Strawberry cost studies completed

Three new-cost-of-production studies for strawberries grown on the central and southern California coasts are now available from the University of California Cooperative Extension.

The Central Coast study, which covers Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, focuses on strawberry production for the fresh market. The other two studies cover fresh- and freezer-market production in the Oxnard area of Ventura County and the Santa Maria Valley. The vast majority of California strawberries are grown in these regions.

The analysis is based upon a hypothetical strawberry farm operation using practices common in each region. Fumigation practices — a major concern for strawberry growers because of the eventual phase-out of methyl bromide — are addressed in the studies. Flat fumigation is discussed in the Central Coast and Ventura studies, while bed fumigation is used in the Santa Maria study.

Input and reviews were provided by UC farm advisors and researchers, growers, farm accountants, pest control advisers, consultants, the California Strawberry Commission and other agricultural associates. Assumptions used to identify current costs for individual crops, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead are described. A “ranging analysis” table shows profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The three studies — Sample Costs to Produce Fresh Market Strawberries - Central Coast; Sample Costs to Produce Strawberries - South Coast Region-Santa Maria Valley and Sample Costs to Produce Strawberries - South Coast Region-Ventura County (Oxnard Plains) — are available from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 and local UC Cooperative Extension offices. The publications are available for downloading from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics Web site at or call (530) 752-1515.

The studies were prepared by Warren E. Bendixen, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties; Karen M. Klonsky, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, and Richard L. De Moura, research associate, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Similar reports are available for other commodities. Older studies are available with a $3 handling fee. For additional information, call De Moura at (530) 752-3589.

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