New Estimates on Broccoli and Lettuce Production Costs

New Estimates on Broccoli and Lettuce Production Costs

June 8, 2017

Broccoli and Lettuce Production Cost Studies Released by UC ANR

News Release

New studies with sample costs to produce and harvest iceberg lettuce and broccoli for fresh market in the Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties have been released by UC ANR Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension. Vegetable growers may find these useful for estimating their own production costs and potential returns on investment.

“These studies have an expanded section on labor, which includes information on California’s new minimum wage and overtime laws,” said Laura Tourte, UC Cooperative Extension farm management advisor in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties, who co-authored the study.

The analysis is based on a hypothetical well-managed farming operation using practices common to the Central Coast Region. The costs, materials and practices shown in this study will not apply to all farms. Growers, UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the study.

Both studies assume a farm operation of 1,500 non-contiguous acres of rented land. The hypothetical iceberg-lettuce farm has 250 acres planted to iceberg lettuce. The lettuce is hand-harvested into 42-pound cartons containing 24 film-wrapped heads. The hypothetical broccoli farm has 500 acres planted to broccoli. The broccoli is hand-harvested into 21-pound bunch cartons.  On each farm, the remaining acreage is assumed to be planted to other cool season vegetable crops. 

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for production material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. Ranging analysis tables show net 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.

Free copies of “Sample Costs to Produce and Harvest Iceberg Lettuce in the Central Coast – 2017” and “Sample Costs to Produce and Harvest Broccoli in the Central Coast – 2017” and other sample cost of production studies for many commodities are available. To download the cost studies, visit the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at https://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.

The cost and returns studies program is funded by the UC Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension, both of which are part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Jeremy Murdock of the Agricultural Issues Center University at (530) 752-4651, Richard Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Monterey County, at (831) 759-7357 or Tourte at (831) 763-8005.

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