It is comparatively easy to estimate the average animal cost of production upon an acre of Cherries; but, like all other fruit crops, Cherries are subject to such large fluctuations in yield from year to year that it is somewhat of a speculation to estimate the average cost of picking and marketing the crop. Thus, in years when the crop is a large one an orchard may yield upon the average as much as 6 or 8 half-sieves per tree, and individual trees as high as from 10 to 15 halves; whilst in other years, when the crop is short, the same orchard may fail to produce even 1 half-sieve per tree. In years when the crop is large, the cost of gathering the fruit per half-sieve is very much less than when the crop is small, though, of course, the total cost is much higher for the big crop.

In order to make the figures representing the cost of production as intelligible as possible, the figures have been set down in three columns. The first column represents the minimum cost of production, and is based upon the assumption that the crop amounts to 1 half-sieve per tree = 40 halves per acre. The second column represents the maximum cost of production, and is based upon a crop of 8 halves per tree = 320 per acre. The third column gives the writer's opinion of what is the average annual cost of production. It will be noticed that the figures in this column are not in all cases the mean between the minimum and maximum cost. This is done with intention, since the average cost is not, in fact, the mean between the minimum and maximum figures.

Cost Of Production And Marketing

Rent

2

10

0

6

0

0

i

0

0

Rates and taxes (5s. in )

0

12

6

1

10

0

1

0

0

Manuring (by feeding stock)

0

10

0

1

10

0

1

0

0

Replanting (2 trees per acre) ...

-

-

0

6

0

Grease-banding ...

0

5

0

0

10

0

0

7

6

Spraying ...

Nil.

1

5

0

0

5

0

Bird minding, labour, and ammunition

1

0

0

2

0

0

1

10

0

Cost of production

i

17

6

12

15

0

8

8

6

(40 halves per acre.)

(320 halves per acre.)

(160 halves per acre.)

Gathering...

3

0

0

8

0

0

6

0

0

Packing and putting on rail, 2d....

0

6

8

2

13

4

1

6

8

Railway carriage to market, 4d.

0

13

4

5

6

8

2

13

4

Return of empties, 1/4d. ...

0

1

8

0

13

4

0

6

8

Commission, 4d. .....

0

13

4

5

6

8

2

13

4

Cost of marketing...

4

15

0

22

0

0

13

0

0

Total cost per acre...

9

12

6

34

15

0

21

8

6

It is even more difficult to estimate the average returns for an acre of Cherries. The price realized is controlled by a large number of factors, the most significant of which is the total amount of the English cherry-crop. If this is small, prices are likely to be high; and, vice versa, if the crop is large, prices are low. The price also depends to a considerable extent upon the supply of other fruit, and especially upon the supply of Strawberries. A glut of strawberries reacts seriously upon the price of cherries. Another factor influencing the price is the variety of Cherry, the best-quality cherries - such as Rivers's Early, Black Eagle, and Napoleons - frequently realize double and treble the price obtained for such inferior varieties as Frogmores.

The average crop has been roughly estimated at 160 half-sieves per acre, and upon this basis the cost of production and marketing amounts to 21, 8s. 6d. per acre. If we assume an average return of 3s. 6d. per half-sieve, this will yield 28 per acre, and leave a profit of 6, l1s. 6d. per acre. [a. a.]