ANALYSIS OF THE PROFITABILITY OF GROWING HERBS AND THE MOST COMMONLY CULTIVATED AGRICULTURAL CROP SPECIES
Background. The aim of this study was to determine the profitability index of herbs (evening primrose, glandular plantain, black caraway, garden dill) and to compare it with the index of dominant species in the cropping system in Poland.
Material and methods. Economic analyzes were carried out based on accounting books made available by the owners of two farms located in the Koronowo Gmina (community) of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship and on data provided by the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Agricultural Advisory Centre. The calculations concern the years 2017–2019 and took into account production value, the amount of gross margin, net agricultural income and profitability index.
Results. The calculations carried out confirmed the hypothesis that in most cases growing herbs in the field is more profitable than it is for other plant species. The analysis showed that glandular plantain and garden dill had the highest profitability indices. Herbs from which lower financial results were obtained still enabled an income similar to that from sugar beet, pea or winter oilseed rape. The most profitable among the other species was table potato. A farmer's decision regarding the choice of plants for cultivation on
a farm should depend on the possibility of selling the produced raw materials on local markets and on their base of machinery and equipment. The study has shown that growing plants from groups that occupy the largest acreage in the cropping structure is characterized by the need to incur very high overheads.
Conclusion. Some selected herbs are characterized by a large profitability index that is even several times higher when compared to commonly cultivated agricultural crop species. While other analyzed herb species allow for an income that is at a similar level compared to crops that occupy the largest acreage in Poland. The selection of herbs for cultivation is an economic opportunity, especially for farms with a small area. Their cultivation enables larger agricultural incomes due to their relatively low overhead costs compared to other species. Herb cultivation, however, is a very specific branch of agriculture that requires more human labour.