New cost study for processing tomatoes released by UC

Jul 14, 2023

New cost study for processing tomatoes released by UC

Jul 14, 2023
Organic tomatoes are mechanically harvested at West Side Research and Extension Center.

A study on the costs and returns for growing processing tomatoes has been updated by the University of California, Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and UC Cooperative Extension.

The newly released analysis is based upon a hypothetical well-managed farming operation using sub-surface drip irrigation and farming practices common in the Sacramento Valley and northern Delta. The costs, materials and practices shown in this study will not apply to all farms.

The cost study is authored by Brenna Aegerter, UCCE farm advisor for San Joaquin County; Patricia Lazicki, UCCE farm advisor for Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties; Donald Stewart, staff research associate in the UC Davis Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics; Gene Miyao, emeritus UCCE farm advisor; and Brittney Goodrich, UC Davis assistant professor of Cooperative Extension. 

The analysis is based on a hypothetical farm with 3,500 non-contiguous acres, which are leased. Tomatoes are grown on 1,000 acres. All 1,000 acres of processing tomatoes are irrigated with sub-surface drip. The remaining 2,500 acres are planted to other rotational crops including alfalfa hay, field corn, safflower, sunflower, vine seed and wheat. The yield of 46 tons per acre is used to reflect the region's typical yields.

UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviews. The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for the processing tomato crop, material inputs, cash overhead, and non-cash overhead. Ranging analysis tables show net profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The new study, “Sample Costs to Produce Processing Tomatoes in the Sacramento Valley and Northern Delta - 2023,” and sample cost of production studies for many other commodities can be downloaded for free from the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Goodrich at, Aegerter at, or Lazicki at


By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach