Economics Impact Planting Decisions

The decline in commodity crop prices during the last few years has narrowed profit margins. Some crops may have the potential to be more profitable than others in 2017 due to differences in input costs and expected gross revenue. Estimating your costs per acre to produce a crop, whether corn, soybean, grain sorghum, or wheat, is the first step in determining which crop may be more profitable for your operation. However, estimating crop revenue based on projected yield and crop price can still be a challenge.

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Several universities have crop budget worksheets available for farmers. These budgets provide an average expected individual input cost (seed, fertilizer, pesticides, etc.) or allow individuals to use their own expected cost per acre for each input item. These worksheets may assist farmers in estimating their cost of production, which can aid farmers in developing a break-even analysis and may provide some insight into which level of crop insurance complements their operation. Also, sharing these cost of production estimates with landlords may be beneficial for long-term relationships, and in some instances, in negotiating cash rents.

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Crop budgets for irrigated and non-irrigated systems are available from the following universities.

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Some websites provide budgets in a spreadsheet format, which allows for a quick comparison of various input costs scenarios.