schedules. A summary of these by county and type of operation
is presented herein. Four of the Alachua County schedules and five of those
from Suwannee County were for farms on which all cultural operations requiring
power were performed with tractors. These were combined for summarization.
All other records were for farms operated solely with workstock or with work-
stock and tractors in combination. There being only four Suwannee County
schedules for combination workstock and tractor farms, these were combined
with ten similar farms in Hamilton County for summarization. There were 14
schedules for combination workstock and tractor farms in Alachua County.

Farm Characteristics

The 37 farms studied in Florida averaged 252.7 acres of land per farm
with an average of 5 acres in tobacco, Table 1. Of the land in tobacco, slight-
ly more than half or 2.9 acres was tilled by the operator and croppers tilled
an average of 2.1 acres per farm. Only one farm reported the rental of land
for tobacco.

Average production was 1,131 pounds per acre for all farms. Hamilton
County farmers reported the highest average yield with 1,197 pounds per acre.
Tractor farmers reported an average yield of 1,017 pounds per acre.

Prices received for tobacco ranged from 36.4 cents per pound in Hamilton
County to i1.8 cents in Alachua County. The average of all farms was 39.5 cents.

Some special equipment is required on each farm producing tobacco. The
schedules listed this equipment by item, number on hand, value on January 1,
1950, cost of repairs made in 1949, new cost for each item and average years
of use.

The average farm studied had more than one tobacco barn, 3,000 tobacco
sticks and 2.2 curers, Table 2. Seventy percent of the farmers reported a
separate packhouse, while only one farmer in three used transplanters for set-
ting plants in the field. An average of 1.4 handsetters and .6 sprayers per
farm was reported. All farmers used trucks or slides for hauling harvested
1/ Since the Division of Farm Management and Costs was more interested in a
comparison of practices and costs by areas of production, than by states, they
combined records from Alachua County, Florida with those from Ware and Brantley
Counties, Georgia. Schedules from Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, Florida were
combined with those from Appling, Atkinson and Tatnall Counties, Georgia.







Table 1,--General Characteristics of Farms on Which Tobacco Was Grown in
Alachua, Hamilton and Suvannee Counties, Florida, 1949.


Item


Units ars Alachua i/Hamilton. Suwanneel/
: : ~Farms ---- -----


Number of farms
Average size of farm : acres
Tobacco land per farm : acres
Tobacco land owned per farm : acres
Tobacco land rented per farm: acres
Operators tobacco per farm : acres
Cropper's tobacco per farm : acres
Average yield per acre : pounds
Average tobacco produced
per farm : pounds
Average price received : pound
Average land value : acre


: 37
: 252.7
5.0
: .9
: 2.1

: 2.1
1,131

: ,700
:$ 0.395
:$1.o00


14
309.2
6.8
6.6
.2
3.2
3.6
1,137


7,586
$ 0.418
$47.00


14
2144.3
4.4
4.4

2.7
1.7
1,197


5,294
$ 0.364
$44.oo


9
177.8
3.2
3.2

3.0
.2
1,017


3,398
$ 0.388
$46.00


1/ Combination workstock and tractor farms in Alachua and Hamilton Counties.
Tractor farms only in Suwannee County, includes four farms located in
Alachua County.

Table 2.--Average Value, Depreciation, New Cost and Life Use
Per Farm of Special Tobacco Buildings and Equipment, Alachua,
Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, 1949.

: All Farms
Item Value :Deprecia-: Cost :Average
:Number:Jan.l,1950:Repairs:tion,1949:of each: Life
SNew :(years)
Tobacco barns :1.6 $ 601 : 2 :$ 42 : $24 : 20
Sticks :3,077 : 65 : 17 : 27t: 5
Curers :2.2 : 200: : 24 : 136 : 12
Packhouse : .7 : 193 : : 17 : 462 : 20
Transplanters : 3 : 39 : : 172 : 13
Handsetters :1.4 : 6 : : 1 : 7 : 8
Sprayers : .6 34: : : 73 : 10
Trucks or slides : 3.4 : 17 : : 8 : 6

Total : : $1,1 : $ 2 : $113 :$1,409: -


: Alachua:/
Item Number : Value : :Deprecia-
S:Jan.l,1950 : :tion,194?
Tobacco barns : 2.1 : $ 807 : $4 $ 3
Sticks : 4,229 : 96 : : 23
Curers : 2.6 : 239 : : 26
Packhouse .6 : 186 : : 18
Transplanters : : 46 : : 5
Handsetters 1.2 :6 : : 1
Sprayers : : 28 : : 3
Trucks or slides: 3.6: 20 : :
Total : $1,428 : : $133







