Production and Management
Commercial tomato production requires a high level of management, large labor and capital inputs and close attention to detail. Tomato production is subject to the variations that occur in weather, which may result in severe crop damage and losses. Labor requirements for production, harvesting, grading, packaging and transporting are very intense. Prices can change daily when growers are dealing on the fresh market. Gross returns to top level growers range from $1,500 to $10,000 per acre. If you plan to enter the tomato business, be sure to first study these aspects thoroughly.
Three distinct production areas exist in Tennessee. In West Tennessee, tomatoes are produced primarily for early market, with plants supported by stakes in rows 5 to 6 feet apart. Producers in Rhea, Bledsoe and surrounding counties produce primarily for mid-season and late markets using the “Florida Weave System” and between-row spacings of 10 to 12 feet. East Tennessee growers produce for early, mid-season and late markets and practice many different ways of training and trellising.
"PB737- Commercial Tomato Production," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, PB737-4.5M-4/99(Rev) E12-2015-00-242-99, http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexcomhort/7