Economic feasibility of producing strawberries in a passively ventilated greenhouse in North-Central Florida

Ashwin Paranjpe, Daniel J. Cantliffe

Abstract


The economic feasibility of a 1-ha greenhouse strawberry enterprise was analyzed. Results from greenhouse studies conducted at the UF Protected Ag Project indicated that average yields of 11 kg m[sup-] (110 tons per ha) can be obtained under north-central Florida conditions. These yields are 3-4 times greater than those obtained from field-grown strawberries in west-central Florida. Based on average yields of 11 kg m[sup-] from November to March, and average market prices ranging from $2.10/kg in March to $3.81/kg in December, a gross income of $32.31/m or $323,100/ha can be obtained. The fixed cost (or initial investment) of a 1-ha passively ventilated greenhouse designed for producing strawberries was estimated at $76.27/m or $762,760/ha, and the annual depreciation cost on the initial investment was estimated at $6.70/m or $66,976/ha. The variable cost for producing strawberries in a 1-ha passively ventilated greenhouse at a plant density of 22 plants per m and average yields of 500 g per plant (11 kg m[sup-]) was estimated at $20.91/m or $209,075/ha. The total cost (annual depreciation on fixed cost + variable cost) for producing 1 ha of greenhouse strawberries was $28.54/m or $285,351/ha. With average yields of 11 kg m[sup-] and monthly market prices ranging from $2.10/kg in March to $3.81/kg in December, a net annual income of $3.77/m or $37,749/ha can be obtained above the total cost. 'Pesticide-free' strawberries and specialty 'stem-berries' could potentially be sold at a premium price, and may lead to substantially higher net returns. Thus, greenhouse strawberry production can be considered an economically viable alternative to conventional field strawberry production in Florida.

Keywords


fragaria × ananassa; protected agriculture; plastic greenhouse; pesticide-free; plug plants

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283