Good Fruit Grower

December 2012

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cherry orchard in the Pacific Northwest document what most growers know—it costs a lot to put in a new orchard. But seeing the numbers on paper shows just how tight profit margins are these days and underscores the importance of get- ting things right when planting a new orchard. Updated orchard economic reports S released by Oregon State University dur- ing 2012 include Orchard Economics: Establishing and Producing High-Density Sweet Cherries in Wasco County (an update from a 2008 study), andEnterprise Budget Cherries, Sweet, Fresh Market, Standard-Density, North Central Region and Enterprise Budget Cherries, Sweet, Fresh Market High-Density, North Central Region. The studies are designed to help grow- ers understand the costs and risks involved with planting a high-density orchard and estimate individual per-acre costs of standard and high-density orchards. The studies were authored by OSU's Rebecca Sullivan, agricultural economics instructor, student Tyler West, Clark Seavert, ag economist, and Lynn Long, extension horticulturist for Wasco County. Long has been involved with cherry orchard economic studies for years. What surprised him the most from the recent studies was just how much the cost of production has gone up in the last decade. "Maybe because I've been around for so long, but I can remember when it cost 40 cents a pound to raise cherries," Long said. "Now it's almost double that." Rising costs of labor, fuel, machinery, supplies, and other items have all contributed to increased production costs. "What it all means is that unless you're on top of your game, it's going to be diffi- cult to make money in cherries," Long said, adding that there's no room for error. "In order to be successful, growers need to take advantage of every opportunity and use all the tools in their tool box." • Establishing and Producing High- Density Sweet Cherries in Wasco County— files/pdf/AEB0032.pdf; Enterprise Budget for Cherries, Sweet, Fresh Market, High-Density, North Central Region— files/pdf/AEB0031.pdf; Enterprise Budget for Cherries, Sweet, Fresh Market, Standard-Density, North Central Region— oaeb/files/pdf/ AEB0030.pdf F GOOD FRUIT GROWER DECEMBER 2012 19 ree copies of the OSU reports are at the following sites: Orchard Economics: Cherry economics T Rising orchard costs lower margins. by Melissa Hansen everal new studies that look at the enterprise budgets of standard and high-density sweet cherry orchards and the economics of establishing a high-density sweet Orchard Economics USE AGPROFITto customize data he high-density orchard establishment study and the enter- prise budgets are designed to work with AgProfit, a com- puter software program developed by Oregon State University, Washington State University, University of Arizona, and the University of California. AgProfit, a Windows-based pro- gram, allows growers to plug in their own data or use numbers from enterprise budgets as a default to make cropping decisions and compare numerous scenarios. Clark Seavert, co-author of the OSU cherry high-density eco- nomics study and enterprise budgets, recommends that before investing in any long-term perennial crop, the potential investor use the AgProfit program to fully analyze the potential invest- ment under varying price and yield scenarios to help decide if the potential investment is likely to be profitable and feasible. The AgProfit program is available free at: —M. Hansen

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