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High Yields Help No-Tillers Stay in the Black

Even as grain prices continued their slide, 8 in 10 no-tillers had a profitable 2014, and most plan to keep investing.

Even though commodity prices have fallen from historic highs, it hasn’t stopped U.S. no-tillers from innovating and staying profitable.

Some 81% of no-tillers participating in No-Till Farmer’s exclusive yearly operational survey told us they had a profitable year in 2014, while 11% had a loss and 8% said net income was flat.

Data indicates that as no-tillers worked hard to stay in the black, more tried their hand at cover crops and were aggressive with their fertility programs. They also maintained healthy investments in machinery and seed technology — albeit at reduced rates compared to previous years.

Yields for no-tilled corn reached an average of 169 bushels an acre last year among participating no-tillers, the highest on record since No-Till Farmer debuted its No-Till Operational Benchmark Study in 2009.

No-tillers spent an average of $392.41 per acre on inputs in 2014 — a 12.9% increase over the $347.69 spent last year. (See Table 1.) But the average net profit per farm in 2014 was still a healthy $73,011, which shows no-tillers are continuing to reap the benefits of their investments.

(Results from Table 1 came from the following question: “How much do you estimate your entire farming operation spent in 2014?”)

“The mood of farmers prior to harvest was somewhat grim, as they watched grain prices fall through the summer and farm-show period,” No-Till Farmer editor Frank Lessiter reports. “However, the majority of farmers saw excellent yields and their mood seems to have improved considerably after taking a more objective…

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John-dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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