Based on the USDA’s farm income and profitability projections for the year, Corn Belt farmers will need some help saving money to make ends meet.
While a marketing plan can help maximize income, it can only be maximized so far the expected range in crop prices. While thriftiness won’t make you wealthy, working both sides of the dollar can help you get through 2010.
Ohio State University ag economist Barry Ward offers the following ideas for reducing production management expenses.
- Evaluate your use of seed corn with enhanced traits. If you don’t need it to kill an insect that you don’t have, don’t pay the extra cost for the seed. Ward suggests that corn following beans may not always need Bt rootworm genetics. ($15 savings) And he says glyphosate resistant corn may not need to be planted in fields without severe weed pressure. ($11.50 savings)
- Taking advantage of rotational benefits will save on nitrogen costs from your soybean nitrogen credit. ($10 savings)
- Consider the use of generic herbicides to reduce costs. ($1.22 per acre with a conservation-tillage system)
- Consider bulk fuel purchases with a 5,000-gallon minimum. (That may save 20 cents per gallon or 97 cents per acre with a conservation-tillage system)
- Consider bulk fertilizer purchase. ($3.76 savings per acre)
- Consider anhydrous ammonia as a nitrogen source compared to 28% UAN. (Savings of $8.76 per acre if ammonia is priced at 33.5 cents and UAN is 39.5 cents on 146 pounds per acre.)
- Consider sidedressing nitrogen to eliminate the cost of N-Serve. ($7 savings per acre.)
- Consider a lightbar or guidance system investment. (Equipment can return $30 per acre above variable-rate technology, increase speed and reduce fatigue with up to 10% more acres covered. Potential income increase up to $15 per acre.)
- Use correct tire inflation on tractors and combines. (Fuel savings of up to 8% or 77 cents per acre in a conservation-tillage system.)
- Decrease tillage where appropriate. (Savings of $7 per acre based on machinery investment, fuel, lube, repairs and labor.)
- Use lower seeding rates where conditions allow. (Savings of $3.69 per acre in a Roundup Ready system.)
- Consider a Roundup Ready system to decrease herbicide expense. (Savings of $11 per acre in a no-till system realized by offsetting a higher seed cost.)
- Consider generic crop chemicals. (Savings of $2.11 per acre compared to a Roundup system on no-till.)
- Use inoculants wisely, since every dollar invested returns an average minimum of $2 per acre over time.
- Use seed treatments wisely, since every dollar investment means an average minimum return of $1.50 per acre over time.
- Consider bulk fertilizer purchase. ($1.41 savings per acre)
- Decrease tillage where appropriate. (Net savings of $3.91 per acre on no-till versus conservation tillage)
- Use correct tire inflation on tractors and combines. (Fuel savings of 56 cents per acre in a no-till system.)