DAVIS, Calif. -- The results of a 2004 study by University of California economists determined that production of extra-early cling peaches loses $400 per acre. That compares unfavorably to a 2003 study of late-harvest varieties, which profited more than $500 per acre.

The economists investigated production practices and costs of producing extra-early varieties of cling peaches in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Although the extra-early cling peaches received $10 more per ton in the 2004 study, they also yielded 3 tons per acre less that their late-harvested counterparts, resulting in a $535 per acre higher gross return for late-harvest varieties. Production costs are also higher for extra-early varieties primarily due to additional pruning and fruit thinning costs.

The study is based upon a hypothetical farm using practices common in the regions. UCCE farm advisors, researchers, growers, equipment and chemical suppliers, and other agricultural associates provided input and reviews. Assumptions used to identify current costs for orchard 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 and can be used to make production decisions, determine potential returns, prepare budgets and evaluate production loans.

The study was prepared by Janine Hasey, UCCE farm advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties; Roger Duncan, UCCE farm advisor; Stanislaus County; Maxwell Norton, UCCE Farm Advisor, Merced County; Karen M. Klonsky, UCCE specialist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; and Pete Livingston, UCCE staff research associate, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis.

The 2004 study -- titled Sample Costs to Produce Cling Peaches in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, Extra-Early Harvested Varieties -- and the 2003 study -- titled Sample Costs to Establish a Cling Peach Orchard and Produce Cling Peaches, Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley, Late Harvested Varieties are available online at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu, at county UCCE offices, by mail from the University of California, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616; or may be requested by calling UC Davis at (530) 752-4424. Cost of production studies are also available for many other commodities and locations, dating from 1931 to present. Internet downloads are free. There is a $3 handling fee for each mailed report.