This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist with Nebraska Extension. Finding profit in 2016 is something we all know will be a struggle. The first step is to develop an accrual balance. You should be able to answer how many bushels do I need to cover my cost of production for each crop on every farm at forecasted commodity prices. With precision Ag technology we can even identify marginal acres within our fields that aren’t profitable most years. Seed, fertilizer, and chemical usually make up 30-40% of your production cost. We are going to focus on seed cost today. We will discuss these other input costs in coming weeks.
How much yield difference is there between corn hybrids and soybean varieties? On-average, regional third-party trials have shown a 15 bu/ac difference in soybean variety performance and a 50 bu/acre difference in corn hybrid performance. At current commodity prices, that is $125 and $175/acre difference. The average price per unit can vary $5 between technology-traited soybeans and is more variable for corn hybrids, sometimes ranging from $10 to $60 unit difference. Therefore, assessing seed cost versus yield performance in soybeans is less critical than it is in corn on average.
Points to focus on:
- Look for proven yield records across locations and years for your varieties and hybrids using multiple sources including third-party trials, company trials, and on-farm results
- Select a range of maturities to mitigate short duration weather extremes
- Match up agronomic and technology traits with your management practices and fields
- Ask your seed representative or district sales manager to run comparison analysis between hybrids and varieties that you are considering within their company to help that selection.
Great sources for local and regional third party-trials for the northeast Nebraska and surrounding areas include First Trials, Iowa State University, South Dakota State University and UNL. Links to these trial results can be found at our locally-focused website at croptechcafe.org. For more information about seed cost considerations, contact me at 727-2775 or again visit our locally-focused website at croptechcafe.org. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line. This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist for Nebraska Extension on KTIC radio.
Third-party soybean variety and corn hybrid performance trials:
Farmers’ Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) Trials
Iowa Crop Performance Tests
South Dakota State University Extension Crop Performance Testing
UNL Crop Variety and Hybrid Testing Program