Florida peaches could yield small profit 3 years after planting

01/29/2014 12:18:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Florida peachesCourtesy Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesThe University of Florida has developed several low-chill peach varieties that do well without prolonged periods of cold winter temperatures.With many Florida growers looking at citrus alternatives, some may wonder about the profitability of peaches before jumping into the stone fruit crop.

By the third year of a peach orchard, growers could see a small profit, according to an orchard budget developed by University of Florida assistant horticulture professor Mercy Olmstead.

Along with former Mississippi State University assistant horticulture professor Kim Morgan—now an assistant agriculture professor at Virginia Tech—Olmstead created a four-year peach orchard budget and growing operation plan.

“This is good news,” she said in a news release. “It is typically seven years before you get a commercial crop on citrus and probably eight before you are profitable.”

Florida peaches enter the market earlier than most other production areas, giving growers a head start on the competition.

During the first two years of operations, peach growers invest about $11,600 per acre before they see a profit.

During the third year, they could see an income of $10,150 per acre with costs of $8,342 per acre for a profit of about $1,800.

The costs are based on interviews with 26 of the state's approximately 40 peach growers. The growers had varying expenses and ranged from those just having planted an orchard to having 5 or more years' experience.

The budget includes costs for pesticide sprays, trees, fuel, repairs and more.

A 2011 Florida grower survey showed the state had about 670 acres of the stone fruit. An additional 300 to 400 acres were planted in 2012.

Those acres are now producing about 4.5 million pounds per year with a estimated value of $6 million.

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Mercy Olmstead    
Gainesville, FL  |  January, 30, 2014 at 09:25 AM

Hello - Dr. Morgan was an Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University while this study was conducted. She received her Ph.D. from UF, but that was before we started this research. She is currently at Virginia Tech as an assistant professor.

knox bagwell    
alachua  |  January, 30, 2014 at 03:48 PM

Show me a producing peach tree over 7 yrs old...??? Peach borders impossible to control, not to mention a host of sprays necessary to produce a marginal tasting fruit, when you can drive 150 miles and get the best tasting ones in the country...another example of IFAS needing to come up with something new.....Sherman and Crocker went down this hole 35 years ago...when your going up-hill against mother nature....you never get to the top to look over at any useable $$$'s

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