How much does it cost to grow an acre of romaine hearts in the nation’s salad bowl? A new study from the University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension gives us a comprehensive breakdown for costs in the state’s Central Coast region: Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties. The short answer: for a 1,500-acre operation, growing costs, $7,400, harvest costs $9,383, for a total of $16,793 per acre. … Water costs (always a fascinating subject): low, at $282 per acre-foot, reflecting the fact that Salinas Valley crops rely more or less exclusively on groundwater. Total irrigation costs are $582 per acre. Incidentally, although the grower is responsible for pumping costs, any underground costs (such as wells running dry) are borne by the landowner.