Jan 30, 2018
Costs of production rise compared to 2017

What price do you need to sell last year’s potato crop at to recoup the money you put into producing it, i.e. the break-even price?

Work from the University of Idaho shows that many of the inputs that figure into the costs of production rose over the last year. Extension Agricultural Economist Ben Eborn surveyed producers, custom applicators, farm leaders and others to put together a set of figures for the costs involved in production. Those costs included things like fertilizer, trucking, land rent and insurance, and were intended to gauge both the per acre costs of production and costs associated with owning a farm.

Eborn’s work looked at farms for different regions of the state, either with or without fumigation. The research created “model farms” that are intended to be representative for the different parts of the state. However, these are models, not averages of all farms in those regions, and Eborn said there is definitely variation between individual operations and what the model farm numbers show.

Looking at these model farms, he said there are certain themes that emerge. When he figures the costs of production, Eborn notes the inputs that fall in price with red numbers and those that rise with blue.

“And this year there are no red numbers,” he said. “You see kind of a trend?”

Using these figures, the University of Idaho has created a tool for producers to tailor the base-line numbers for the model farm in their area to reflect their individual operations, which will give a producer the break-even price for their crop.

Once released, it will be available at https://www.uidaho.edu/cals/idaho-agbiz.

Cost Summaries   

Per Acre Costs

Region Dollars Change
Southwestern (fumigated) $2,327 +$77 +4.0%
Southcentral (fumigated) $2,055 +$38 +1.9%
Eastern South – fumigated $1,852 +$69 +3.9%
Southcentral (no fumigation) $1,716 +$35 +3.2%
Eastern South (no fumigation) $1,553 +$53 +3.5%
Eastern North (no fumigation) $1,476 +$57 +4.0%

Ownership Costs

Region Dollars Change
Southwestern (fumigated) $1,228 +$12 +1.0%
Southcentral (fumigated) $1,108 +$7   +0.6%
Eastern South – fumigated $969 +$10 +1.0%
Southcentral (no fumigation) $1,068 +$12 +1.1%
Eastern South (no fumigation) $937 +$8   +0.9%
Eastern North (no fumigation) $826 +$9   +1.1%

Total Costs

Region Dollars Change
Southwestern (fumigated) $3,555 +$88 +2.5%
Southcentral (fumigated) $3,163 +$46 +1.5%
Eastern South – fumigated $2,821 +$79 +2.9%
Southcentral (no fumigation) $2,784 +$64 +2.4%
Eastern South (no fumigation) $2,490 +$61 +2.5%
Eastern North (no fumigation) $2,302 +$64 +2.9%

While these initial numbers are just for Idaho, the University of Idaho is working with United Potato Growers of America to calculate cost of production estimates and break-even prices for Idaho, Colorado and Wisconsin potato production. Eborn and the other researchers are looking for producers who are willing to help estimate and review costs for input categories including seed, fertilizer, chemicals, custom application, irrigation and labor. Those interested in assisting with this study can contact Eborn at (208) 847-0344 or [email protected]

-Scott Stuntz, managing editor






75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
616.887.9008
Get one year of Spudman in both print and digital editions for FREE. Preview our digital edition »

Interested in reading the print edition of Spudman?

Subscribe Today »


website development by deyo designs