Focus on Profit Per Acre

For decades, our crop production has focused on producing the highest possible yield per acre. It is good, for all involved in producing crops, to understand that we can and should raise the bar on our yield expectations.

By increasing our yields, we increase our revenue per acre. This will reduce our base production costs per bushel. However, it is very unlikely that we can continue to increase yields without judicious management of inputs. It is fascinating that the last 100 bushels of corn yield requires fewer inputs than the first 100 bushels. This means, then, that the higher we push the yield, the greater efficiency we gain per bushel. Of course, this does have limits and therefore, will need to be done incrementally to ensure each increase in crop inputs yields a profit.

Increasing inputs may not always increase yields. Look at your better producing fields and the best producing areas within those fields. You will find areas with better soils that have greater capability of producing more yields. Better soils are soils with good soil structure and water holding capacity. They are soils that will handle lengthy dry conditions and yet tolerate wet weather well. Managing these areas by increasing corn plant populations and applying a little bit more nutrients, you can increase your yields. This makes a whole lot more sense than increasing your populations and nutrients over the whole field, including those areas that do not have the capability to support higher plant populations due to the lack of soil structure and water holding capacity. These poorer areas will not have the nutrient exchange capacity to feed higher populations to full yield potential.

You lower your profit per acre when you invest in crop inputs that do not give you a monetary return on the additional expenses. But remember that, in agriculture, there are so many contributing variables that it is difficult to determine if your particular investment will always fail or if it was a rare phenomenon. I highly recommend “proving the practice” on a small percentage of your acres over a 3 year period before implementing it across all your acres.

By managing your crop inputs in greater detail, you will gain both greater efficiency and higher overall yield per acre. These two factors combine to make more profit per acre!

Lynford Kurtz – May 2018