Every winter, Landon and I look at the sales numbers for our major crops and calculate the biggest losers and triumphant winners. If a crop performs well, we expect it to bring in about $3-$6 per bed foot. Anything less than that, and we have to make some decisions about how to grow the crop better or how to grow less of it. Anything more than that, and we have to decide if we have the space and the labor hours to expand the crop’s acreage.
We should note: yield per labor hour is a more important criteria than sales per bed foot, but it can be tricky to calculate that accurately over the long course of the season with so many different crops. And because we have more time to invest in crops in the fall than we do in the middle of summer, even yield per labor hour doesn’t give us the whole picture. Consequently, sales per bed foot, along with our remembered experience of the work, are a simpler way to calculate a crop’s worth to the farm.
Take a look at the chart below to get a sense of the issues we debated in the off-season.