-3-


Table 2.--Average Value, Depreciation, New Cost and Life Use
Per Farm of Special Tobacco Buildings and Equipment, Alachua,
Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, 1949 (concluded).
: amilton_/
Item er vahe : :ueprecia-
Number Jan. ,190:epars:tion,1949
Tobacco barns : 1. $ 71 $ 1 : $36
Sticks : 2,404 : 43 :11
Curers : 1.8 : 17 : 17
Packhouse : .7: 189 16
Handsetters 2.1 : 9 : 2
Sprayers .6 : 29 : :
Trucks or slides : 3. : 1 : :

Total : $903 : $1 : 90



Suvrannee_/
Item Number : Value Repairs:Deprecia-
:Jan. 1,1950: :tion,1949
Tobacco barns : 1.2 : 483 : 3 : $ 3
Sticks : 2,333 : 1 : : 17
Curers : 2.2 : 220: 31
Packhouse .8 : 211 : : 16
Transplanters : .6 : 87 : : 9
Handsetters .8 : 3 : 1
Sprayers : .8 : 0 : 6
Trucks or slides : 3.2 13 : : 7

Total : 1,118 : $3 : $122
1/ Per 1,000 sticks.
Combination workstock and tractor farms in Alachua
and Hamilton Counties. Tractor farms only in Suwannee
County; includes four farms located in Alachua County,


tobacco to the barn and reported 3.4 trucks or slides.

Special tobacco buildings and equipment were valued at $1,155 per farm
for all farms studied. Alachua County farmers reported equipment worth $1,428
per farm, as compared with an average of $903 in Hamilton County.

Depreciation on special tobacco buildings and equipment averaged $113 per
year and ranged from $90 in Hamilton County to $133 in Alachua County.

Labor and Material Requirements

Plantbeds: Not all farmers who grow tobacco attempt to raise their own
plants; some who do are unsuccessful for various reasons ranging from frost
damage to blue mold infestation. Eleven of the farms studied purchased plants.









The average farmer who grew plants, planted 64 square yards of plantbed for
each acre of tobacco to be set in the field. How much of this was actually
S required to produce the necessary 6,000 to 8,000 plants per acre was not de-
termined. However, in general practice, it is believed that growers plant
approximately twice the amount of bed necessary to produce the required number
of plants for an acre; the excess being a form of insurance against partial
plantbed failure or poor germination of seed. The raising of plants required
an average of 41 man hours, 4.3 horse hours and 4.7 tractor hours of labor per
acre of tobacco set, Table 3. Preparation and seeding of the plantbed required
23.5 man-hours and picking weeds 13.0 man hours of labor.


Table 3.--Usual Labor and Power Requirements for Plantbeds Per Acre of
Tobacco Set, Alachua, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, Florida, 1949.

SAll Farms Alachua
Item :Times: Hours per acre :Times: Hours per acre
:over : Man :Horse:Tractor:over : Man :Horse:Tractor
Plantbed preparation : : :
and seeding : : 23.5: 4.1 : : : 22.9: 6.1 : 5.
Picking weeds : 1. : 13.0: : 1.0 11.3:
Watering : $.2 : .5: .2 : .3 : 5.9 :6.0:
Total : : tl.O: 4.3 : 4.7 : ~0.2: 6.1 5.4
Square yards of seedbed per
acre of tobacco harvested 64 60



:Hamilton :Suwannee
Item :Times: Hours per acre :Times: Hours per acre
:over : Man :Horse:Tractor:over : Man :Horse:Tractor
Plantbed preparation : : : : : : : :
and seeding : : 20.1: 3.9 : .9 : :31.0: : 8.3
Picking weeds : 1.9 10.9: : : 1.2 : 20.8:
W watering : 2.9: 2.1: .7 : .2 : 8.0 : 5.: : .8
Total : : 33.1: 4.6 : 1.1 : : 57.2: : 9.1
Square yards of seedbed per
acre of tobacco harvested 69 :71

The usual material requirements for tobacco plantbeds per acre of tobacco
planted are shown in Table 4. Most growers used poles cut from the farm wood-
lot to outline the perimeter of the bed. Cloth to cover the bed ranged from
17 to 140 yards per acre planted and averaged 64 yards. This cloth is normally
used 2 years for growing plants. An average of 170 pounds of fertilizer was
applied for each 64 square yards of plantbed. Growers used fermate to control
blue mold in the plantbed and required an average of 23 pounds per 64 square
yards of plantbed.

