Published in Good Fruit Grower
By Ross Courtney
May 22, 2019
No matter the chore, no matter the state, whether large or small. It nearly always pays off to mechanize vineyards these days.
That’s the conclusion from Clark Seavert, an Oregon State University agricultural economist, who recently crunched the numbers in a study comparing the profitability of mechanizing routine vineyard tasks with using hand labor on vineyards of varying sizes in Oregon and Washington.
In almost every case — cane pruning was the only exception — net cash flow per acre per year ended up higher with mechanization. The results prove to him that growers must look beyond the sticker shock of expensive equipment when making decisions, evaluating profitability as much as financial feasibility, Seavert said.
“Everybody says, I can’t afford to do it,” Seavert said. “That’s all you hear.”
Seavert advocates a different way of looking at the financial outlay for expensive equipment, rather than focusing only on how long it takes to pay it off.
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