Kim Morgan1 and Mercy Olmstead2*,
1Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 314 Hutcheson Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061,
2Horticultural Sciences Department, 2135 Fifield Hall, University of Florida/IFAS, Gainesville, FL 32611
Additional index words. Prunus persica L., Florida peaches, production costs
Diversification of an agricultural enterprise provides growers with alternative approaches to management of financial risk across multiple crops and harvest dates. Citrus growers have been wrestling with disease challenges such as bacterial citrus canker [Xanthomonas campestris pv. citri (Hasse) Dye] and citrus greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus) that have reduced tree productivity, and thus there is interest in alternative crops. The Florida peach industry has had moderate success as it takes advantage of an early market by having the first domestically produced peach of the calendar year. However, growers considering orchard plantings need firm estimates for establishment and production budgets to secure funding and build sound business plans. Budgets for Georgia and other southeastern states do not necessarily reflect production practices in Florida due to differences in disease management and greater costs for initial infrastructure in Florida. In 2011–12, requests were sent to current growers and those in the establishment phase to gather data on costs, and these were used to establish budgets for Florida peach operations. At the current market price for Florida peaches, it is estimated that growers begin to see a positive return over variable costs in the third year, with 40–60 lb of marketable fruit per tree.