2014 Cost Estimates of Establishing, Producing and Packing Organic Gala Apples in Washington | Extension Publications | Washington State University Skip to main content Skip to navigation

2014 Cost Estimates of Establishing, Producing and Packing Organic Gala Apples in Washington

2014 Cost Estimates of Establishing, Producing and Packing Organic Gala Apples in Washington

Suzette Gallinato, Research Associate, IMPACT Center, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, R. Karina Gallardo, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, School of Economic Sciences, Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Puyallup, WA, Yeon Hong, Graduate Research Assistant, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
If you’re thinking of producing organic Gala apples in Washington, this publication can be a very valuable resource. Designed to enable growers to estimate costs of equipment, materials, supplies, and labor as well as ranges of price and yield, this publication helps evaluate the feasibility and profitability of producing certified organic Gala apples.
Section 3 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris sit amet pulvinar massa, vel suscipit turpis. Vestibulum sollicitudin felis sit amet mi luctus, sed malesuada nibh ultricies. Nam sit amet accumsan dui, vitae placerat tortor. Vestibulum facilisis fermentum dignissim. Maecenas ultrices cursus diam, eu volutpat urna viverra non.




The results presented in this WSU publication serve as a general guide for evaluating the feasibility of producing organic Gala 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.

Organic Gala Apple Production in Washington

Washington leads the nation in the production of certified organic apples, with 14,790 acres accounting for 9.7 % of Washington apple acres and 72% of the state’s total organic tree fruit acreage (Kirby and Granatstein 2012). Organic apple production is primarily based in central Washington east of the Cascade Mountains in commercial tree fruit growing districts. In particular, nearly two-thirds of certified apple acres are located in Grant, Douglas, and Yakima counties (Galinato et al. 2011). Gala has led organic apple varieties grown in Washington since 2003, followed by Red Delicious and Fuji. Organic Gala acreage represents 21% of the total certified organic apple acres in the state as of 2011 (USDA NASS 2011).

More than 10.13 million boxes of organic apples were sold in 2014. Organic Gala represented 29.78% of total volumes of organic apples sold in the same year. Its sales between 2013 and 2014 increased by 23.5% which is the second highest increase after Red Delicious among reported varieties over this period: Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink (Kirby and Granatstein 2015). The price per 40-lb box of organic Gala was $42.73 in 2013-2014 compared to $24.96 per 40-lb box of conventional Gala, thus there was a premium of $17.77 per 40-lb box (WSTFA 2015).

Washington organic apple exports were approximately 660,000 boxes in 2014-2015. Organic apple exports increased by 39% between 2007/08 and 2014/15 marketing seasons. Organic Gala apples accounted for approximately 39% of the total organic apple exports in 2014-2015 (Kirby and Granatstein 2015).

Study Objectives

This publication is designed to enable growers to estimate: (1) the costs of equipment, materials, supplies, and labor required to establish and produce an organic Gala orchard; and (2) the ranges of price and yield at which certified organic Gala 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 organic Gala 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 organic Gala 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 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.



Copyright 2016 Washington State University

WSU Extension bulletins contain material written and produced for public distribution. Alternate formats of our educational materials are available upon request for persons with disabilities. Please contact Washington State University Extension for more information

Issued by Washington State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, and national or ethnic origin; physical, mental, or sensory disability; marital status or sexual orientation; and status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Trade names have been used to simplify information; no endorsement is intended.