Looking at the upcoming crop season, challenges for farmers abound across the U.S., according to farmer reports to AgWeb's Crop Comments. Even though it looks like it could be a rough year, many farmers are planning their attack to meet the potential challenges head-on.
"There appears to be some difficult decisions to make this year,” says a farmer from Keokuk County, Iowa. "Last year was pretty good for us, but input costs are the hurdle this year.”
This farmer from Iowa says he's not prepaying anything and applied very little fertilizer and nitrogen this fall. "I refuse to be held hostage by the fertilizer industry.”
Input costs are a serious matter for many farmers this season. A farmer from Waupaca, Wis. says he's hoping to reduce his costs by adjusting his crop genetics. "We are going to try and plant cheaper seed and plant crops that don't require fertilizer or spray,” the farmer says. "I'm going to try and plant corn with no fertilizer as well.”
A farmer from Fulton and Miami counties in Indiana says he's reducing his input costs by contracting manure with a local hog producer.
"We have our own equipment from our old farrow-to-finish operation,” says the Indiana farmer. "We get the product for hauling. I figure we will have about $5-$6/1000 gal. by doing it ourselves, by the time we get it on the land.
Other farmers are going at the fertilizer issue from a different way, from a minimalist perspective. "I haven't put any fertilizer on any of my ground which was the smartest thing I have done in 2008,” says a St. Clair County, Ill. farmer.
For others, the uncertainty of the next few months is the biggest challenge of all. "Like many comments here, I'm beyond knowing how far to trust this farming game at this moment,” says a farmer from Graham County, Kan.
A farmer from Stearns County, Minn. expresses similar distrust. "I wander if a guy should even plant this next crop,” the farmer says. "The way it looks right now, it's getting tougher for young ones to get financing. Something better change or pretty soon there won't be any young guys left.”
Others continue to hope for good growing conditions to insure a bountiful crop. "Give us decent rain in July and August, and some windows to do field work in the spring and fall and we can grow it,” says the farmer from Fulton and Miami counties in Indiana.