This study develops a method of estimating wind machine effectiveness. The method captures the important variables affecting cost-effectiveness and can be applied at little cost. The present-value method outlined may be applied when evaluating frost protection for other crops and other risk-reducing inputs, such as irrigation equipment. Oranges in California are presented as a case study. The empirical results presented indicate that wind machines are generally not cost-effective for California orange producers. However, when the nonfinancial benefits of yield risk reduction are included, it is possible that wind machines are cost-effective for some growers.
We address whether it is better for a producer to own harvesting equipment or hire a custom harvester to perform the job. A comparison of calculated purchase costs with the cost of hiring a custom operator leads to an estimate of the break-even acreage, which is used as a decision criterion. However, two risk factors must be included in the decision process: the date of harvest and the efficiency of the harvest operation. The affect of these factors may significantly alter the “real” costs of owning vs. hiring a custom operator and, therefore, change the decision reached by an individual grower.