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Cornell Fruit Resources: Berries

Resources for Commercial Berry Growers

Berry Budgets

These budgets estimate production costs and returns for the berry crops in New York State in 2014.

Each budget includes cost for the pre-plant, planting, and full production years. Members of the New York State Berry Growers Association reviewed the budgets to ensure they reflected actual experience on New York farms.

Labor is the largest cost on berry farms, representing 80% of the costs. With this in mind a labor and machinery budget was created for each crop and year. These budgets break down the costs for the tasks involved in growing berries, and can help to identify where there are opportunities to reduce costs or substitute machinery for labor.

Budgets were based on typical production practices in New York State for strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. The strawberry budget is for growers growing June-bearing strawberries in a matted-row system. For the raspberries a planting life of 10 years was assumed, and for blueberries the planting life was assumed to be 25 years. The establishment costs were spread out over the life of the planting in the production year budget, so growers can see how those costs can be recovered.

For additional production information, please see the other pages on the berry site or contact your local Cooperative Extension office. To avoid giving specific pesticide recommendations that might not be effective for a particular farm or situation, the pesticide costs were based on an average spray program from the Cornell Pest Management Guidelines for Berry Crops. If you need more detailed pesticide information, consult the guidelines or with Cooperative Extension.

Using data from the 2012 NYS Berry Pricing Survey, and the expenses from the enterprise budget, a breakeven analysis was developed based on different yield and price assumptions. This information can be found in the “Returns to Risk and Management” document. A grower can use this to determine the price they need to charge to cover all their costs at a given yield per acre, or to know what their crop should yield to begin making a profit at a certain price.

These budgets can be used as a guide for growers to determine production costs and returns for berry crops in New York State. The assumptions in the budgets may be different for each farm and area of the state because of variations in production practices, input costs, and prices received by growers. A “My Cost” column is included to the right of the sample costs in each budget. Growers can enter their actual costs for each item in the budget to get a more accurate picture of their true cost of production.

This work was supported by the New York Farm Viability Institute Project #AIC 12-00: “Building a Better Bottom Line for NYS Berry Growers”

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