Estimated Costs of Producing, Harvesting, and Marketing Blackberries in the Southeastern United States

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  • 1 Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8109
  • 2 Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8109.
  • 3 Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC 27695-7609.

This study identified the costs associated with growing, harvesting, and marketing blackberries (Rubus subgenus Rubus) and estimated the revenues and breakeven yields for various combinations of pick-your-own (PYO) and wholesale blackberry prices. The total cost of producing, harvesting, and marketing the blackberries was estimated to be $15,514/acre if the marketable yield was 10,000 lb/acre in the second year of production, and $19,561/acre if the yield was 12,500 lb/acre. Labor was the greatest expense category after the planting started producing fruit, totaling $13,739/acre, or 70% of the total costs, when full production was reached in the third year. Net revenues for varying combinations of PYO and wholesale market prices and yields were estimated, assuming that half of the marketable fruit would be sold at a PYO operation and the remaining half sold to wholesale markets. This analysis showed that if growers received $1.25 and $2.50/lb for PYO and wholesale fruit, respectively, they would have to sell a minimum of 10,066 lb/acre to cover the estimated costs for the third through the ninth years. A return to land and management of $3876/acre would be realized if growers received $1.25/lb for PYO and $2.50/lb wholesale with yields of 12,500 lb/acre. Profitability analysis reveals that blackberry production using recommended practices can be a profitable venture. The annual net cash flow is positive after the planting is established and enough revenues are projected to be generated to cover start-up expenses in the fifth year.

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Contributor Notes

e-mail: charles_safley@ncsu.edu
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