UC releases new cost studies for growing lima beans

Aug 18, 2016
Dried lima beans
UC Agricultural Issues Center has released two new studies on the cost and returns of growing lima beans in the Sacramento Valley and northern San Joaquin Valley. One study focuses on producing baby lima beans. The other study focuses on producing large lima beans.

The cost analyses are based on hypothetical farm operations of a well-managed farm, using practices common to the region. Growers, UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisors, and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the studies.

The studies estimate the cost of producing lima beans on 200 acres using furrow irrigation. The major differences between the baby lima bean and large lima bean crops are return prices and yields, seeding rates and seed costs.

In the large lima bean study, the researchers report yields of 25 hundredweight (cwt) per acre (2,500 pounds per acre) and a return price of $75 per cwt. The seed costs for large lima including inoculant is $165 per acre. Large lima beans are planted at 120 pounds per acre. For the baby lima bean study, they report yields of 27 cwt per acre (2,700 pounds per acre) and a return price of $56 per cwt. Seeding rates for the baby limas are 70 pounds per acre with seed costs at $60 per acre.

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for the lima bean crop, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. A ranging analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The new studies are titled:

  • “Sample Costs to Produce Large Lima Beans in the Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley-north – 2016”
  • “Sample Costs to Produce Baby Lima Beans in the Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley-north – 2016”

Free copies of these lima bean studies and sample cost-of-production studies for many other commodities are available. To download the cost studies, visit http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.

The cost and returns program is associated with the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the UC Agricultural Issues Center, which is a statewide program of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact the UC Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651 or Jeremy Murdock at jmmurdock@ucdavis.edu.

By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach