The outlook for grain farmers has changed significantly in recent months. Purdue ag economist Chris Hurt says new crop prices for both corn and soybeans have moved closer to the cost of production. “I think it’s an overall improvement from where we were, but we were at pretty low levels,” he says. “I think if we compare that to 2013 – we’re certainly looking for tighter margins, reduced incomes, which will likely pull the total US farm income down somewhat.”
Hurt tells Brownfield there is not a lot farmers can do at this point to reduce their costs to help their bottom line, but there are some changes that can be made. “Maybe some of the applications we have looked at in the past, where producers were trying to protect the bushels that are out there from any kind of pests will be evaluated a little closer this spring and summer,” he says.
With the high prices in recent years, he says producers were more inclined to spend those extra dollars on inputs to increase yield potential.
But, with lower prices and tighter margins, Hurt anticipates farmers will evaluate those expenditures more closely.