How could changes in fertilizer and fuel costs affect your operation in 2015? What will happen if you eliminate or add a trip through the field or change a practice?
The UNL Crop Production Budgets released this week by Nebraska Extension offer the chance to examine and compare crop production costs for 14 crops and 69 systems. Developed by a team of ag economics, crop production, and pest management specialists, the budgets provide a framework for decision-making. They are provided in both PDF and Excel formats.
Crop budgets are included for: alfalfa, corn, cover crops, dry beans, field peas, grain sorghum, grass, grass hay, millet, oats, pasture, sorghum-sudan, soybeans, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat. New budgets in 2015 include:
- Direct harvested dry beans
- Conventional cover crops
- No-till cover crops
No two farmers will manage their farms the same way and no two farms will have the same production costs. These cost-only budgets are representative of typical systems, said Roger Wilson, Nebraska extension farm management/enterprise budget analyst and co-editor of the 2015 Crop Budgets.
“The Excel version of each budget allows you to input numbers specific to your operation to better approximate your costs.” They also allow for testing alternative practices that would affect total production costs. Budgets for 2014 are also available for reference.
In reviewing this year’s budgets, Wilson said that no one cost category was significantly up or significantly down, although there were shifts in individual cost categories.
Fuel costs were dropped from the 2014 budget rate of $3.50 per gallon to $3.25. “Now, that looks a little high,” Wilson said, noting that costs for commodities like fuel and fertilizer can vary significantly and users may want to make adjustments that reflect their individual costs.
Growers also may want to change yield. Changing yield for corn will change costs for seed, fertilizer, drying and transportation. Changing yield for other crops will only affect transportation costs.
“Two other items really affected these budgets: the price of machinery and the price of land,” Wilson said. “The authors use an average machine age of 5 years for many implements, 10 years for irrigation equipment to do their calculations. If you assume the machine is newer (for example, five years old), it has more depreciation and fewer repairs than one that’s 15 years old.” With the Excel option, growers can input numbers representative of the equipment on their farm.
Some of what you’ll find …Budget Co-Editor Roger Wilson
No-till Corn-Soybeans. The cost per bushel for irrigated corn in rotation with soybeans in a no-till system is $4.15 per bushel. This cost includes opportunity and depreciation costs in addition to the cost of purchased inputs. The per bushel cost considering only cash costs is $2.38 per bushel. This compares to $3.56 per bushel total and $2.17 per bushel cash cost to produce no-till dryland corn.
Dry land soybeans are also cheaper to produce than irrigated soybeans. The total cost per bushel for irrigated, no-till soybeans is $11.14 per bushel compared to $8.63 for dryland. The cash costs are $5.12 for irrigated soybeans compared to $4.18 for dryland.
Wheat. Stubble mulch wheat is an interesting budget for comparison in that the 2015 budgets show the cost of machinery is over three dollars per acre less than the 2014 budgets. Each year machinery replacement prices are obtained and they were higher overall this year than last. However, changes in field efficiencies are also part of the budgets and apparently the higher efficiencies more than offset the increased prices. Even with the lower machinery costs used the total costs for producing wheat increased from $6.01 per bushel to $6.23 per bushel and the cash costs increased from $3.62 per bushel to $3.09 per bushel.
Other Editors of UNL Crop Production Budgets include: Robert Klein, extension western Nebraska crops specialist, and Jessica Johnson, agricultural economics extension educator. Contributors in their specialty areas were Robert Wright, extension entomologist; Tamra Jackson, Loren Giesler, and Stephen Wegulo, extension plant pathologists; Paul Jasa, extension engineer; Robert Wilson, weed management specialist; Gary Hergert, soil and nutrition management specialist; and James Schild, extension educator in Scotts Bluff and Morrill counties.