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Abstract

This paper evaluates new tart cherry harvester technology and measures its ability to determine technological leapfrogging and competitive advantage between the United States and Poland. Competitive advantage is evaluated using break-even analysis, threshold farm size analysis and economic valuation. Findings reveal that that only a small minority of Polish farmers will be able to adopt new harvesters under current conditions. This same minority of Polish farmers, however, is probably the most important group to U.S. growers in terms of international tart cherry competition. Economic valuation shows that it will be extremely difficult for Michigan farmers to remove tart cherry orchards planted for shaker-harvest before their normal lifespan without economic loss. Economic valuation also demonstrates that there is a great incentive to adopt overhead harvesters due to their ability to harvest younger trees and to decrease per unit production costs.

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