NDSU Extension - Burke County


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Which Crop Should I Plant?

County Agent News
Dan Folske
November 18, 2019 

Which Crop Should I Plant? 

Comparing yields, market prices and input costs to analyze potential returns can be easier with  “Crop Compare” a spreadsheet developed by NDSU Extension Farm Management Specialists. 

Using crop compare allows you to select one crop, enter expected an expected market price , yield, and input costs and easily compare other crops for returns over variable costs. The tool can be downloaded from the NDSU Extension Farm Management website (https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/farmmanagement/tools )with the most recent (currently 2019) crop budget information preloaded. As with any budget spreadsheet, entering your own costs and yield information will increase the relevance and accuracy of the tool. 

The spreadsheet allows you to easily compare crop returns over variable costs with changes in yields, market prices or input costs. If you select spring wheat as the reference crop the tool will calculate the market price you need to get from each of the other crops in the tool to match the return for springwheat. If you change the market price, yield, or input costs of spring wheat, the tool recalculates what the market price would need to be for each of the comparison crops. You can also change the expected yields and costs of any of the comparison crops and the tool will recalculate the relative price you would need to receive for that crop to make it even with the reference crop. 

Example: You select spring wheat as the reference crop with a futures price of $6.10 snd a local basis of -55 cents for an expected cash price of $5.55 per bu. , a yield of 40 bu/acre and variable costs of $140 /acre.. The tool calculates that you would need 29 bu of soybeans at $7.00 to equal the same return over variable costs. Or you could change the 29 bu average soybean yield to 35 and it would show that you would only need to get $6.28 /bu for your beans to equal 40 bu spring wheat at $5.55. Conversely you could change your expected spring wheat yield to50 bu and it would calculate that you need $9.49/bu for 29 bu soybeans to be even, or $7.86/bu for 35 bu soybeans. 

The tool considers variable costs only. It assumes that land rent of machinery costs other than repairs will not change from crop to crop. It also cannot take into account the value of  rotations to avoid or reduce crop diseases or use different herbicides to prevent weed resistance.





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