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Home > Feature Articles > Agriculture & Organic Production

Production Cost Studies for agricultural and food commodities

12 new cost-of-production studies for producing potatoes, tomatoes, alfalfa, blackeye beans, wine grapes, almonds, prunes, blackberries and beef.

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2008 Commodity Cost Studies for California Agriculture

Higher fuel costs and lower interest rates affect costs for producing potatoes, tomatoes, alfalfa, blackeye beans, wine grapes, almonds, prunes, blackberries and beef.

The University of California, Davis, and UC Cooperative Extension agricultural economists have released 12 new cost-of-production studies.

The reports reflect the impact of changes in the 2008 economy on production costs for growing fresh market potatoes, processing tomatoes, alfalfa, single- and double-cropped blackeye beans, wine grapes, almonds, prunes, blackberries and beef cow-calf operation.

Consumers can see food prices rising in the supermarket. On the production end, costs are also rising. Besides the higher fuel costs for operating farm equipment, trucking companies add surcharges to compensate for higher fuel costs. Energy costs may drive up the cost of drying and processing fruits and nuts.

"People are talking about higher fuel prices, but that leads to higher chemical and fertilizer costs too," said Richard De Moura, research associate in the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. "On the other hand, interest rates are lower, reducing operating loan and long term investment costs."

Each study is based upon a hypothetical farm operation using practices common in the region. UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors, growers, researchers, farm accountants, pest control advisers, industry consultants and other agricultural associates provided input and reviews. Assumptions used to identify current costs and operations for the individual crops, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead are described.

An analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs by cultural operations, the costs and returns per acre showing material inputs, hourly equipment costs, and whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

Vegetable and field crop studies

Sample Costs to Produce Fresh Market Potatoes, Intermountain by Harry L. Carlson, Karen M. Klonsky and Pete Livingston

Sample Costs to Produce Processing Tomatoes, Sacramento Valley by Gene Miyao, Karen M. Klonsky and Pete Livingston

Sample Costs to Produce Blackeye Beans (Single Cropped), San Joaquin Valley South by Carol A Frate, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Sample Costs to Produce Blackeye Beans (Double Cropped), San Joaquin Valley South by Carol A Frate, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Alfalfa (50 acres), San Joaquin Valley by Carol A. Frate, Shannon C. Mueller, Marsha Campbell-Matthews, Mick Canevari, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Alfalfa (300 acres), San Joaquin Valley by Shannon C. Mueller, Carol A. Frate, Mick Canevari, Marsha Campbell-Matthews, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Fruit, nut and berry studies

Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Winegrapes (Cabernet Sauvignon), San Joaquin Valley North by Paul S. Verdegaal, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Winegrapes (Chardonnay), Sacramento Valley by Chuck A. Ingels, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Almonds, San Joaquin Valley South by Mark W. Freeman, Mario A. Viveros, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Sample Costs to Produce Prunes, Sacramento Valley by Franz Niederholzer, William H. Kruger, Richard P. Buchner, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Fresh Market Blackberries, Central Coast by Mark Bolda, Laura Tourte, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

Beef studies

Sample Costs for Beef Cattle Cow-Calf Production, Sacramento Valley by Larry C. Forero, Glenn A. Nader, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura

The cost studies are available online at coststudies.ucdavis.edu (Internet downloads are free), at county UCCE offices, by mail from:

University of California,
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616

Request by calling (530) 752-1517. There is a $3 handling fee for each mailed report.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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