While no-tillers continue to enjoy some of the highest grain prices in recent history, it’s clear that they need those prices to stay high, judging by their 2011 expense sheet.
A bullish USDA report at the end of March sent July corn prices to $6.43 per bushel and soybeans to $14.08, certainly a reason for farmers to pick up some optimism for the coming crop production season. But while soybean prices are moving back upward in the range of all-time highs, corn prices are down about 17% from last year’s summertime highs.
According to our 4th annual No-Till Practices survey conducted every February, the cost of doing business took a dramatic rise in 2011. Expenditures took a staggering 22% increase overall, some 520 No-Till Farmer readers told us through a 4-page, 65-question survey.
The average size of a No-Till Farmer reader’s farm was 1,253 acres, down just 11 acres on average than a year ago. However, no-tillers told us that they spent on average $473,241 on their farm, for an average of $377.69 per acre. In 2010, those numbers were $388,464 and $307.32, respectively.
That increase also reversed a trend of no-tillers’ expenses falling since the expensive 2008 production season, when farmers paid out $427,407 for inputs, led by staggering fertilizer and diesel fuel prices.
How much more did no-tillers tell us they paid out in inputs, on average, last year?
• Fertilizer — 47%
• Labor — 46%
• Fuel — 35%
• Lime/soil conditioners — 28%