As planting season begins--and USDA releases its Prospective Plantings report on Thursday--everyone seems to have a different opinion about what USDA will say and farmers will do.
“On the acreage side, there are a variety of opinions this year," says Chip Nellinger of Blue Reef Agri-Marketing, who says the numbers could hold some surprises this week.
For growers, crop prices and input costs are the defining factors in their planting decisions. When the price of corn goes up, so do the input costs, according to Illinois farmer Steve Messen. However, "when prices drop in half, those input costs don't drop in half," he adds.
Indiana farmer John Cheesewright agrees. “Fertilizer and anhydrous are all going up," he says. "We just have to watch our p’s and q’s this time."
Still, many farmers say they will stick with their traditional rotation this year. “We’re going to be the same we’ve always been," says Messen, who follows a 50-50 corn/soybean rotation on his operation. "I don’t see that changing much."
The same goes for Indiana farmer Scott Szczypiorski. “We try to do what’s best for the ground," Szczypiorski says. "We feel a 50-50 rotation in our area is best."
Others are shifting to soybeans. “I’m going to cut back on corn a little bit," says Kentucky farmer Bruce Hays, who thinks he'll have a crop mix of 35% corn, 65% soybeans this year.
But many growers say corn remains the most financially feasible crop for them, even at current prices. “We did not grow any corn prior to 2011," says North Dakota farmer Curtis Christenson."With the advent of new hybrids, it’s made it a viable crop."
"We're going to be down in wheat acres and up in corn acres," said Yaggie.
Farmers we've talked to say with all prices lower, agronomics are back driving the planter, making the trend in 2016 doing what's best for the farm.
Watch the AgDay story here:
What do you expect to plant this year? Let us know in the comments.