Title: Packing labor and returns for tomatoes by type of container
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090235/00001
 Material Information
Title: Packing labor and returns for tomatoes by type of container
Series Title: Packing labor and returns for tomatoes by type of container
Physical Description: p. 128-130 : ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Spurlock, A. H
Florida State Horticultural Society
Publisher: Florida State Horticultural Society
Place of Publication: S.l
Publication Date: 1951?
 Subjects
Subject: Tomato industry -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Tomatoes -- Packing -- Costs -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: A.H. Spurlock.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: At head of title: Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 1951, Vol. LXIV.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00090235
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 309834544

Full Text










Reprinted from the Proceedings of the
FLORIDA STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
1951, Vol. LXIV






PACKING LABOR AND RETURNS FOR TOMATOES

BY TYPE OF CONTAINER


A. H. SPURLOCK

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Gainesville

Not many years ago most Florida tomatoes
were packed in lugs for shipment to out-of-
state markets. Now many other types of con-
tainers are used and a large part of the crop
is sold in some package other than the lug.
Factors responsible for this shift are the in-
crease in prepackaging of tomatoes after
ripening at the terminal and an increase in
transportation by motor trucks.
The great diversity of containers as to size,
shape, material and net capacity doubtless has
brought a certain amount of confusion into
the packing, selling and transporting of toma-
toes. A smaller number of containers even-
tually may become standardized, but many will
be tried by handlers. Most receivers as well
as packers of tomatoes have a preference for
certain containers, depending upon their in-
dividual situation.
PRICES AND RETURNS BY CONTAINERS
In 1948-49 and 1949-50 the entire tomato
sales of one large packinghouse were analyzed
by type of sale and type .of container used.
Since most of them were made on an f.o.b.
basis other types of sale did not have represen-
tative quantities for comparison, and consid-
eration of price by containers is here given
only for f.o.b. sales. However, other types of
sale showed the same general pattern. All
containers have been converted to the same
equivalent quantity as lugs to facilitate com-
parisons.
In the Spring of 1950 the f.o.b. price, on a


season basis, was slightly highest for tomatoes
sold in open-top bushel boxes, averaging $3.06
per equivalent lug. However, there was not
much difference over the wirebound bushel box
(TAB), which averaged $3.03, and the lug
which averaged $2.97 (Table 1). The 38-pound
carton, in which small quantities were sold,
showed up at a disadvantage, averaging only
$2.31 per equivalent lug. This was a rather
new container at that time and had not been
used by this packinghouse previously. The
low price perhaps was due in part to the
skepticism and caution exercised by buyers
when first accepting a new and untried con-
tainer.
In the Fall crop of 1949 the f.o.b. price of
the open-top bushel box again averaged high-
est, with $3.13 per equivalent lug. compared
with $2.57 for the lug.
When packing and waxing costs were de-
ducted from the f.o.b. price received, the larger
containers showed higher returns to the grower
than lugs. Packing and waxing costs were
higher per pound of tomatoes, when packed in
lugs than when packed in the larger containers.
For the Spring crop of 1950 the net amount
paid the grower after deducting all packing
and handling costs was $2.47 per equivalent
lug for tomatoes sold in open-top bushel boxes,
$2.45 for bushel wirebounds, and $2.09 for lugs.
The small sample of 38-pound cartons averaged
only $1.90 to the grower.
The grower received from the Fall crop of
1949 $1.69 for lugs, $2.81 for the same quantity
in open-top bushel boxes, and $3.01 for bushel
wirebounds, though the sample of the latter
was too small to be reliable.
Going one season further back, the grower









SPURLOCK: TOMATO CONTAINER STUDIES


received from the Spring crop of 1949 $2.07
for lugs, $2.22 for the same quantity in bushel
boxes, and $2.18 in wirebounds. For the Fall
crop of 1948 the grower price was $3.26 per
lug and $3.42 for the same amount in bushel
boxes. No other containers were used for that
crop.

Comparing prices by containers on a season-
average basis may not give accurate results


than the average. There were very few to-
matoes which sized 7x8. For No. 2 tomatoes,
Spring 1950, size 6x6 and larger brought 9
percent more than the average; size 6x7
brought 4 percent less; and 7x7 27 percent
less than the average.

Prices for the Fall crop of 1949 also were
in order of size, but size 6x7 in grade 1 toma-
toes brought almost as much as size 6x6.


TABLE 1.
TOMATOES: F.O.B. VALUE AND NET TO GROWER PER EQUIVALENT LUG'
Number 1 Grade, F.O.B. Sales

Open-top Wirebound 38 Lb.
Lug Bushel Box Bushel Box (TAB) Carton
Spring Crop, 1950
Equivalent number of lugs 14,869 47,299 14,306 3,213
Net F.O.B. Value $2.97 $3.06 $3.03 $2.31
Packing and Handling .88 .32 .58 .41
Net to Grower $2.09 $2.74 $2.45 $1.90
Fall Crop, 1949
Equivalent number of lugs 17,301 14,107 706
Net F.O.B. Value $2.57 $3.13 $3.59
Packing and Handling .88 .32 .58
Net to Grower $1.69 $2.81 $3.01
Spring Crop, 1949
Equivalent number of lugs 45,330 37,873 7,645
Net F.O.B. Value $2.95 $2.54 $2.76
Packing and Handling .88 .32 .58
Net to Grower $2.07 $2.22 $2.18
Fall Crop, 1948
Equivalent number of lugs 13,573 21,950
Net F.O.B. Value $4.14 $3.74
Packing and Handling .88 .32
Net to Grower $3.26 $3.42

