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Corn+Soybean Digest

Predicting on-farm costs

Brian Watkins farms near Toledo, Ohio. For a long time, he’s been working on a computer model to predict costs on his 7,000-acre corn and soybean farm. He came up with Cropzilla. Using a $3.50 corn price, the numbers have absolutely influenced the decisions he’s made on his Ohio farm, he says.

“In terms of capital spending and as we evaluate improvements in inputs, we have to refigure based on a different revenue number, and we’re definitely doing that,” says Watkins.

Watkins uses the model to predict tillage, fuel, labor and capital costs on his farm. He ran numbers for no-till vs. strip-till vs. conventional till, and found a $100/acre difference in the practices. “On a large farm, that’s a big difference,” he says.

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