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.

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