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View Full Version : What is the most valuable crop?


Emilio Lizardo
10-11-2004, 09:22 AM
A dream I had last night made me wonder: imagine I had a magical acre of land, on which I could grow any crop. What crop has the greatest value per acre of harvested product? For the sake of our discussion, lets stick to legal crops, and restrict ourselves soley to the crop itself, not things made from it, to eliminate anomalies like the particular acre in France on which are grown the grapes for some hideously expensive wine. If we factor in the production cost, does the answer change?

Philster
10-11-2004, 09:35 AM
The Tomato is the most valuable in the U.S and the second most valuable in the world (might lose to rice or wheat).


Will cite if possible.

citrus x paradisi
10-11-2004, 09:35 AM
Note: I am not a farmer, and as a city-dwelling youth, know nothing about it firsthand. From Eric Schlosser's book Reefer Madness:

Strawberries. They're a very risky high-profit specialized crop, and our consumption of them has increased dramatically- California leads the US in agriculture. In 1970, there were about 600 acres of strawberries in the Santa Maria Valley, now there are six times that amount. CA accounts for more than 80 pct of strawberries grown in the US and ~25 pct grown in the world. The cost of production can be anywhere between $12,000 - $30,000 an acre.

Great book, by the way. ;)

iwakura43
10-11-2004, 09:35 AM
Saffron, IIRC. Worth far, far more than fruits or vegetables.

Now, is it a "crop"? I think it is.

Philster
10-11-2004, 09:39 AM
In the U.S. it is tomato.

http://12.46.245.173/pls/portal30/CATALOG.PROGRAM_TEXT_RPT.SHOW?p_arg_names=prog_nbr&p_arg_values=10.961

Unless you read this about tobacco:

http://fujipub.com/fot/working.html


And in case you care, cattle are considered crops, too.

Robot Arm
10-11-2004, 09:40 AM
I was also thinking of saffron. Since you specify that anything will grow on this magical acre, you might do some research and figure out the hypothetical yield of truffles or chantrelle mushrooms?

iwakura43
10-11-2004, 09:41 AM
According to this page (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/BODY_MV128):

Saffron is, indeed, one of the most expensive crops to purchase per pound. But, an acre of land will only produce about 10 lbs of it. So the retail value of an acre of saffron plants is only about $3650, which is obviously eclipsed by strawberries at a production cost of $12-30k, as citrus x paradisi reports.

Kreekurmudgeon
10-11-2004, 09:43 AM
I haven't researched it, but catfish and pine trees must fairly high in dollars per acre.

iwakura43
10-11-2004, 09:47 AM
Vanilla.

Yield of ~4000 lbs per acre. (cite (http://www.orchidsasia.com/vanillaplants.htm) )

Price: ~$120/lb (cite (http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:pEwlF2TKqsQJ:www.buydominica.com/vanilla.htm+vanilla+price+%22per+pound%22+-coffee&hl=en))

Nets approximately $480,000 per acre, retail. Not bad at all.

daffyduck
10-11-2004, 09:50 AM
Safforn is a crop, but the yield per acre is so low (8 to 10lbs/acre) that while the price is high (approx $100/lb to the grower) the end result is that it is not even close to being as valuable as strawberries. Strawberries can yield as high as 27,600 lbs/acre and sell for $1.00/lb wholesale to the grower. These numbers are what I could quickly find while skimming the web, but you get the idea.

I live in So Cal and there are still strawberry fields surrounded by suburban development. That has to tell you something right there. They paved over the asparagus fields to make shopping malls, but the strawberry fields remain.

citrus x paradisi
10-11-2004, 09:54 AM
They paved over the asparagus fields to make shopping malls, but the strawberry fields remain.

Not the asparagus fields! Oh, how the children of California shall miss those verdant fields of green... :(

It's worth noting that strawberries, and tomatos too, I'd reckon, depend on the migrant labor available readily in the United States. Saffron pickers are probably trained for the job.

Thanks.

N9IWP
10-11-2004, 09:57 AM
Isn't some opium grown legally (for codeine et al)?
No idea what the $/acre is tho.

Brian

Robot Arm
10-11-2004, 09:59 AM
I live in So Cal and there are still strawberry fields surrounded by suburban development. That has to tell you something right there.That Southern California is full of Beatles fans?

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
10-11-2004, 10:26 AM
Isn't some opium grown legally (for codeine et al)?
No idea what the $/acre is tho.

Brian

I would guess that it's not terribly high. Generic codeine based cough syrups and narcotic analgesics are among the cheaper prescription drugs out there, at least IME.

Philster
10-11-2004, 11:15 AM
Some crops have brief harvest times, and you have to add a time control.

wilsta
10-11-2004, 12:02 PM
I would guess that it's not terribly high. Generic codeine based cough syrups and narcotic analgesics are among the cheaper prescription drugs out there, at least IME.

