Find Out Which No-Till Acres Are Making You Money

Using a spreadsheet can help you determine the cost of production on individual fields, ask landlords for rent adjustments and determine what your crop marketing price must be to stay profitable.

As commodity prices are falling, it’s a good time to review your cost-of-production figures. You can do this on a whole-farm basis, but it’s even more beneficial to do it on individual fields or groups of fields.

Recently, I created a spreadsheet that allows me to take my home farms and rented farms and break out my cost of production on each. 

The soil types and productivity of each of these groups of farms is different, so that’s why I’ve separated them into two different groups. 

Thus, try to organize your farms into two or three groups so you can evaluate each of them separately. 

If you have great disparity in yields, soil fertility and rental rates, you may want to break them down to the field level to really know what your cost of production and profit potential is on each farm. 

You can then take numbers from your total production, and your overall farm cashflow, and appropriate them to the correct group of fields by crop.

Developing a Spreadsheet

My spreadsheet is set up in the rows with a production area, four expense areas, an income area and a profit-and-loss area. My columns are a group of columns for each group of fields for each crop type. 

In each of these groups I have a column for total cost, cost/acre and cost/bushel so I can see the total cost, per-acre cost and per-bushel cost and income for each group of fields.

In my first rows of the spreadsheet…

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Leverich jim

Jim Leverich

No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellow for 2022, Jim Leverich is a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis. His 1,000 acre-farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his contributions while at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category) in 2006. A talented presenter and writer, Leverich was a regular guest columnist for No-Till Farmer in 2011 when it earned the Gold Medal as the nation’s top newsletter from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

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