Where are pumpkin production breakevens?
Variable costs like herbicides, cultivation and labor are the main factors when nailing down breakevens for pumpkin production. But, according to a report from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), yields of at least 10 tons per acre typically will turn a profit under most variable cost conditions.
Recent numbers show that total variable costs typically run aroudn $1,670 per acre. That's including custom application rates, as well as inputs like herbicide, fungicide, insecticide and tillage performed. Add to that fixed costs of around $80 per acre -- largely comprising machinery, implements and irrigation systems -- and the total production cost typically runs around $1,750 per acre.
"This budget utilizes custom hire for most of the field work, which could be more economical for small-acreage growers," says Penn State horticulture specialist Michael Orzolek. "Producers who own equipment should substitute equipment costs for custom-hire costs."
What about yields? At $160 per ton, it takes an almost 11-ton-per-acre yield to break even, Penn State research shows. At the higher end, at a price of $310 per ton, profits range between $2,000 and $2,100 per acre.
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