People who are interested in growing wild rice in the Intermountain region or safflower or oat hay in the Sacramento Valley might want to look at the new cost and return studies for these crops. There are four new studies by University of California Cooperative Extension that cover these commodities.

These new reports estimate the areas' production practices, cost of production, equipment and other assets needed for production, and a range of returns received by farmers based on the studies' costs.

In 2003 almost 4,000 acres of wild rice was grown in the high valleys of Shasta and Lassen counties. The production practices and costs in Sample Costs to Produce Wild Rice in the Intermountain Region, Shasta — Lassen Counties — 2005 reflect how wild rice is grown in this area. Rice stands are naturally reseeded over the five years that they are left in the ground. This is reflected in establishing the stand the first year and production in one of the remaining years of life of the stand.

The wild-rice cost study is based upon a hypothetical 500-acre farm with 80 acres in the wild rice stand. It is also based on using practices common in the region. A UCCE farm advisor, economists, growers, equipment and chemical suppliers, and other agricultural associates provided input and reviews. Assumptions used to identify current costs for wild rice production operations, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead are described in the study.

Tables show production costs, profits over a range of prices and yields, monthly cash costs, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs. The study is intended as a guide only and can be used to make productions decisions, determine potential returns, prepare budgets and evaluate production loans.

Safflower study

Safflower is grown in two different ways in the Sacramento Valley. It can be irrigated on ground that is flat and it can be grown dryland on heavy or hilly soils. UC has published two safflower studies, Sample Costs to Produce Safflower in the Sacramento Valley, Bed Planted and Irrigated — 2005 and Sample Costs to Produce Safflower in the Sacramento Valley, Dryland — 2005, each looking at one of the production scenarios.

Oat hay is normally grown under dryland conditions. Sample Costs to Produce Oat Hay in the Sacramento Valley, Dryland — 2005 discusses the adequate yields and prices needed to make dryland oat hay a profitable crop. Growers also need to determine that the land used to grow this crop meets its production requirements.

The two safflower and the oat hay cost studies are based upon an assumed 2,900-acre farm. The farm has 200 acres in each of the safflower studies and the oat hay is grown on 100 acres. Both crops are based on production practices common in the region. The UCCE farm advisors, economists, growers, equipment and chemical suppliers, and other agricultural associates provided input and reviews. Assumptions used to identify current costs for irrigated and dryland safflower and oat hay production operations, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead are described in the study. Each study's tables show production practices, costs, profits over a range of prices and yields, monthly cash costs, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs. The studies are intended as guides only and can be used to make productions decisions, determine potential returns, prepare budgets and evaluate production loans.

Wild rice study

The wild rice cost study was authored by Daniel Marcum, UCCE farm advisor, Shasta and Lassen counties; Karen M. Klonsky, UCCE agricultural economist, UC Davis; and Pete Livingston, UCCE Staff Research Associate, UC Davis.

The two safflower and the oat hay cost studies were authored by Rachael Long, UCCE farm advisor, Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties; Jerry Schmierer, UCCE farm advisor, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties; Doug Munier, UCCE farm advisor, Glenn, Tehama and Butte counties; Kent Brittan, UCCE farm advisor, Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties; Karen M. Klonsky, UCCE agricultural economist, UC Davis; and Pete Livingston, UCCE Staff Research Associate, UC Davis.

Cost studies for these and other crops are available from local UC Cooperative Extension offices and online at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu. The Web site can be searched by commodity and county. Hard copies of studies can also be ordered by calling (530) 752-2414 or (530) 752-4424 or writing to the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616. A $3 handling fee is charged for each study mailed.