Early Signs of Farm Fixed Expenses Falling

4618668856_9ddf2b5be0_m by David A. Widmar

As we’ve pointed out in previous posts (most notably here), a return to profitability for producers in light of lower commodity prices will require a combination of three scenarios: 1) variable costs moderate through eventual reduction in farmer demand for inputs 2) fixed costs decline through reduction in fixed asset demand and values, and/or 3) output prices may improve. About a year ago we noted that fixed expenses were still increasing, but at much slower rate. This week we take an updated look at fixed expenses to evaluate if producers have adjusted their cost structure lower. Continue reading

A Look at Cutting Fertilizer Rates

Fert Spreader

by David A. Widmar

For most producers, lower input prices are the easiest way to reduce their cost of production. In past posts we’ve evaluated seed prices and fertilizer prices. While recent data indicates lower fertilizer prices are possible in 2016, farmers will likely place pressure on their retail partners to get fertilizer expense even lower.

Another option for producers to lower their fertilizer expense is by reducing application rates, especially for soils with banked phosphorous and potassium. This week’s post takes a looks at the data to see if this strategy has been used in the past. Specifically, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium application rates for corn have been evaluated.

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Farmland Values and Cash Rents: Declining Profits Point to Further Reductions

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by Brent Gloy

As we discussed in these May posts (1, 2) most indications are that prices for U.S. row crop farmland are now softening, bringing an end to a tremendous run of increases for farmland values. We thought it would be useful to take a look at how far farmland values have come and some different measures of farmland valuation in order to gain  insights into where prices might be headed. Continue reading