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New AIC study analyzes costs and returns of growing pistachios

A new study on the cost and return of growing pistachios has been released by the Agricultural Issues Center.

The study focuses on establishing an orchard and producing pistachios under low-volume (drip) irrigation in the southern San Joaquin Valley counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Merced and Tulare. It was carried out by Don Stewart and Nina Anderson of the AIC and eight of their colleagues at the UC Davis Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics and UC Cooperative Extension.

The economic life of the orchard used in this cost analysis is 40 years. The analysis is based upon a hypothetical farm operation of a well-managed orchard, using practices common to the region. Input and reviews were provided by growers, UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates.

Assumptions used to identify current costs for the pistachio crop, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead are described. A ranging analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The new study is titled 2015 Sample Costs to Establish a Pistachio Orchard and Produce Pistachios Under Low-volume Irrigation in the Southern San Joaquin Valley-South.”

AIC is now housing the Cost and Return Studies program. This study and other sample cost-of-production studies for many commodities can be downloaded for free from the UC Davis Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics website at

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Don Stewart at the Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651 or

A portion of this article is reprinted from UC ANR.

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The Agricultural Issues Center is now the UC Davis California Agricultural Issues Lab.


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