Acreage Indecision: You Are Not Alone

April 6, 2009 07:00 PM
 

Sara Muri, AgWeb Business & Crops Online Editor
 
Have you 100% determined your crop mix? If you haven't you are not alone. In a recent survey during Top Producer's March 25 Pre-Planting Webinar, participants where asked if they were decided on their planting intentions for this year. Around 50% said they hadn't made their final decision. (More results from the survey below.)
Are you 100% decided on
your planting intentions
for this year?


(Asked during Top Producer's
March 25 Pre-Planting Webinar)
 
Bruce Erickson, director of Cropping Systems Management at Purdue University, believes more farmers than not have probably nailed down their planting mix, but some may still have acres that could go either way.
 
"Ultimately farmers don't have to commit until they go to the field,” he says.
 
Alan Brugler, president of Brugler Marketing & Management, says this indecision among farmers is pretty normal.
 
Brugler identifies a few reasons why farmers haven't decided:
  • Fewer acres of fall-applied fertilizer. Due to weather and high fertilizer prices in the last few months, many farmers didn't apply fertilizer last fall. If they had, they would be locked into corn, Brugler says.

     
  • Rotation issues. Brugler says farmers already switched quite a bit of ground to beans last year, so they really don't want to do more. "However,” he says, "for those farmers with lower average corn yields, the math suggested additional soybeans.” Thus, Brugler says, farmers are waiting to see if the corn market will make itself attractive.

     
  • Planting weather. Historically, farmers have switched as much as 3 million acres from corn to beans between the March Planting Intentions report and final acreage, Brugler says. "A good portion of this is due to weather that is either so good that they plant extra corn or so bad that it gets late and they have to go to beans,” he says.
 
Tips for the Undecided
For those who haven't nailed down their final acreage mix, Erickson says farmers need to look at three big factors: relative price, input costs and yield history.
 
  1. Determine the relative price difference between corn and soybeans.
    Erickson says the relative price varies on your geographic location. He suggests looking at a costs and return guide for each crop for your area.

     
  2. Figure out which crop will reduce your input costs.
    "Right now the difference between corn and soybean input costs are swirling around fertilizer,” Erickson says. "People are having a really hard time committing.”

     
  3. Look at your individual yield experience with each crop.
    Sometimes land and farmers are just better at growing one crop than another, Erickson says. He suggests looking at yield history and comparing it to national data to see where your competitive advantage is at.


What is the most likely outcome for your 2009 planting compared to 2008?
Acreage Decision No. of votes
More corn acres 32
Something else 30
More soybean acres 29
More corn and soybeans, Less wheat acres 4
More wheat acres, More corn acres 2
More wheat acres 1
More corn and soybeans, Less wheat acres 1
More wheat acres, Something else 1
Something else, More corn acres 1
Something else, More soybean acres 1
More soybean acres, More wheat acres 1
(Asked during Top Producer's March 25 Pre-Planting Webinar) 
 
 
For More Information
 
 
 

 
You can e-mail Sara Muri at smuri@farmjournal.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Acreage Decision No. of votes
More corn acres 32
Something else 30
More soybean acres 29
More corn and soybeans, less wheat acres 4
More wheat acres, More corn acres 2
More wheat acres 1
More corn and soybeans, less wheat acres 1
More wheat acres, Something else 1
Something else, More corn acres 1
Something else, More soybean acres 1
More soybean acres, More wheat acres 1

(Asked during Top Producer's
March 25 Pre-Planting Webinar)
 
 
Bruce Erickson, director of Cropping Systems Management at Purdue University, believes more farmers than not have probably nailed down their planting mix, but some may still have acres that could go either way.
 
"Ultimately farmers don't have to commit until they go to the field,” he says.
 
Alan Brugler, president of Brugler Marketing & Management, says this indecision among farmers is pretty normal.
 
Brugler identifies a few reasons why farmers haven't decided:
  • Fewer acres of fall-applied fertilizer. Due to weather and high fertilizer prices in the last few months, many farmers didn't apply fertilizer last fall. If they had, they would be locked into corn, Brugler says.

     
  • Rotation issues. Brugler says farmers already switched quite a bit of ground to beans last year, so they really don't want to do more. "However,” he says, "for those farmers with lower average corn yields, the math suggested additional soybeans.” Thus, Brugler says, farmers are waiting to see if the corn market will make itself attractive.

     
  • Planting weather. Historically, farmers have switched as much as 3 million acres from corn to beans between the March Planting Intentions report and final acreage, Brugler says. "A good portion of this is due to weather that is either so good that they plant extra corn or so bad that it gets late and they have to go to beans,” he says.
 
Tips for the Undecided
For those who haven't nailed down their final acreage mix, Erickson says farmers need to look at three big factors: relative price, input costs and yield history.
 
  1. Determine the relative price difference between corn and soybeans.
    Erickson says the relative price varies on your geographic location. He suggests looking at a costs and return guide for each crop for your area.

     
  2. Figure out which crop will reduce your input costs.
    "Right now the difference between corn and soybean input costs are swirling around fertilizer,” Erickson says. "People are having a really hard time committing.”

     
  3. Look at your individual yield experience with each crop.
    Sometimes land and farmers are just better at growing one crop than another, Erickson says. He suggests looking at yield history and comparing it to national data to see where your competitive advantage is at.
 
 
For More Information
 
 
 

 
You can e-mail Sara Muri at smuri@farmjournal.com.

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