Can corn be profitable in 2015?

Some ag economists have predicted that it will be hard to make a profit growing corn in 2015. With the current supplies, demand and predicted prices, incomes are going to be under a lot of pressure. What can you do to make a profit on growing corn this year? It is not going to be easy but there are things, which are in your control. Many things are beyond our control but we can change certain items that can affect the bottom line.

• Reduce fertilizer costs

Many farmers have been over-fertilizing during the last few years to maximize their yield potential. This is the year to fertilize for maintenance rather than fertility build-up. Your soil tests should help in determining what you need. Fertilizer and seed can cost 40 to 50% of non-land costs for corn.

• Reduce seed costs

University tests and other independent company tests have proven that more expensive brands of seeds are no better in performance than the seeds that provide a better value and may actually be better matched to your soils because of localized testing. It may not be too late to switch brands and save on seed cost. You can save $30 to 50 per acre on seed cost by prudent seed purchase. You don’t have to buy the bottom-priced seed.

• Bells and whistles of seed

Do you really need certain traits for your area? If rootworms are not a problem in your area, do you need to pay for that trait? Do you need refuge in the bag?

• Defer or reduce capital expenditures this year.

According to some estimates, machinery purchases have exceeded $100 per acre during the last few years.

• Talk to your landlord about cash rent

This may be a more difficult subject to broach with your landlord but I am sure most of them are reasonable and would understand that you cannot afford to farm a piece of ground that you lose money on.

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