top of page

Thinking of diversifying from beef farming? Going bananas!

Updated: May 21, 2023

When it comes to profitable farming in New Zealand, two industries that come to mind are banana growing and beef farming. But which one is more profitable and environmentally sustainable?


Let's start with bananas.

Bananas are starting to be grown in Northland, Gisbourne, and Taranaki commercially. The New Zealand banana industry is small, but it has been steadily growing in recent years. Market prices range from $5-10 per kg.

One of the main advantages of growing bananas is that they are a high-value crop, with a relatively low cost of production compared to other fruits. This means that growers can make a good profit even with a small number of plants. NZ currently imports 85 million dollars worth of bananas per year.


On the other hand, beef farming is a significant industry in New Zealand, with over 3 million beef cattle on farms across the country. While beef farming can be profitable, it also has a significant impact on the environment. Beef farming requires large amounts of land and water, and the animals produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

When it comes to profitability, the numbers speak for themselves. According to a report by the Ministry for Primary Industries, the average gross revenue per hectare for beef farming in New Zealand is around $1,800. In contrast, the gross revenue per hectare for bananas can be up to $50,000. This is a significant difference, and it shows that growing bananas can be a much more profitable venture.

In terms of sustainability, banana farming has some advantages over beef farming. Bananas require less water and land than beef cattle, and they don't produce methane. Additionally, bananas are a healthy and nutritious food, there are more products than just the fruit! Banana flowers, and young banana inner stems are also delicious and sell well. The leaves make excellent wraps for steaming and in hangi, whereas beef is often associated with negative health impacts.

Overall, while beef farming is an important industry in New Zealand, it has some significant environmental drawbacks and is not as profitable as growing bananas.

Converting a few Ha to bananas means a diversified income for the business, and extra fodder for the cows , a win-win.

With the demand for bananas on the rise and the potential for high profits, banana farming could be a great option for those looking for a more sustainable and profitable farming venture.

At Far North Tropicals we have selected the best genetics and have three varieties for the start up banana grower.

Dwarf Cavendish, Goldfinger or the much more unique Blue Java.

Different varieties have different requirements. In this post, we'll discuss how to grow three popular varieties of bananas: Dwarf Cavendish, Blue Java, and Goldfinger. We'll compare their growing conditions, taste of the fruit, and yield of the crops, drawing on a range of studies to provide reliable information.


Dwarf Cavendish Bananas:


Dwarf Cavendish bananas are one of the most popular varieties of bananas and are commonly grown in warmer climates. They are relatively easy to grow and produce sweet, creamy fruit. According to a study published in the Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology, Dwarf Cavendish bananas require temperatures between 22-30°C and a relative humidity of 70-80% over summer. They do not like frosts, but if planted with heavy mulch do well down to -1 to -2 degres in winter. The study also found that Dwarf Cavendish bananas require well-drained soil and regular watering to produce a high yield.


In terms of taste, Dwarf Cavendish bananas are known for their sweet, creamy flavor. They are often used in baking and smoothies and are a popular choice for eating fresh. According to a study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Dwarf Cavendish bananas have a high sugar content and are a good source of vitamins and minerals.


As for yield, a study published in the journal Food Security found that Dwarf Cavendish bananas can produce up to 30 kg of fruit per plant per year, making them a relatively high-yield crop.


Blue Java Bananas:


Blue Java bananas, also known as Ice Cream bananas, are a unique variety of banana with a creamy, vanilla-like flavor. According to a study published in the Journal of Plant Science and Molecular Breeding, Blue Java bananas require similar growing conditions to Dwarf Cavendish bananas, with temperatures between 22-30°C and a relative humidity of 70-80% over summer. Over winter they prefer temperatures of at least +2 degrees. However, the study found that Blue Java bananas require more water than other varieties, and the soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.


In terms of taste, Blue Java bananas are known for their creamy, vanilla-like flavor and are often compared to ice cream. They are a popular choice for eating fresh and are also used in baking and smoothies.


As for yield, a study published in the Journal of Plant Science and Molecular Breeding found that Blue Java bananas can produce up to 30 kg of fruit per plant per year, making them a relatively high-yield crop.


Goldfinger Bananas:

The FHIA-01 Goldfinger Banana is a hybrid dessert banana that was developed and released by FHIA in 1988. These plants are cold and wind-tolerant and produce high quality fruits and is widely distributed for subsistence and commercial cultivation.


Goldfinger bananas are a newer variety of banana that are becoming increasingly popular due to their disease resistance and high yield. According to a study published in the Journal of Plant Pathology, Goldfinger bananas require temperatures between 18-30°C over summer and a relative humidity of 70-80%. Over winter they are the best of the three for cooler winter temperatures of -1 to -3 degrees. The study also found that Goldfinger bananas require well-drained soil and regular watering to produce a high yield.


In terms of taste, Goldfinger bananas are known for their sweet, slightly tart flavor. They are a popular choice for eating fresh and are also used in baking and smoothies.


As for yield, a study published in the journal Scientia Horticulturae found that Goldfinger bananas can produce up to 40 kg of fruit per plant per year, making them the highest yield crop of the three.



Edit : 500 plants per Ha, estimates based off approx 80% fruiting each year after 2 years .

400 plants producing an average 20kg of fruit is 8000 kg of fruit a year .

8000 kg x $5/kg is $45,000 gross profit

8000kg x $10/kg is $80,000 gross profit.

The above price per Ha of $30,000 is the likely net profit after inputs such as labour, mulch and equipment.



If you are wanting to grow any of these three varieties, please contact us, so we can get them ready for your late spring planting.


We can provide planting guides, and also companion plants for wind control, biomass and advice for increasing yields and flavour.

Email fntropicals@gmail.com or call 0210608846.



184 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Happy Earth day 2023!

Being the day we think about the issues that affect our planet it could be a pretty depressing day.... unless we look back on the positives from the last year , and think up ways we can do better in t

2 Comments


I love bananas, slow but sure I am trying to get to plant about 200 plants this year, have a high mileage in year's so taking it slowly. Whatever . Regards Joe

Like
Replying to

Thanks for your comment, would love to see a pic of your Banana Plantation! We have a supply agreement with 2 amazing planters who are able to plant bananas for just $2 a plant. (Minimum numbers apply) Hope your staying warm in this cold weather and have a great day.

Like
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page