Apple Growing

Factors In The Cost Of Production

The value of records depends on their accuracy and on their completeness. There are a great many factors which enter into the cost of production. For convenience these may be classified as cash costs and labor costs. Labor charges should

include the work of both men and teams at a rate determined by their actual cost or by a careful estimate. Man labor costs are easily reckoned, as they are either simple cash or cash plus board and certain privileges, the value of which should be estimated in cash. The value of horse labor is more difficult to determine. It is made up of interest on valuation, depreciation, stable rental, feed, care, etc. A fair estimate of this cost is $10 a month or $120 a year for a horse. Cash costs are interest on the investment and on the equipment in machinery, etc., or rental of the same, taxes, a proper share of the general farm expenses such as insurance and repairs of buildings, telephone, etc., the cost of spraying material, packages, fertilizers, etc. There are many ways of keeping such a record. Any method which accomplishes the result in a convenient and accurate manner is a good one. It will usually be found necessary to keep a cash account or day book, entering all items in enough detail to make possible their later distribution to the proper field or crop, and also to keep a diary of all labor. Any form of diary will answer the purpose, but one which has ruled columns at the right side of the page in which to indicate the crop or field worked upon, and the number of hours worked is more convenient and therefore more desirable. AN EXAMPLE.--For a number of years the author has kept such records on his farm in western New York. As an illustration of the method and in order to give the reader a general idea as to what the costs above referred to are likely to be we venture to give the following tables. It must be remembered, however, that practically everyone of the above mentioned factors varies with the conditions under which the orchard is managed and that these figures are not _an_ average but _one_ average and on one farm. True averages are arrived at only by bringing together a large number of figures. In any case, the question of cost is essentially an individual problem on every farm. These figures are of value only as an example of the method and the cost on one farm under its own special conditions. The orchard for which the following figures were given was set in the spring of 1903, and the records begin with that year and end with 1910, covering a period of eight years in all. Throughout this period other crops have been grown between the tree rows, thereby offsetting to a large extent the cost of growing the orchard. Forty trees at the north end of the orchard are pears, but they have received substantially the same treatment as the apples and have not affected the cost. In 1904, 211 plum trees were set as fillers one way. The apple trees were set 36 by 36 feet apart, so that, filled one way, the trees stand 18 by 36 feet apart. The orchard is ten rows wide and forty-seven long, containing in all 467 trees.

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