2023 journal article

Using Partial Budgeting Analyses to Analyze Profitability of Commercial Pumpkin Production, Standardize Bin Size Categories, and Understand Bin Sorting Accuracy

HORTSCIENCE, 58(12), 1587–1594.

author keywords: bin count; Cucurbita pepo; fruit size; grades and standards; plant density
Source: Web Of Science
Added: March 25, 2024

Pumpkins (Cucurbita sp.) are currently sold in retail commercial bins categorized based on fruit size. There are no standards for these fruit sizes, thus creating discrepancies across the industry. Furthermore, there is not a published partial budget analysis for pumpkin fruit yield based on plant area. An observational study was conducted to quantify and standardize the fruit sizes of pumpkins packed into commercial bins. These proposed standardized fruit sizes were then correlated to the expected fruit size and quantity of different plant areas to estimate the total commercial bin yield. Additionally, a partial budget analysis was conducted to calculate the greatest profit per hectare with the varying plant areas. Pumpkins from bins labeled medium, large, extra-large, and jumbo were hand-measured to determine the diameter, length, and weight. Based on a discriminate analysis, 20% of pumpkins were incorrectly sorted based on current practices. The proposed standard fruit diameters for each bin size are as follows: medium, 23.5 to 26.8 cm; large, 26.9 to 29.9 cm; extra-large, 30.0 to 33.6 cm; and jumbo, 33.7 to 35.5 cm. The results of a partial budget analysis showed that the most profitable plant spacing area is 0.9 m2 with a 1.5-m row width, which will earn $37,163/ha. Profit for pumpkin production is contingent on both fruit quantity and fruit size because these factors dictate the quantity and category of commercial bins. Growers should consider both metrics to optimize their operation.