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Publication #FE436

Production Costs and Commodity Budgets for Selected Florida Vegetables1

Scott A. Smith and Timothy G. Taylor2

Introduction

The estimated cost of production (budgets) for twelve vegetable crops produced in one or more of seven producing areas in Florida are available on the Internet via the Department of Food and Resource Economics website (http://www.fred.ifas.ufl.edu), specifically the Commodity Budgets link (http://www.agbuscenter.ifas.ufl.edu/cost). In all, twenty-four crop-area combinations are included. Historical cost-of-production data not yet posted to the Internet are also available upon request.

The vegetable budgets presented in these reports are intended to reflect production practices that are considered typical for any given crop in a given area. A consensus of opinion among UF/IFAS personnel and various producers in each production area define typical production practices for each crop. Cost estimates resulting from this process should not be considered as representing the average cost of production in a statistical sense, nor should they be considered as necessarily relating to recommended production practices. The intent of these cost budgets is to establish a benchmark within the range of actual costs that could be expected to produce the crop.

Eight budgets reflect double-crop production practices. Double-crop production refers to the practice of planting a following crop directly into the plastic mulch-covered beds used to produce an initial crop, thus utilizing any residual inputs and land preparation from the preceding crop. Most commonly, cucumbers or watermelons follow tomatoes or peppers, but other combinations may occur. The combination of crops produced is generally determined by grower preference. This system of farming is practiced in an effort to recover costs incurred in the production of the initial crop and to reduce production costs of the second (following) crop. Actual production practices for the initial crop, either tomatoes or peppers, are affected very little when double cropping is practiced. However, production of the subsequent crop can, in some cases, be affected significantly relative to growing the crop independently.

The current vegetable cost budgets available are:

  • Bush Beans

  • Cabbage

  • Sweet Corn

  • Cucumbers

  • Eggplant

  • Green Peppers

  • Chip Potatoes

  • Table Potatoes

  • Summer Squash

  • Strawberries

  • Tomatoes

  • Watermelons

Methodology

The budgets were constructed using a computerized budget generator program (AGSYS). Technical coefficients, such as fertilizer, fumigants, fungicides, insecticides, surfactants, labor, contracted services, machinery use, and miscellaneous other materials used in constructing the budgets, were obtained by consultation with, and review by, individual growers, county Extension faculty, and UF/IFAS researchers. The input prices used in conjunction with the technical coefficients are obtained by survey and correspondence with farm suppliers and growers in each of the areas in which production costs are reported. These items are entered into an interactive database from which budget line items are extracted to create individual production activities.

Cost Data

Two tables are reported for each crop. Examples are provided for strawberries grown in the Plant City area of Florida (Tables 1 and 2). Table 1 provides a summary detailing estimated cost of production per acre, by type of input, as described in the methodology section. Subtotals of total operating cost, total fixed cost, and total pre-harvest and harvest costs are presented on a per-acre and per-unit basis. Table 2 reports a net-return range analysis, which provides information on the sensitivity of the estimated net return for the specified crop to variations in either yield per acre or price per unit based on production costs. For each crop, net returns are estimated for 25 price-yield combinations. For example, in Table 2, a price of $9.00 per flat, with a yield of 2,600 flats, would provide an estimated net return of $948.00 per acre. The ranges for both price and yield are intended to be broad enough to include the actual season average prices and yields obtained by growers in any given area. In the example provided, price received varies from $5.00 to $13.00 per flat and yields range from 2,400 to 3,200 flats per acre.

Conclusion

To reiterate, the vegetable budgets presented in these reports are intended to reflect production practices that are considered typical for any given crop in a given area. Cost estimates resulting from this process should not be considered as representing the average cost of production in a statistical sense, nor should they be considered as necessarily relating to recommended production practices. Please contact the authors with any questions concerning the commodity budgets.

Additional Florida Commodity Budget Data

Additional budgets for vegetables, field, and forage crops produced in the North Florida area; citrus, and forage crops in the South Florida area; and various miscellaneous commodity cost studies for Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina can also be found via the Commodity Budgets web link. For more information, please contact the authors -- Scott A. Smith at ssquare@ufl.edu or Timothy G. Taylor at tsquare@ufl.edu.

Tables

Table 1. 

Sample per acre cost summary report.

Category*

Average per Acre

Average per Flat

 

(dollars)

(dollars)

Yield (average 8-10 pound flats)

2,800.00

 

Operating Costs

   
  Transplants

1,700.00

 
  Fertilizer

343.75

 
  Fumigant

684.00

 
 

Fungicide

717.46

 
  Herbicide

112.40

 
  Insecticide

556.94

 
  General Farm Labor

43.91

 
  Machinery Variable Cost

346.52

 
  Tractor Driver Labor

283.59

 
  Miscellaneous

 
  Trickle Tube

360.00

 
  Plastic Mulch

279.99

 
  Scouting

55.00

 
  Predatory Mites

120.00

 
  Cover Crop Seed

37.50

 
  Crop Insurance

100.00

 
  Farm Vehicles

87.94

 
  Transplant Labor

220.00

 
  Plastic Disposal

75.00

 
  Cut Runners, Hoe, and Weed

120.00

 
  Interest on Operating Capital

486.28

 
  Total Operating Cost

1,000.00

 
Fixed Costs    
  Land Rent

1,000.00

 
  Machinery Fixed Cost

172.37

 
  Overhead

2,225.09

 
  Total Fixed Cost

3,397.46

 
Total Preharvest Cost

10,128.33

3.62

Harvest and Marketing Costs    
  Sell Berries

2,520.00

0.90

  Pick Berries

4,900.00

1.75

  Pack, Load, and Haul Berries

700.00

0.25

  Harvest Supervision

420.00

0.15

  Boxes and Cups

4,732.00

1.69

  Total Harvest and Marketing Costs

13,272.00

4.74

Total Cost

23,400.33

8.36

* Strawberries: estimated production costs per acre in the Plant City area, 2001-2002.
Table 2. 

Sample per acre net return analysis.

Yield*

Net Return per Acre

(number of flats)

-----------------------------------(dollars per flat)-----------------------------------

 

$5 per flat

$7 per flat

$9 per flat

$11 per flat

$13 per flat

2,400

-9,504.00

-4.704.00

96.00

4,896.00

9,696.00

2,600

-9,452.00

-4.252.00

948.00

6,148.00

11,348.00

2,800

-9,400.00

-3,800.00

1,800.00

7,400.00

13,000.00

3,000

-9,348.00

-3,348.00

2,652.00

8,652.00

14,652.00

* Strawberries: estimated net returns per acre for various price and yield combinations in the Plant City area, 2001, 2002.

Footnotes

1.

This is EDIS document FE436, a publication of the Food and Resource Economics Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Published November 2003; revised May 2006. Reviewed February 2011. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Scott A. Smith, Coordinator for Economic Analysis, and Timothy G. Taylor, Professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.