Rising Input Costs Concerning No-Tillers

With crop input costs likely to soar again in 2009, a major worry among no-tillers is whether grain prices will continue to remain high.

Even with many new cost-cutting cropping developments, no-tillers are definitely worried about having to deal with increasing input costs in 2009.

Proof that growers will face increased input costs came earlier this summer with an announcement from Monsanto. The company’s triple-stacked corn hybrids for insect and weed control will be priced 20% higher for 2009. Company officials estimate that triple-stack hybrids were used on 15% to 20% of this year’s crop. The firm’s Roundup Ready soybeans will be 30% higher.

Fertilizer Worries

Like many farmers, Dean Fehl is concerned about increasing input costs. A long-term no-tiller and strip-tiller at La Porte City, Iowa, he’s invested extensively in GPS and auto-steer.

While he applies nearly all corn fertilizer in the fall in strip-tilled berms to save dollars and to spread out the fall and spring workload, Fehl is thinking about cutting back on fertilizer rates this fall as a means of avoiding sky-high nutrient prices.

Ken McCauley of White Cloud, Kan., sees still more emphasis being placed on overcoming yield losses. “You can’t afford to lose any yield with $7 corn because input costs will likely be even higher next year,” says the no-tiller of 3,000 acres of corn and 1,000 acres of soybeans.

McCauley says nutrient use with corn has improved in recent years as shown below. He expects to see much more efficient use of fertilizer coming in the future.

Know Your Costs

Looking at nitrogen, Marion Calmer’s on-farm research data has certainly had an impact on the amount…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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