Blueberry Economics: The Costs of Establishing and Producing Conventional and Organic Blueberries in the Willamette Valley

Blueberries October 26, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Since the early 2000s, U.S. blueberry demand has doubled as consumer awareness of associated health benefits has grown. As a result, the blueberry industry has documented a fourfold increase in nationwide plantings, with full production expected to reach the market between 2012 and 2015. Traditional growing regions include Oregon and Washington, Michigan, and New Jersey, with North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi harvesting early season crops. While many experienced growers have expanded their blueberry acreage in response to rising demand, there are several new entrants into the industry as investors seek long-term profitable agribusiness opportunities. The 2011 Blueberry Economics publication released by authors James Julian, Bernadine Strik, and Wei Yang provides expert analysis of the costs facing Oregon growers for a newly established 20-acre blueberry planting following best management practices for both conventional and organic production practices. Providing a set of critical assumptions underlying the analysis, the authors present both cash costs and returns and economic costs and returns at Years 0 through Years 6 of production, and full production under both machine and hand harvesting conditions. The costs of hand-picking blueberries for the fresh market represent 50% of the total grower costs, yet the prices received for machine-harvested berries destined for the processed market are typically less than half the fresh market grower price received. Inclusion of a sensitivity analysis provides the individual grower with the opportunity to vary estimated yields, market prices for fresh and processed, and harvest method and costs, resulting in an expert assessment that fits the operational goals and constraints.

Blueberry Economics: The Costs of Establishing and Producing Blueberries in the Willamette Valley

Blueberry Economics: The Costs of Establishing and Producing Organic Blueberries in the Willamette Valley

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.