AN ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMS FOR HARVESTING AND BULK CURING FLUE-CURED TOBACCO

The major purpose of this study was to quantify factors affecting the total cost of harvesting, curing and market preparation of flue-cured tobacco. Data were obtained from seventeen farmers located in eight Eastern North Carolina counties during the summers of 1968-69. Labor usage, fuel and electricity usage were quantified for eight alternative harvesting systems, all of which utilized bulk curing systems. Labor requirements per 100 pounds of cured tobacco were inversely related to stalk position;..!_.~., lower stalk position had higher labor usage per 100 pounds. The walking-field racking system used significantly less labor than any other system and this difference ranged from .41 to 4.83 man-hours per 100 pounds for the mechanical-barn racking and riding-barn racking systems, respectively. Initial and annual overhead costs were computed for these eight systems for operations varying from 3 to 40 acres harvested annually. Wage rates were varied from $1.30 to $3.00 per hour in this analysis. Three mechanical harvesting systems were added to the observed systems to evaluate the feasibility of mechanical harvesters with increased initial costs and reduced labor requirements. At an $11,000 initial cost for the harvester, with a 50 percent reduction in labor usage to 2.00 man-hours per 100 pounds, a break-even wage of $3.36 per hour exists between the walking-field racking system and the mechanical harvesting-barn racking system at 25 acres harvested annually and a $2.07 per hour break-even wage rate at 40 acres harvested annually. With initial cost of harvesters approaching $15,000 each, a considerable increase above 1971 levels in wage rates will be necessary to economically justify the adoption of mechanical harvesting equipment.


Issue Date:
Jan 01 1972
Publication Type:
Report
Language:
English
Total Pages:
50




 Record created 2017-07-14, last modified 2017-08-29

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