The economic feasibility of greenhouse-grown cucumbers as an alternative to field production in north-central Florida

Daniel J. Cantliffe, James E. Webb, John J. VanSickle, Nicole L. Shaw


Florida is the leading producer of fresh-market cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L.) in the United States and accounts for 24% of the total value of the U.S. fresh-market industry. Florida cucumbers are generally produced on raised beds covered with polyethylene mulch and fumigated. With the loss of methyl bromide, Florida cucumber producers as with other vegetable growers in Florida, are searching for alternatives. The objective of this research was to gather pertinent information from public, private, and research sources to create an economic feasibility model that compares the costs and benefits associated with field-grown slicing cucumbers and the production of European-type greenhouse cucumber in Florida. Though greenhouse production requires a significantly larger capital investment (total cost: $391,922/acre) compared to field production (total costs: $5,620/acre), potential profits have been determined to be as much as 1,206 times greater for greenhouse produced cucumbers than in the field (profits: $72,775 compared to $60/acre, respectively). Greenhouses provide opportunities for Florida growers faced with urbanization, water restrictions, and the loss of methyl bromide, as well as minimize risks associated with weather, and pests and disease pressures. This study will demonstrate that it is not only economically feasible to produce cucumbers in a greenhouse setting, but the potential profits are significantly greater for greenhouse-grown cucumbers compared to field-grown cucumbers in Florida.

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