Fertilizer Leads Variable Expenses Lower


by David A. Widmar

A few weeks ago we evaluated fixed expenses to see if adjustments lower had occurred. Changes have been slow, but have started to emerge. Another second component of production costs are variable expenses. These are the expenses producers typically monitor very closely; fuel, fertilizer, and seed. This week we take a look at the USDA’s cost of production data and the Purdue crop budgets to evaluate where source of lower variable expense have occurred. Continue reading

Are Lower Fertilizer Prices in the Cards for 2016?


by David A. Widmar

A few weeks ago we looked at price expectations for corn and soybean in 2016. Based on the Purdue Crop Budgets, even lower corn and soybean prices are forecasted for 2016; this is especially true for soybeans. With little chance of commodity prices improving in the foreseeable future, production cost reductions will be critical in 2016. Fertilizer is the largest corn input expense (excluding land). This week we take a look to see if lower fertilizer prices can be expected in 2016. Continue reading

Does the Natural Hedge Work?

by Brent Gloy and David Widmar


In last week’s post we used USDA yield estimates to look at how revenue expectations have changed as commodity prices deteriorated. This led us to wonder about the ‘natural hedge’ and its effectiveness; how strong the natural hedge is and how much variability is there across the country.

Economists often talk of a natural hedge occurring when low yields are offset by higher commodity prices, and high yields are offset by lower commodity prices. In theory, this condition naturally adjusts revenue as yields and prices move in opposite directions, serving as an automatic risk management tool. In this week’s post, we examine historical county-level yield and state-level market year average (MYA) prices to better understand the natural hedge.

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