Field: The usual material requirements per acre of tobacco planted for
all farms studied are shown in Table 5. Growers applied an average of 1,228
pounds of a 3-8-5 or 3-8-8 fertilizer per acre. Nitrate of soda used on some
fields as aside dressing, averaged 19 pounds per acre for all farms but ranged
from 0 to 300 pounds. An average of 15 pounds of arsenate of lead and 2 pounds
of paris green per acre was applied to control insects,


- 4-









Table 4.--Usual Material Requirements for Plantbeds Per Acre of Tobacco
Set, Alachua, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, Florida, 1949.

Item Unit : All Farms : Alachua :Hamilton:Suwannee
: Range : Usual : Usual : Usual : Usual
Planks or poles : foot/ : Home grown poles
Cloth : yards/: 17 140 : 64 : 8 : 76 : 77
Seed : ounces : .2 2.1 : .9 : .8 : .9 : .8
Fertilizer : pounds : 65 333 : 170 : 168 : 167 : 178
Nitrate of soda : pounds : 0 25 : 2 : 2 : 3 :
Cyanamid or Uramon : pounds : 0 144 : 38 : 49 : 30 25
Fermate : pounds : 0- 111 : 23 : 3 : 9 : 17
I/ 8ame planks and cloth used 2 years.


Table S.--Usual Field Material Requirements Per Acre of Tobacco,
Alachua, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, Florida, 1949.

Item Kind Unit : All Farms
: Range : Usual
Fertilizer : 3-8-5; 3-8-8 : pounds : 900 2,000 : 1,228
Side dressing : Nitrate of soda : pounds : 0 300 : 19
Poison : Arsenate of lead : pounds : 0 50 : 15
: Paris green : pounds : 0- 17 : 2
Twine : pounds : .9- 6: 3



Itm : Kd : U :.'Alachuna' i:Hatoni.uwannee
Item Kind Unit :
: : Usual : Usual : .Uual
Fertilizer : 3-8-5; 3-8-8 : pounds : 1,114 : 1,236 1,391
Side dressing : Nitrate of soda : pounds: 29 : 33
Poison : Arsenate of lead : pounds : 21 11 : 14
: Paris green pounds : 1 1 : 3
Twine :pounds : 3 : 3 : 4


An average of 192.5 man hours of labor was required to set and grow an
acre of tobacco in the field, Table 6. Tractor farms in Suwannee County used
180.0 man hours of labor as compared with 198.1 man hours per acre on combina-
tion workstock-tractor farms in Alachua County. Tobacco is a crop requiring
a large amount of hand labor and individual plant attention. The peak labor
load is such that not too much savings in time can be gained by using tractors.

Land preparation required 14.3 man hours per acre for all farms and ranged
from 9.9 man hours in Suwannee County to 19,8 man hours in Hamilton County. In
preparing land for tobacco planting, these data show that from 3 to 10 man hours
can be saved by using tractors.

Most growers transplanted by hand or with handsetters. Pulling plants
required 18.2 man hours per acre, setting 23.5 man hours and resetting 5.3 man






























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hours or a total of 47.0 hours per acre. Transplanting time ranged from an
average of 40 man-hours on Hamilton County farms to 57 man .hours on Suwannee
County farms.

Growing after planting consumed 68 percent of the man-hour requirements
or 131.2 hours per acre. Of this amount 42 hours were used in suckering and
worming, 37 hours in applying poison, 28 hours in hoeing, 13 hours in topping
plants and 10 hours in cultivating. Growers applied poison six times, cultiva-
ted four times, suckered and wormed plants three times, hoed twice and topped
plants an average of two times.

Harvesting and Selling: Cropping or priming of tobacco required 52 man
hours per acre for all farms, Table 7, Benchwork or stringing of the leaves
on sticks required 93 man hours per acre and hanging in the barn 24 man hours.
Total harvesting and barning time ranged from 180.9 man-hours in Suwannee
County to 201.7 man hours in Alachua County and averaged 185.1 man hours for
all farms.

Curing time ranged from 19.9 hours per acre in Alachua County to 77.0
hours per acre in Hamilton County. This wide variation is accounted for al-
most wholly by the type of curers used in the barn. Oil curers require less
attention than old style wood curers. It is possible for one man to tend two
oil curers at one time. However, a wood curer takes almost constant care and
allows little time for tasks other than the curing operation. An average of
1.5 curings per acre was required and the most usual size of tobacco barn was
18 feet square.

Taking the tobacco out of the barn after curing required an average of
17.7 man hours per acre. Variations between areas were small.

Repiling of tobacco after removal from the barn to storage required 12.4
hours per acre. Grading and tying time ranged from h4.8 to 80.5 man hours and
averaged 63.1 man hours per acre for all farms.

