Tomatoes (Field Grown, Caged, Trellised or Staked) Crops Guide

Estimated Cost $1,840 per acre; harvest June and July
Market Outlets Wholesale grocery stores, food service companies, farmers markets, roadside markets
Market Potential Good room for expansion in metropolitan areas
Yield Potential 8000- 16000 lbs/acre
Profit Potential $0 to $2,000 per acre
Adapted Areas Best near metropolitan areas
Labor Requirements Three men per 5 acres, double during harvest. Hand harvested.
Equipment Requirements Tractor, shredder, disk, bedder, mulch applicator, herbicide sprayer, insect/disease sprayer, wire cages or stakes, packing shed, pickup or delivery truck
Soil Requirements Sandy loam to clay loam; good drainage
Water Requirements 20 to 30 acres-inches per acre; supplemental irrigation required (plastic mulch and drip irrigation preferred)
Minimum Size 1/2 acre part-time local sales; 5 acres full-time wholesale; 30 acres requires packing and grading equipment; must wholesale to move volume
Risk Factor High
Other Limiting Factors Early frost, hail, excess rain, insects and diseases, blossom end rot, limited market, labor intensive. Fruit rot or sunburn when grown without stakes or cages. Wire cages cost 50 cents to $1 each initially but can be used 6 to 8 years. Wholesale markets require sizing and grading in specific sized containers. Produce requires delivery within 12 hours or must be refrigerated (60-65° F ). Chilling injury at lower temperature.
Comments Prices fluctuate tremendously weekly, monthly and seasonally. For hybrid transplants, contract with nurseries in advance. Irrigation system must be operational before crop is established. Established market outlet early with a volume projection. Top vegetable in demand at local markets. Requires frequent harvest, daily in some cases.

Comments are closed.