New UC study estimates costs for growing strawberries on the Central Coast

A new study that can help growers and other readers estimate costs and potential returns for growing strawberries on California's Central Coast was recently released by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

“This study provides growers with a baseline to estimate their own costs, which can help when applying for production loans, projecting labor costs, securing market arrangements, or understanding costs associated with water and nutrient management and regulatory programs,” said Brittney Goodrich, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and study co-author.

The cost study models a management scenario for a 50-acre farm, 45 acres of which are planted to strawberries, located in Santa Cruz, Monterey or San Benito counties. The remaining acres are for the irrigation system, roads and buildings.  The study describes the cultural practices used in strawberry production and harvest, including land preparation, soil fertility and pest management, irrigation and labor needs.      

The 19-page study shows costs for each operation, material inputs and costs, and cash and non-cash overhead costs in a variety of formats for one production and harvest cycle.  A ranging analysis is also included and shows potential profits or losses over a range of prices and yields.

The new study, titled “2024 Sample Costs to Produce and Harvest Strawberries” can be downloaded from the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at  

For a detailed explanation of the assumptions and calculations used to estimate the costs and potential returns for each crop, readers can refer to the narrative portion of each study. 

For more information, contact Mark Bolda, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor, at, or Jeremy Murdock in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at

Sample cost of production studies for many other commodities grown in California are also available at

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