Submitted to: Northeast Potato Technology Forum Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 4, 2012
Publication Date: March 7, 2012
Citation: Defauw, S.L., Plant, A., English, P., Hoshide, A.K., Halloran, J.M. 2012. Economic assessments of potato production systems in Maine. Northeast Potato Technology Forum Abstracts. p. 26. Technical Abstract: Using an integrated enterprise and whole-farm budget model for a 324-ha medium-sized potato farm, the profitability of potatoes grown in combination with fifteen common potato rotation crops in Maine are evaluated. Enterprise budgets for all sixteen crops are calculated while a whole-farm budget synthesizes all specified crop enterprise budgets. Whole-farm profitability for 324 ha of continuous potatoes is $623/ha. Broccoli grown in a two year rotation with potatoes ($845/ha) was more profitable than continuous potatoes. Although broccoli is a profitable enterprise ($1,357/ha), its limited market and high labor requirements make widespread adoption in potato rotations challenging. Barley and wheat rotations with potato ($672 to $845/ha) were only more profitable if straw was harvested in addition to grain and if potatoes accounted for at least half of the whole-farm crop acreage, whereas standard two-year potato-small grain rotations (w/o straw) are not as profitable (-$32 to $57/ha). Two-year rotations of potato with livestock forage crops such as corn silage ($497/ha), clover ($220/ha), alfalfa ($86/ha), and pasture ($72/ha) were more profitable than rotations with small grain (w/o straw), but rotations with other livestock forages such as dry hay ($0/ha) and haylage (-$17/ha) were not. Concentrated feed and oilseed crops such as canola ($279/ha), soybeans ($262/ha), and corn grain ($59/ha) grown in rotation with potatoes are economically favorable. Development of an interactive, user-friendly, web-based version of this enterprise and whole-farm budget model would encourage more farmers and researchers to evaluate the relative profitability of alternative cropping strategies to improve the financial viability of farming in Aroostook County and elsewhere in Maine.