[Market-farming] time budget info for various field crops?

Steve Diver steved at ipa.net
Sun Jan 12 10:38:03 EST 2014

As an aside, in my work as a horticultural consultant the best record 
keepers I came across were engineers-turned-farmers.  They had previous 
careers and training as engineers but once they shifted into organic 
vegetable CSAs and fruit orchards they brought meticulous spreadsheets 
and record keeping to the table.

Btw, while laying out spreadsheets, I found Calc the OpenOffice 
spreadsheet more fluidity than Excel, with both being essential to have 

But to answer your question, I've never seen the time figures you're 
asking for in once place.  I figure experienced farmers have a sense for 
what you're asking, but it's not on paper in one table, plus it will 
vary widely between farming systems and labor pools.

The closest source I can suggest are the crop enterprise budgets 
published by land-grant universities/Extension Service.  They have 
labor/time estimates in the tables, per crop. (But lacking details so 
it's just a starting point).

Steve Diver

On 1/11/2014 10:38 PM, Kathryn Kerby wrote:
> I am looking for something which maybe doesn't exist.  A table of 
> estimated or averaged manhours required for different kinds of veggie 
> crops.  For instance, something which would list the approximate 
> manhours required to take tomatoes from seeding through harvest, on a 
> per-plant or per-row-foot or per-square-foot basis.  I know there are 
> a lot of variables, such as whether stuff is direct-seeded vs 
> transplanted, whether each step is done manually or via machinery, and 
> probably a lot of stuff I haven't even thought of.  But maybe 
> something like this exists?  I've been doing Google searches on 
> phrases like "time budget for vegetable crops" but keep coming up with 
> hits for enterprise budgets, ie, how much money was spent on seeds and 
> fertilizer and so on.  Not what I'm looking for.
> I'm asking for several related reasons.  First, we're trying to decide 
> whether to add any additional crops to our existing work schedule for 
> the year.  Also, we're wondering if there is some kind of comparison 
> between crops, such that if we wanted to add a few more, we could 
> choose based (in part) on how much manpower they'd require, versus how 
> much time we can give that new crop.  Maybe tomatoes would be too 
> time-intensive, but perhaps onions wouldn't.  I also would like to 
> compare the limited manhours info I have for crops we've done in the 
> past, versus how much manhours those same crops required other farms.  
> See if we're taking more time than is really needed, on X crop.  If 
> we're spending five times more man hours in the field on squash, 
> compared to some kind of national average, it would be nice to learn 
> that so we can figure out why.
> Anyone have any resources they could point me towards? Thanks 
> all.............
> Kathryn Kerby
> Frogchorusfarm.com
> Snohomish, WA

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/market-farming/attachments/20140112/fb2a05db/attachment.html 

More information about the Market-farming mailing list