Budgeting with Low Grain Prices

Feb 19, 2024

By Jim Kemink, Vice President - Agronomy

With the drop in corn and soybean prices from last year it is very tempting and sometimes necessary to cut back on inputs in response to declining revenues. This, however, often becomes a double-edged sword. While saving money you might be costing yourself significant income. The best planning you can do is use a budget spreadsheet to find out what a bushel of corn actually costs to produce on your farm. Having this information is the best way to make decisions on inputs and also knowing your profit level when marketing your crop!

While many spreadsheets are available online your United Cooperative agronomist has at his disposal a very comprehensive Budget worksheet to figure out what exactly your cost of production is. In the scenario below with a modest fertilizer and crop protection program using a fungicide and a land value of $200 it cost $4.19/bushel to raise 200 bushel per acre. If you were to cut $50 in inputs it would lower that number by $.25/bushel or $3.94/bushel. However, if yields drop to 185bu/acre after your cuts your cost per bushel actually goes up to $4.26 even with the lower input cost.
The message is to be careful what you cut. If corn price goes up in the marketing year it would even be more costly to have lower yields. Work it through with your UC agronomist and get your breakeven number figured out.

Read More News

Apr 09, 2024
With balmy spring temperatures around the corner, it’s already time to start planning for spring planting. Proactively preparing your equipment is the best method to prevent unnecessary repairs and downtime during the busiest time of the year. Before you head out to the fields, get your equipment ready for action by taking a minute to review the preventive maintenance guide
Mar 12, 2024
As we warm up, the time to start evaluating our wheat stands is quickly approaching us.  Winter wheat will only tiller for a short time after it breaks dormancy in early spring so evaluating where you are for stand density can be very helpful when determining your timing & rate for your first nitrogen application. In most areas, we had a favorable fall for getting wheat planted timely so I would expect it did most of its tillering in the fall but that should be confirmed with some scouting.
Dec 18, 2023
As 2023 comes to an end, I can't help but reflect on the roller coaster growing season we had this year. Planting conditions were as good as ever before across all of Wisconsin, which led to the fastest planting season ever. Then we all just struggled to catch rains. Most of us picked up some timely rains to limp the crop through until the faucet was somewhat turned back on in late July. The late rains allowed most areas to produce a top 5 crop, and in some areas even better. Who would have thought it was possible with ½ the rain of a typical growing season?

Related Topics