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Hi,

I have entered in a Business plan contest and want data to help me win!!  One of my current issues is getting numbers to calculate the potential of a AP system.  While I ultimately want data for all possible plants,  I am focusing on these few just now.  Can anyone guide me to where I can get this?  

Bok Choy
Celery
Lettuce Mix
Basel
Leeks

Chard

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To get numbers on harvest weights, you will probably need to provide information about the particular varieties of those listed plants you will be planting.

And at what stage of growth you will be harvesting.  Baby Bok Choy weighs a lot less than full grown.

What size will the lettuce mix be when harvested and how will it be grown?  Shoots and micro-greens will be very different from a baby lettuce mix or mesclun mix will be different from individual heads of lettuce of that mix.

What type of chard?  I grow some that are great rainbow colors but they definitely don't produce the same weight per plant as the Fordhook Giant  which I've had get to waist high when growing in the ground.

Sorry I don't have any numbers for you.  About all I have keep track of that way is I once got 23 ounces of basil of half a tower when I was only pruning the plants about 1/3rd of the way.

Fair enough I was not detailed enough...  is there any place that I can look up the data?  I have the seeds (so I can get the exact species)  and plan to grow them to the full harvest time.. sorry I made an assumption that is the normal process unless one was doing a specialized crop.  

I am looking for average numbers to give realistic information everything is subject to many factors.  

To find harvest weights, you might look to see if the Agricultural extension service has growing information on the different crops you are looking at.  It might not be numbers from an aquaponics system but the extension service has lots of resources for farmers.

have been,,   they seem to all be closed...   something about winter break...  LOL... thanks for the suggestion, I will just have to go shopping,, and make notes I guess,,  

TCLynx said:

To find harvest weights, you might look to see if the Agricultural extension service has growing information on the different crops you are looking at.  It might not be numbers from an aquaponics system but the extension service has lots of resources for farmers.

One way to get the approximate weight is to go to your market and buy, then weigh the individual product and size you think you will grow. Again this is just for rough calculations. Your system may (most likely) be different to some degree but is good enough for rough calculations until you get data for yourself in your location, with your climate.

I hope this helps.

Cheers

If you can actually find a market in your area that has locally grown stuff to check.  (Most markets in our area still have mostly shipped in produce and only a few rare locally grown products.)

Happy Holidays Brent.

This is not really a question that can be answered in precise numbers...as the saying goes... "it all depends".

Not only is each market different (economic, regional, climatic etc), Aquaponics growing style different ( Raft, Media, NFT, Vertical (s) etc, consumer choice and demand differs (need v want), but so is the method of marketing different (pick your own, fresh cut, bagged, sold by weight, live plants), etc and then as TCLynx states, what size these plants are sold.Needless to state the obvious, plus a whole bunch of additional factors (such as not encountering any major disasters such as "Fish Kill", unwanted visitors (pests & disease), unexpected weather changes or electrical failure etc), are going to determine both the final quantity as well as the market price that you are able to obtain. Using a composite number determined by others in your business plan may project a rosy projection but one that would not really be realistic.

For your contest, and assuming that is all that you are going to use the data for, that is mere financial projections in a perfect world, I would suggest that you use either the data from UVI research or Friendly's (assuming that you are going to be using Rafts as your Aquaponics Systems). Recent "Profitability per sq ft" of certain vegetable was posted on this and other websites suggest that Cilantro could provide you with a gross return of USA $21.20 per square foot!

How does this fare in my local market? We use a lot of Cilantro in our Indian cooking and chutneys. In my farmers market and local ethnic stores, I can purchase 3 or 4 bunches (usually 4 to 6 ounces each depending upon the season), for 99c. Now let me see, if I use the Raft system, I can pack in 9 growing spots using 4 inch spacing (I would not use a smaller spacing for Cilantro as it does need room to grow). That would provide you with Final sales of between $2.31 to $2.97 ( 4 bunches or 3 bunches), per growing cycle. Assuming that you have perfect temperature and no other factors, the article goes on to state that... "Cilantro/Coriander can be harvested in optimal conditions within 40 – 50 days".   That would thus give you approx 7 to 8 growing cycles, thus annual final sales of  between $18.48 to $23.76. So $21.20 per sq ft is not a bad figure to use for your business plan provided that you are both the grower and end seller. If you are selling to a wholesaler who then further sells to the vendor, you would be lucky to get half that price. 

I intend to cover this and numerous such topics in one of the future Aquaponics Workshops by Aquaponics Urban Gurus (in the section Growing for profit). planned for next year. Lots and lots of planning and local considerations need to be planned for when you actually get to do your own business plan. Until then, just use the data provided by this article as a starting point. I hope that this was helpful.

God bless,

Commercial Aquaponics : What plants are the most profitable 

I'm not sure these results qualify because strictly speaking I didn't use aquaponics.

My yields for last year are as follows:

Lbs per 100 ft row in Hydro-organic raised beds~ reservoirs fed with AP water (non recirculating)

*Bok Choy 139lbs vs expected field production @ around 120lbs (fully mature)

*Lettuce 116lbs vs expected field production @ around 100lbs (full mature heads)

*Swiss Chard 112lbs vs expected field production @ around 90lbs (mature)

Sorry, I didn't grow or take record of the other crops like Basil, Celery and Leeks. I'll give you the rest of my harvest records if you think this helps.