Hauling from farm to market and selling required an average of 13.8 hours
per acre. This varied from 10.1 man hours in Hamilton County, whose growers
are closer to the market, to 17.8 hours for Alachua County, whose growers are
farther away from the market.

Total labor requirements ranged from 532.4 man hours on tractor farms in
Suwannee County to 586.4 man hours per acre on combination workstock and trac-
tor farms in Alachua County, Table 8. The average for all areas was 567.3 man
hours of which 59 percent was harvesting and selling, 34 percent field or pro-
duction labor and 7 percent plantbed preparation and care.

Cost and Returns

The average cost of producing tobacco and return from its sale was com-
puted for the average of all farms rather than by areas, Tables 9, 10 and 11.
Materials for the plantbed cost an average of $14.12 per acre of tobacco grown.
Fertilizer, side dressing and poison in the field cost $33.74 per acre and
twine and fuel oil used in harvesting averaged $31.92 per acre. The total cost
of materials was $79.78 per acre of tobacco planted.

Labor costs averaged $226.92 per acre of which $133.52 or 59 percent was






















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Table 9.--Average Cost of Materials Per Acre of Tobacco,
Alachua, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, Florida, 1949.

: Average : Per Acre
Item : Unit a cost t Units Cost
: per unit required:
Plantbed: :
Cloth/ : yard : 0.10 6 $ 3.20
Seed : ounce 2.00 : 9 : 1.80
Fertilizer : pound : .023 170 : 3.91
Nitrate of soda : pound : .O44 : 2 : .09
Cyanamid or Uramon : pound .0 : 38 1,90
Fermate : pound .14 : 23 3,22

Total plantbed : $14.12

Field:
Fertilizer : pound .0215 1,228 : $26.40
Nitrate of soda : pound : .44 : 19 : .8
Arsenate of lead : pound .36 : 1 :40
Paris green : pound : .55 2 1.10

Total field : $33.74

Harvesting:
Twine : pound 70 3 : 2.10
Fuel oil : gallon : .14 213 29.82

Total harvest : : : $31.92
Total cost of materials: $79.78

1/ Cloth used 2 years.







- 10 -


Table 10.--Average Cost for Labor and Machinery Per Acre of Tobacco,
Alachua, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, Florida, 1949.

Item : Hours : Cost
t per acre Rate Amount
Man Labor:
Plantbed : 41.O : 40 : $ 16.40
Land preparation : 14.3 : .40 : .72
Transplanting : 7.0 : .0 : 1880
Growing after planting : 131.2 : .40 : 2.48
Harvesting : 256.9 : .40 : 102.76
Grading, hauling and selling : 76.9 : .0 : 30.76
Total man labor : : : 226.92
Horse Labor:
Plantbed 4.3 : .30 : $ 1.29
Land preparation 9.6 : .30 : 2.88
Transplanting : .1 : .30 : .03
Growing after planting : 18.8 .30 : 5.64
Harvesting : 18. : .30 :.52
Total horse labor : 1 .36
Tractor Use:
Plantbed 4.7 .75 : 3.52
Land preparation 4.9 .75 : 3.68
Transplanting : .75 : .38
Growing after planting : 2.2 .75 : 1.6
Harvesting : 3.5 : .75 : 2.63
Total tractor use : : 11.86
Total labor cost 2:: 2.14


Table ll.--Summary of Costs and Returns Per Acre of Tobacco,
Alachua, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, Florida, 1949.

Item Amount
Number of farms 37
Acres of tobacco per farm :50
Average yield per acre (pounds) 1,131

Expenses: : Per acre
Man labor $ 226.92
Horse labor 15.36
Tractor use :11.86
Materials 79.78
Depreciation on special tobacco equipment 22.60
Repairs on special tobacco equipment 2.00
Total expenses : $ 358.52
Sales @ $0.395 per pound : $ 446.7
Return to land and management $ 88.22








11 -
harvesting and selling cost, 077.00 or 34 percent field or production cost and
$16.40 or 7 percent plantbed labor costs.

Horse labor computed at $0.30 per hour, cost the grower ")15.36 per acre.
Fifty-six percent of this cost was for field or production labor and 36 per-
cent for harvesting.

The cost of using tractors computed at $0.75 per hour averaged $11.86 per
acre for all farms. Forty-eight percent of this cost was in field or produc-
tion use, and 30 percent for use in connection with the plantbed.

Depreciation on special tobacco buildings and equipment averaged $22.60
per acre and repairs $2.00 per acre.

Total expenses for all farms averaged $358.,2, sales $h46.74 and returns
to land and management $88.22 per acre.


DLB:fw 6/1/51
Exp. Sta., Ag. Ec. 300




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