1-Converted on basis of following weights: lug, 36 lbs.; bushel boxes, 62 lbs.; carton, 38 lbs.


unless the seasonal distribution of sales is
about the same for each container. In general,
lugs were used for a shorter period during
the season for grade 1 tomatoes than were
open-top bushel boxes. During the time lugs
were being used the f.o.b. price of tomatoes
often was somewhat higher on a given date
when sold in lugs than when sold in bushel
boxes. However, the price in lugs was seldom
enough higher to pay the higher costs of hand-
ling. Other packinghouses with different sales
connections or outlets might have different
results.
One factor which significantly affects the
price received for tomatoes is size. Sales prices
for the Spring crop of 1950 were in order of
size, the highest price being received for the
largest tomatoes (Table 2). For No. 1 toma-
toes size O6x6 and larger brought 9 percent
more than the average for all sizes. Size 6x7
brought 7 percent and size 7x7 38 percent less


TABLE 2.
RELATIVE F.O.B. PRICE OF TOMATOES, BY SIZE,
IN PERCENT OF THE AVERAGE FOR ALL SIZES.


Size


6x6 & larger
6x7
7x7
7x8
Average,
All Sizes


Spring Crop 1950
No. 1 No. 2
109 109
93 96
62 73
38 98


Fall
No. 1
105
103
71
42


Crop 1949
No. 2
114
97
66
53


100 100 100 100
PACKING LABOR COSTS


To obtain some comparative data on the
labor cost and man hours required to pack
tomatoes in various containers, observations
were made in several packinghouses during the
Spring of 1950. The method used was to record
the number of workers in the packinghouse
crew and measure the total output during the
period of observation. The packingsouses often
were packing to fill specific orders or sales and
therefore switched containers rather fre-
quently. This sometimes resulted in an un-








FLORIDA STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY, 1951


balanced crew, especially among the piece-
workers. While the cost per unit might not
be affected, because of piece rates, the hours
of labor were sometimes out of proportion com-
pared with the most efficient organization for
packing only one kind of container.
When reduced to the same equivalent quan-
tity of tomatoes there were large differences in
labor requirements between containers for

Lome operations.
Receiving, trucking, dumping and grading
required almost the same amount of labor, re-
gardless of the container used. Some differ-
ences were noted but were attributed mainly
to differences between packinghouses or quality
of tomatoes being run. Tomatoes seemed to
run slightly slower over the grading belt when
lugs were being packed. This may have been
due to brief stops when bins of certain sizes
were overfull, or to occasional slowdowns to
prevent overfilling of bins. When bushel con-
tainers were used the hours of labor and cost


man hours requirement, unless the crew is
efficiently organized for the container being
packed. Since containers used may change
several times a day it is obviously impossible
to have the best crew organization for every
container packed.
Stop-watch studies of packers timed only
when working steadily showed even more dif-
ferences than crew averages between bushel
boxes and lugs. The time required to wrap and
place-pack the same quantity of tomatoes in
lugs was more than three times as much as to
jumble-pack in bushel boxes by lifting toma-
toes out of the bins by hand.
SUMMARY
Analyses of tomato sales of one large pack-
inghouse for two seasons have shown that to-
matoes of a given grade and type of sale sold
in lugs often averaged a little higher f.o.b.
price for the same quantity on a given date
than tomatoes sold in the larger containers.
However, the period when lugs were used was
shorter each season than for bushel containers.


TABLE 3.
COMPARATIVE LABOR REQUIREMENTS AND COST PER EQUIVALENT LUG FOR GRADING AND
PACKING TOMATOES, 1950.


Receiving, grading
Packing, crate making,
loading
All Labor

for the same quantity of tomatoes
six percent less than when toms
packed in lugs. (Table 3).
It was in the packing and crate-
bor that large differences between
appeared. They favor the larger
Labor for cratemaking, chuting, p
loading averaged only 50 percent a
open-top bushel boxes and 59 perce
for bushel nailed crates or wirebo
as for the same quantity of tomat
in lugs. Lugs were place-packed wi
tomatoes while the larger containers
ble-packed without wrapping.
All labor used in the packinghoi
percent as much for tomatoes packe
field boxes and 75 percent as much
wirebounds or nailed crates as for
Measuring the total labor used
various containers does not reflect


Nailed lug
(36 lbs.)
Man hours Cost


100 10


Open-top
Bushel Box
(62) lbs.)
Man hours Cost
94 94


Bushel Nailed Box,
or Wirebound (TAB)
(62 lbs.)
Man hours Cost
94 94


100 100 65 50 71 59
100 100 78 69 81 75

was about A drop in tomato prices often caused a shift
toes were to cheaper containers, especially in No. 2
grade.
making la- Packing costs were higher per Vpound for
containers tomatoes packed in lugs than in bushel con-
containers. tainers. The principal saving by using the
backing and larger containers was in container cost and
s much for packing labor. If packinghouses were as ef-
nt as much ficiently organized to pack other containers as
und crates lugs the differences might be even wider.
toes packed When packing costs were deducted from
th wrapped f.o.b. prices the amount which the grower re-
were jum- ceived usually was more for bushel containers
than for lugs.
use cost 69 The data on comparative returns are from
d in bushel one packinghouse which customarily packed a
for bushel variety of containers. Some houses find it
lugs. more economical to pack most of their output
in packing in one type of container for market outlets
the correct which demand that type.


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