The results presented in this WSU publication serve as a general guide for evaluating the feasibility of producing Red Delicious apples in Washington as of 2014. This publication is not intended to be a definitive guide to production practices, but is helpful in estimating the physical and financial requirements of comparable plantings.
Specific assumptions were adopted for this study, but these assumptions may not fit every situation since production costs and returns vary across orchard operations, depending on the following factors:
- Capital, labor, and natural resources
- Crop yields
- Type and size of machinery, irrigation, and frost control systems
- Input prices
- Cultural practices
- Apple prices
- Orchard size
- Management skills
Cost estimations in the enterprise budget also vary depending on its intended use. To avoid drawing unwarranted conclusions for any particular orchard, readers must closely examine the assumptions made in this guide, and then adjust the costs and/or returns as appropriate for their own orchard operation.
Red Delicious Production in Washington
Red Delicious has historically been the dominant apple variety produced in Washington State, in terms of planted acreage and the number of fresh shipments and export shipments. Despite a significant decrease in acreage (from 121,175 acres in 1986 to 43,379 acres in 2011), Red Delicious remains the dominant apple variety in the State.
In 2011, acres planted to Red Delicious represented 26% of the State’s total apple acreage. Forty-seven percent of all Red Delicious-bearing acres are located in the Yakima Valley, 34.5% in the Columbia Basin, 14.7% in Wenatchee, and 4.2% in other areas (USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service 2011).
This publication is designed to enable growers to estimate:
(1) the costs of equipment, materials, supplies, and labor required to establish and produce a Red Delicious orchard, and
(2) the ranges of price and yield at which Red Delicious production would be a profitable enterprise.
The primary use of this report is in identifying inputs, costs, and yields considered to be typical of well-managed Red Delicious orchards. This publication does not necessarily represent any particular orchard operation and is not intended to be a definitive guide to production practices. However, it describes current industry trends and, as such, can be helpful in estimating the physical and financial requirements of comparable plantings.
Sources of Information
The data used in this study were gathered from a group of experienced Red Delicious growers in Washington. Their production practices and input requirements form the baseline assumptions that were used to develop the enterprise budget.
Additionally, the data represent what these area growers anticipate over an orchard’s life, if no unforeseen failures occur. Given that many factors affect production costs, pack-out, and returns, individual growers can use the Excel Workbook provided to estimate their own costs and returns.