County Ag News

Growing bushels or saving bucks

With significantly lower grain prices farmers will be asking themselves if they should strive for top production on their farms or if they should try to cut costs by reducing inputs. As farmers consider the impact of the most yield limiting factors, it isn’t always about inputs and cutting costs. 

The most important management decision is hybrid selection. The choice of hybrid increasingly dictates management decisions farmers make during a growing season. After the hybrid is selected the main management objective is to reduce stress on corn plants during the growing season.

When corn prices are low farmers must: 1) know their cost of production for corn, 2) concentrate on the basics, and 3) question every input in their production practices. From 1987 to 2011 seed cost has increased 4 to 5 times. Fertilizer inputs have increased 2 to 3 times. Chemical and equipment costs have remained relatively flat. The cost of land has increased dramatically in the last five years. The cost of production for corn in Wisconsin is now around $450 to $700 per acre.

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