What Input Costs Will Farmers Cut First in 2016?

January 7, 2016 01:48 PM

Tight margins for 2016 are pushing farmers to sharpen their pencils and punch their budgets into shape.

“Bankers are going to be looking very closely at [debt to asset] ratios,” says Matt Bennett of Bennett Consulting. “We’re going to have to be better businessmen than we’ve been.”

But where will they cut? More than 1,500 farmers told Farm Journal Media in a recent Pulse poll what input they planned to cut expenses for first in 2016. The No. 1 response – farmers plan to trim machinery costs first, with 38% preferring that option. Another 30% say every input category will be considered for the chopping block.

The other responses included:

  • None – 15%
  • Fertilizer – 9%
  • Seed – 6%
  • Crop chemicals – 2%


Bennett encourages younger producers to seek wise council from older generations for guidance on surviving tough times like the 1970s and 1980s.

“We need to understand what it’s going to take to be able to get through what will probably be the toughest time in a lot of our careers,” he says.

Want to be a part of the heartbeat of the Farm Journal Pulse national producer panel that speaks up and speaks out? Participating is as easy as answering two quick poll questions per month via text message from your mobile phone.

Visit www.agweb.com/farmjournal/farm-journal-pulse/ for details.

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Spell Check

Chappell, NE
1/7/2016 10:47 PM

  Not quite so simple to cut planted acreage in Nebraska where rural property taxes are as high as New York and California urban areas.

Rudy Hiebert
Abbotsford, BC Canada, WA
1/7/2016 06:08 PM

  Machinery and equipment maintenance is an expense that needs evaluating, ie. using synthetics instead of petroleum based oils, will reduce operation and maintenance in good running vehicles and equipment of all types and sizes. An example is oil analysis for large heavy duty equipment like a tractor or combine will reveal the need for oil change interval and expose any internal or fuel issues.

Gary Giesen
Godley, TX
1/8/2016 05:22 AM

  Use a good agronomist for every step. Don't just spray to be spraying ,check your fields,go look and see if there's enough pressure from bugs or fungus. Check your seed and see does this really apply to my area. We are going to have to micromanage ourself.


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