I would suggest that you minus 30% from my production or 20% off the field record to calculate a more conservative representation for your ROI.

And as Sahib mentioned, there are so many variables such as plant spacing that it makes it difficult to produce actual figures for your location and environment.

Cheers

THANKS...   you just confirmed my fears,,, lol  ok,  I have been thinking that is what I would end up doing.  I will go back and look for other info as I thought (as you confirned) there are other areas that cover this,, I just could not find that thread..  back to looking,,,  again THANKS!!  



Sahib Punjabi said:

Happy Holidays Brent.

This is not really a question that can be answered in precise numbers...as the saying goes... "it all depends".

Not only is each market different (economic, regional, climatic etc), Aquaponics growing style different ( Raft, Media, NFT, Vertical (s) etc, consumer choice and demand differs (need v want), but so is the method of marketing different (pick your own, fresh cut, bagged, sold by weight, live plants), etc and then as TCLynx states, what size these plants are sold.Needless to state the obvious, plus a whole bunch of additional factors (such as not encountering any major disasters such as "Fish Kill", unwanted visitors (pests & disease), unexpected weather changes or electrical failure etc), are going to determine both the final quantity as well as the market price that you are able to obtain. Using a composite number determined by others in your business plan may project a rosy projection but one that would not really be realistic.

For your contest, and assuming that is all that you are going to use the data for, that is mere financial projections in a perfect world, I would suggest that you use either the data from UVI research or Friendly's (assuming that you are going to be using Rafts as your Aquaponics Systems). Recent "Profitability per sq ft" of certain vegetable was posted on this and other websites suggest that Cilantro could provide you with a gross return of USA $21.20 per square foot!

How does this fare in my local market? We use a lot of Cilantro in our Indian cooking and chutneys. In my farmers market and local ethnic stores, I can purchase 3 or 4 bunches (usually 4 to 6 ounces each depending upon the season), for 99c. Now let me see, if I use the Raft system, I can pack in 9 growing spots using 4 inch spacing (I would not use a smaller spacing for Cilantro as it does need room to grow). That would provide you with Final sales of between $2.31 to $2.97 ( 4 bunches or 3 bunches), per growing cycle. Assuming that you have perfect temperature and no other factors, the article goes on to state that... "Cilantro/Coriander can be harvested in optimal conditions within 40 – 50 days".   That would thus give you approx 7 to 8 growing cycles, thus annual final sales of  between $18.48 to $23.76. So $21.20 per sq ft is not a bad figure to use for your business plan provided that you are both the grower and end seller. If you are selling to a wholesaler who then further sells to the vendor, you would be lucky to get half that price. 

I intend to cover this and numerous such topics in one of the future Aquaponics Workshops by Aquaponics Urban Gurus (in the section Growing for profit). planned for next year. Lots and lots of planning and local considerations need to be planned for when you actually get to do your own business plan. Until then, just use the data provided by this article as a starting point. I hope that this was helpful.

God bless,

Commercial Aquaponics : What plants are the most profitable 

The variables are why I am looking for individual average weight,, I have a spread sheet to help convert hole numbers to LB per sq ft,.. and annual possible harvest ,, do you have record of your individual plant weights?  just wondering,  why would I cut the numbers so much?  If the field numbers are less than what AP should do that would be realistic enough I would think,,,  

Thanks for the help!!


Carey Ma said:

I'm not sure these results qualify because strictly speaking I didn't use aquaponics.

My yields for last year are as follows:

Lbs per 100 ft row in Hydro-organic raised beds~ reservoirs fed with AP water (non recirculating)

*Bok Choy 139lbs vs expected field production @ around 120lbs (fully mature)

*Lettuce 116lbs vs expected field production @ around 100lbs (full mature heads)

*Swiss Chard 112lbs vs expected field production @ around 90lbs (mature)

Sorry, I didn't grow or take record of the other crops like Basil, Celery and Leeks. I'll give you the rest of my harvest records if you think this helps.

I would suggest that you minus 30% from my production or 20% off the field record to calculate a more conservative representation for your ROI.

And as Sahib mentioned, there are so many variables such as plant spacing that it makes it difficult to produce actual figures for your location and environment.

Cheers

Keep in mind that the first year with an AP system you are unlikely to get top numbers since you will still be learning the system and working out the details (and boy are there lots of details in getting top stead production out of a commercial operation.)

Again, these numbers are not from an AP system, others would have to supply that information. Like I said, these are simply my personal results vs. commercial organic fields. The difference is that my water does not recirculate.

The difference of my two results is mainly in the availability of nutrients and water. In my hydro-organic raised beds, I am able to combine all my organic gardening experience like composting, brew/tea making, companion planting, square-foot and succession gardening with my hydroponics experience and bottom irrigating with enriched (processed fish waste) water and tenderly care for each plant. I have heating wires in the beds to give my plants an earlier start and later finish. So yes, I get some good results but at what cost? 

In the commercial field operation I currently consult, we simply top-dress with mature compost and irrigate with the deep water method as per tradition here to give us decent results. Nope sorry I don't have the average weight per plant but that can be calculated. Maybe I can do that this week if I remember. When I figure for production, esp. for sales, I usually figure for the 100 foot row or 100 foot beds as my base for smaller projects but pounds per acre or hectare is how true commercial operations calculate production.

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