Monday, October 26, 2015

California Strawberries vs. Midwestern Corn

It's not even close:

Growing strawberries in California is 9796% more profitable than growing corn in the Midwest, Gladstone Land said, in the latest evidence of underperformance in row crop land.
High value fruit and vegetable land was "more profitable and less volatile than those growing commodity crops", Gladstone said.
Based on data for 2013, the most recent year with verified data, the US land investment company said the an acre of price corn land yielded gross revenues of $757, while the gross revenue of an acre of prime California was $53,067, assuming a market price of 80 cents a pound for strawberries. 
The difference in rent, meanwhile, was more modest. Based on 2014 figures, Gladstone pegged the average rent for prime Midwest corn land at $201 an acre, compared with around $4,000 an acre for strawberry land.
And since 2013, corn prices have been weakening, while Gladstone says that prices for strawberries have actually "risen modestly".
Gladstone saw net profits per acre for strawberry farmers in California at $4,570 an acre, compared to just $48 an acre for Midwestern corn farmers, excluding crop insurance and government payouts.
"A farmer with 10,000 acres in corn in the Midwest would only need approximately 143 acres of strawberry ground in California to generate the same amount of revenue," Gladstone said.
Of course, this comes from a company pushing investment in leasing land for fruit and vegetable production, so they are just talking their book.  However, the numbers are pretty amazing, and corn production budgets will be even uglier for the next few years.

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