As farmers roll toward the end of this planting season, many challenges lay ahead.
Most farmers along our I-80 Planting Tour admit 2015 may be an adjustment.
“It’s a big new world than two years ago,” said Rochester, Indiana farmer, George Krom III.
“Getting below that $4 range has really impacted the guys mentality,” said Giltner, Nebraska producer, Brandon Hunnicutt.
That’s mentality and checkbook.
“We’ve realized at the prices we’re at now, we’re right at break-evens. It doesn’t matter where you’re at,” said Hunnicutt.
“With corn sub-four dollars, we’re below our cost of production,” said De Witt, Iowa farmer, Bob Bowman.
Most of the farmers along our tour say prices may change but rotations won’t.
“We try to stay with that and roll with the prices as they come at us and stick it out for the long-haul. We don’t try to outguess the market with what we’re going to plant,” said Odebolt, Iowa producer, Matt Raasch.
Only a handful have switched.
“When we’re planting so much corn on corn, beans usually produces better after continuous corn crop. In our operation, we’re going to plant a few more acres of beans,” said Wills.
Most are staying true to their traits, but a couple are trying something new.
“I did cut back on traits on corn to cheapen up my seed corn price. That is about the only place I could find wiggle room,” said Eldridge, Iowa producer, Jerry Mohr.
One farmer is even switching a few acres to conventional corn. A local elevator is offering a premium for non-GMO.
“So we’re going to haul that over and get a premium for that. It’s 10 cents over December futures. It’s not a big thing but everything helps this year,” said Jim Robbins.
Others aren’t considering it.
“We’re holding things similar as far as fertility and practices that impact the crop, we’re not cutting back. At lower prices your yield is even more essential,” said Bowman.
What did vary are inputs like nutrients and fungicides.
“We did cut back on fertilizer that we put on corn and soybeans. The last few years we sprayed fungicides on everything because we’ve needed it. We’re going to look closer at it and look at variety more-so,” said Robbins.
The farmers are all agreeing on one thing. New machinery buys are on hold.
“The last five years when prices were so good, we updated a lot of our machinery,” said Roseland, Nebraska farmer, Alan Bonifas.
“We’re fixing up the equipment we have and keeping things in good repair so we can roll for another year or two with equipment we do have,” said Raasch.
Despite the adjustments these farmers say 2015 brings, the best perspective may just come from a first year farmer.
“We’re still blessed to be in a good position where as long as things go well and the weather cooperates, we will still work out ok this year,” said Waterville, Ohio producer, Mike Hannewald.