Yield and economics of vegetable crops are being evaluated in non-adjacent organic (OG) and nonorganic (NOG) vegetable production field areas in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. Each production area has six sections in which crops are rotated over several seasons and years. Production techniques and management are as similar in timing and methodology as possible between the systems without compromising either system. Production methods, timing, and costs are recorded for each operation. These are combined with yield data to create budgets and estimated returns for each production system/crop combination. When possible, harvested produce is marketed by a cooperating grower-retailer at a local mid- to up-scale farmers market. Three years into the study, positive returns have been found for several crops including potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), lettuce (Latuca sativa L.), summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.), cucumber (Cucumis sativa L.), and others. Marketable new potato yields in 2005 were under 10,000 lb/acre for Yukon Gold and Red Lasoda in either production system. Estimated net returns, based on an actual $2.00/lb market price, were positive for all system/cultivar combinations although final budget numbers are not firm. Significant differences in yield among cultivars were seen in potato, lettuce, summer squash, and cucumber. Organic production budgets for other crops in the study are also being developed.
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