No-Tillers Slash Spending to Stay in the Black

Readers once again stayed under budget to turn a profit, and plan to continue making cuts for the upcoming growing season.

While crop prices remained unfavorable, more No-Till Farmer readers were profitable in 2016 than 2015 — but they had to stay under budget to make it happen.

In 2016, nearly 70% of the 643 farmers who participated in the 9th annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study had a profitable season, slightly up from 2015’s 67%, but still 9 percentage points less than the 81% seen in 2014.

Those who experienced a net loss remained at 16%, while 14% had a flat income, down 3 percentage points from 17% in 2015.

The average net profit per farm was also up last year at $46,291 — a 7% increase over the $43,289 average in 2015. But average total expenses were also drastically less than they were the previous year. No-tillers spent an average $368,285 in 2016, just over $84,500 less than what they spent in 2015, and stayed under their estimated budget of $423,757 by $55,472, or 13%.

Growing slightly higher yields on fewer expenses may have helped. No-till corn yields averaged 171 bushels per acre last year compared to 168 bushels 2 years ago, while no-till soybeans hit another average high of 57.5 — a 4.5-bushel increase over 2015.

No-Till Farmer editor Frank Lessiter says this indicates no-tillers are better able to handle poor economic times.


“With the ability to raise higher yields and reduce expenses, no-tillers are in a much better position than other growers when it comes to dealing with continued low grain prices this year,” he says.

The data…

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Laura allen

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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