An Economic Analysis of Grazing, Haying and Cropping Marginal Highly Erodible Crop Land in Southcentral North Dakota


Annual Crop Farming

The annual crop is grown on 80 acres on section 22 of the Research Center. This area is somewhat remote from the rest of the farmland which makes it easier to keep track of farming operations. It is also in an area that is classified highly erodible marginal cropland due to its rough topography and sandy, gravely soils. Experience has shown us that on light soils the earlier a crop can mature the more likely it will be to produce an adequate yield. The best yield ever obtained on this field was a crop of sweetclover. It was chopped for haylage in late June 1990. With this in mind this field was seeded to winter wheat in the fall of 1999. Table 1 shows the costs for raising and harvesting the winter wheat. The largest cost was the land cost. This figure comes from data compiled by the NDSU Extension Service. Throughout this article these costs will be used. Since this study is conducted on the eastern edge of Kidder County and the western edge of Stutsman County the two rental rates are averaged for both cropland and pastureland. The next most costly item for the winter wheat is the fertilizer and its application. One hundred and five pounds of 10-50-0/acre was used plus an application cost totaling $13.29/acre. Total costs for raising the winter wheat was $91.00/acre.

Table 1. Costs/Acre for Small Grain and Annual Forage Crops


 

Average
1992-1998

Barley
1999

Winter Wheat
2000

9-YR.
Average


Seed

$5.11

$3.58

$7.50

$5.20

Fertilizer/Application

$7.83

$6.77

$13.29

$8.32

Herbicide

$11.79

$13.18

$3.19

$10.99

Herbicide Application

$2.85

$3.61

$3.61

$3.02

Deep Chisel

$4.54

$5.58

$5.58

$4.77

Field Cultivation

$3.58

$0.00

$0.00

$2.79

Seeding

$5.56

$8.93

$8.93

$6.31

Swathing

$4.43

$5.62

$5.04

$4.63

Mowing

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Land Costs

$26.94

$27.35

$27.30

$27.02

Piling & Packing/Stacking

$0.87

$0.00

$0.00

$0.68

Harvesting/Baling

$12.78

$15.45

$13.82

$13.20

Hauling

$3.32

$3.03

$2.74

$3.22

Rock Picking

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Total Small Grain Costs

$89.60

$93.10

$91.00

$90.14


Table 2 shows the returns for the annual cropping enterprise. The yield of the winter wheat was 27.4 bu/acre and the value on the date of harvest was $2.07/bu. The deficiency loan payment of $2.69/bu for Stutsman County and $2.65/bu for Kidder County gives an average of $2.67/bu or a difference of $0.60/bu for a gross return per acre of $73.21. When the cost of production is subtracted the winter wheat lost $17.79/acre. Winter wheat would have to bring $3.32/bu for the enterprise to break even.

Table 2. Returns/Acre for Small Grain and Annual Forage Crops
Average
1992-98
1999 2000 9-Year
Average

Crop

Barley
Grain (bu)
Winter Wheat
(bu)


--
Acres 80 80 80 80
Yield-bu. or Tons/A -- 30.30 27.42 --
Price/bu. or /Ton -- $1.25 $2.07 --
Deficiency Payment $0.09 $0.00 $0.60 $0.14
Gross Return/A $70.79 $37.88 $73.21 $67.40
Total Cost/A $89.60 $93.10 $91.00 $90.14
Returns Small Grain -$18.80 -$55.23 -$17.79 -$22.74

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