Farm Business Analysis and Summary: 26 Grape Farms in the Finger Lakes Region: 1969
Dominick, B.A. Jr.; Smith, G.C.; Markham, T.W.
This is a summary and analysis of records obtained from 26 Finger Lakes grape growers for the 1969 calendar year. The records were obtained on a survey form by Mr. G. C. Smith, Cooperative Extension Specialist, Finger Lakes Grape Industry Program, and Mr. T. W. Markham, Cooperative Extension Agent, Steuben County Extension Service. The 26 farms included in this report were not selected at random and the data contained herein do not reflect the average costs and returns in producing grapes in the Finger Lakes area. Growers included were those interested in taking a closer look at their farm businesses and in comparing their operations with the averages for the group. However, this report provides a framework for summarizing and analyzing the farm business and can be useful to any grape grower. It also provides standards which a grower can use as a basis for comparison to see how his operations measure up to these averages. Grapes were by far the most important enterprise on all of the farms studied. The grape enterprises were considerably above average in size. These producers averaged 64 acres of grapes (bearing and nonbearing) while the average in the Finger Lakes in 1966 was 18 .5 acres (10, 819 acres reported by 585 farms). Only one of the 26 farms included in this study had fewer than 18.5 acres. This fact reinforces the statement that these are not average farms. They include some of the best managed and most productive grape farms in the area. Another measure of their outstanding performance is indicated by the fact that these farms, while accounting for less than one-half of one per cent of the number of farms in this area, produced 5,967 tons of grapes, or 14.5 per cent of the total tons reported purchased from the Finger Lakes area by New York State wineries and processing plants in 1969, The year was unusually favorable for Finger Lakes growers. Total production in this area in 1969 as indicated by processing plant receipts was 41,011 tons compared with 26,677 tons in 1968 -- an increase of 54 per cent -- while in the Chautauqua-Erie area receipts were 50,975 tons in 1969 compared with 56,765 tons in 1968 -- a decrease of 10 per cent. Another indication of the favorable production conditions was the average yield in 1969 on these farms of 4.0 tons of grapes per acre. In 1964, when the last farm management study was made in this area, the average yield was 3.4 tons per acre. The extremely favorable average labor income for the one year reported in this study was the result of excellent management as well as increased yield and higher average price for each grape variety sold. The weighted average price based on primary utilization of grape varieties weighted by amount of the leading varieties used (during the period 1964-1967) was $147 per ton in 1964. For 1969 this average was $202. In 1968 the average was $156 per ton.
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University