This may be true, but a little bit of coca goes a long way. Also more importantly I would imagine the per acre grossing from these crops would be high compared to others discussed. However I have a feeling security overheads may cut a large chunk out of the profit margin.

wilsta
10-11-2004, 12:04 PM
This may be true, but a little bit of coca goes a long way. Also more importantly I would imagine the per acre grossing from these crops would be high compared to others discussed. However I have a feeling security overheads may cut a large chunk out of the profit margin.

Whoops i meant...opium of course.. not coca... but theres another one.

ZipperJJ
10-11-2004, 03:07 PM
I was also thinking of saffron. Since you specify that anything will grow on this magical acre, you might do some research and figure out the hypothetical yield of truffles or chantrelle mushrooms?

Can you "grow a crop" of truffles? I thought their charm (read: expense) is due to the fact that they grow wild and have to be found.

Wouldn't you need to first grow a forest on your magical land and THEN grow truffles? Can fungus grow alone?

Ike Witt
10-11-2004, 03:11 PM
I live in So Cal and there are still strawberry fields surrounded by suburban development. That has to tell you something right there. They paved over the asparagus fields to make shopping malls, but the strawberry fields remain.

Aren't there some strawberry fields in a prime location near Disneyland?

Crandolph
10-11-2004, 03:13 PM
Vanilla.

Yield of ~4000 lbs per acre. (cite (http://www.orchidsasia.com/vanillaplants.htm) )

Price: ~$120/lb (cite (http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:pEwlF2TKqsQJ:www.buydominica.com/vanilla.htm+vanilla+price+%22per+pound%22+-coffee&hl=en))

Nets approximately $480,000 per acre, retail. Not bad at all.


My understanding is that a storm which hit Madagascar (the world leader in vanilla) recently wiped out a good deal of the vanilla crop, thus these numbers may be temporarily inflated.

I should think that marijuana would be up there; there are plenty of farmers in the Midwest and Tennessee, Kentucky who have made the switch from grain crops in order to hold on to the family farm...

Robot Arm
10-11-2004, 04:04 PM
Can you "grow a crop" of truffles? I thought their charm (read: expense) is due to the fact that they grow wild and have to be found.

Wouldn't you need to first grow a forest on your magical land and THEN grow truffles? Can fungus grow alone?As far as I know, truffles and chantrelle mushrooms aren't cultivated, and only found in natural settings. But the OP asked about a magical acre that could grow anything, and I was trying to think of something beyond the obvious. That's why I suggested someone figure out a hypothetical yield for just the fungus. Which suggests another dimension to the problem...

Does the length of time to maturity of the crop factor into this? Considering the price of hardwood lumber, an acre of cherry or oak trees (or probably some more exotic wood) would fetch a pretty hefty sum. But you could have dozens of strawberry harvests in the time it took grow mature trees.

Joey P
10-11-2004, 04:39 PM
In the U.S. it is tomato.
...
Unless you read this about tobacco:
...


Now if we could only find away to combine the two of them...but what would we call it :dubious:?

Joey P
10-11-2004, 04:40 PM
ya know, I even previewed this, that should of course be "a way" not "away"

Maastricht
10-11-2004, 05:00 PM
Hothouses?

Qadgop the Mercotan
10-11-2004, 06:27 PM
Well, ginseng can net $30k an acre, but it takes a big investment up front and a number of years for the fields to begin producing.

Right up there with strawberries, but not quite in vanilla's league. The bean, not the poster.

Joey P! Ooh! Ooh! I know! We call it the tobato, right? :smack:

Bewildebeest
10-11-2004, 08:11 PM
Now if we could only find away to combine the two of them...but what would we call it :dubious:?

Tomatoes and tobacco are closely related. So are potatoes. You can graft a tomato top onto potato roots and get two crops in the same space. It's possible you could also graft tomatoes and tobacco onto the same stock. I've never heard of anyone trying it.

ZebraShaSha
10-11-2004, 08:29 PM
Tomatoes and tobacco are closely related. So are potatoes. You can graft a tomato top onto potato roots and get two crops in the same space. It's possible you could also graft tomatoes and tobacco onto the same stock. I've never heard of anyone trying it.

How much is woosh $/acre anyways?

Cisco
10-11-2004, 08:30 PM
Tomatoes and tobacco are closely related. So are potatoes. You can graft a tomato top onto potato roots and get two crops in the same space. It's possible you could also graft tomatoes and tobacco onto the same stock. I've never heard of anyone trying it.

[General Disarray] "Simpsons did it!"

Bewildebeest
10-11-2004, 09:13 PM
How much is woosh $/acre anyways?
<a href="http://www.springrivernurseries.com/tompot2.htm" target="_blank">cite</a>

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