Why 200+ Bushel Corn is Imperative
When crop production has additional challenges, the easiest response is to reduce efforts and inputs into the crop. Choosing to reduce efforts and inputs almost always lowers your yield results. Lowering your yield will raise your fixed costs per bushel. For example, the land your crop grows on has a relative fixed cost, whether you own or rent the land. When your yields go up, your land cost per bushel goes down.
When you face crop production challenges, you actually have a hidden opportunity. Evaluate every input into crop production and rate the level of return you are getting from each input. Make your evaluations carefully and honestly. You may resist accepting the true evaluation of an input because you are most comfortable with the input, although you know that every dollar spent on that particular input is bringing you far less than a dollar in return.
For every dollar you spend on inputs, you want to receive more than a dollar in return. That return is most often seen in the progressive increase in yield! For example, say corn price is $3.50 per bushel. If your crop yields 180 bushels per acre, you would generate $630.00 in revenue. If that same acre yields 220 bushels, you would generate $770.00 in revenue! That is 22% increase in revenue per acre. This increase can often be accomplished with only a small increase of the right inputs.
What are the right inputs to judiciously increase? Each farm operation is unique so input requirements vary. It could be improving weed control, or better timing and placement of nitrogen. Some of the input requirements are determined by past operational history. If soil pH and nutrient levels were not maintained previously, input requirements will increase. If soil has been regularly tested and managed, the input requirements may stay the same, but need to be reallocated for a greater return-on-investment. There are even times where there may be an over-supply of nutrients so that reducing inputs will maintain or even increase yields by appropriate optimization.
Never pursue short-term profits at the expense of long-term gains! By steady long-term management, you can make investments in your land when higher profits are available. This will help to prepare you for the leaner profit years. In the end, when the price per bushel trends down, the need for higher yields trends upward!
Lynford Kurtz – November 2017