School of Economic Sciences

Agribusiness Management

Potatoes for the Fresh Market: The Costs of Growing and Packing

by R. Thomas Schotzko and Kevin W. Sund*


This report provides information and data on the costs of growing, packing, and storing of potatoes produced by Washington growers for the fresh market. It is based on actual expenditures by growers and packers as reported to the authors.

The production costs cover expenses for the 2001 growing season. These costs include all expenses from seedbed preparation to harvest and transportation to storage orpacking shed. Since Washington growers produce several different varieties for the fresh market, two estimates are provided. One estimate is a weighted average of the costs provided by all participating growers. The other estimate is an average of those growers specializing in the production of the Norkotah variety. The Norkotah variety is currently the most common variety typically placed in storage for sale and shipment later in the marketing year. The actual quantity placed in storage each year is a function of harvest timing and market conditions at time of harvest.

Based on the information provided by all growers in the sample the average cost of production per acre of potatoes in 2001 was $2017. On a hundredweight basis the cost was $3.70. The cost of growing russet type (Norkotah) potatoes for the fresh market was $2032 per acre or $3.63 per cwt.

The above is just a small portion of the Executive Summary. The complete report is available in pdf format and may be downloaded in its entirety.

printer iconPrintable copy of complete report in pdf format.

Picture from Thompson-Morgan Potatoes CollectionsPicture used with permission from Thompson-Morgan Potatoes Collections.

*Tom Schotzko is an Extension Economist, emeritus, at Washington State University and Kevin Sund is a graduate student in the Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 

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