Dakota Farmer

NDSU Extension Service’s annual crop budgets project small profits or losses for many crops.

January 8, 2019

3 Min Read
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PROFIT OUTLOOK: The NDSU Extension Service projects only slim profits for some crops in 2019. Natee Meepian/Getty Images

There isn’t much good news in North Dakota State University Extension Service’s annual crop budgets.

Corn doesn’t show a positive return in any regions of the state.

There are some positive returns to labor and management for wheat and soybeans in most regions, but the returns are low.

Projected income is down for most minor market or specialty crops, too.

Projections by crop
Wheat. Generally, hard red spring wheat projects a return between $5 and $10 per acre in most regions, reports Any Swenson, NDSU Extension farm management specialist.

The strongest return, $22 per acre, is projected in the northeastern region, but losses of $5 to $10 per acre are projected in the northwestern, south-central and southern Red River Valley regions.

Soybeans. “Surprisingly, soybeans project positive returns to labor and management in all but one region, despite lower soybean prices compared to last year’s budgets,” Swenson says. “There is a projected loss of $10 per acre in the northeastern region, but for the rest of the state, returns range from $1 an acre in the southern Red River Valley to $33 per acre in the north-central region.”

Corn. A loss of $5 to $10 per acre for corn is projected for the western and southeastern regions. Losses between $20 and $40 per acre are projected in the other regions.

Minor market crops
Dry beans, malting barley, lentils and chickpeas normally show relatively strong returns, but weak prices for these commodities have caused 2019 profit projections to be much lower, Swenson says.

Dry beans project a positive return to labor and management of $31 per acre in the north-central region and returns of $7 for the south-central and southeastern regions. All other regions project losses ranging from $1 to $10 per acre.

Malting barley projects losses by region between $20 and $90 per acre. Projected losses for growing lentils range from $35 to $70 per acre and about $10 per acre for large chickpeas.

Oil sunflowers project a slight profit in the southwestern region, breakeven in the south-central region, losses of about $5 to $10 per acre in the northwest, north-central and east-central regions and larger losses elsewhere.

Confection sunflowers’ projected returns vary greatly, from $55 per acre in the south-central region to a loss of $77 per acre in the northern Red River Valley.

Canola projects negative returns ranging from near breakeven in the north-central and southwestern regions to losses of nearly $70 per acre in the southeastern region.

Flax shows positive returns of $4 and $18 per acre in the northwestern and southwestern regions, respectively, but negative returns elsewhere.

Field peas only projected a return to labor and management of $13 in the north-central region and losses ranging for $20 to $50 per acre in other regions.

Durum wheat projected a return to labor and management of about $10 to $15 per acre in the east-central, southwestern and south-central regions. Losses between $6 and $18 per acre were projected for the north-central, northwestern and southeastern regions.

Costs up
For most crops, the projected total costs per acre were slightly higher than last year’s projections. Fertilizer, interest expense and expenditures for chemicals were higher. Expenditures for seed were generally similar with last year. Crop land rents for most regions declined, and projected crop insurance expenditures were generally lower compared to last year.

The NDSU budgets are guides for large multicounty regions. Returns and costs can vary considerably between producers within a region. Also, the budgets estimate returns to labor and management with no consideration of price and yield variability or risk.

A perfect “apples-to-apples” comparison of crops is not achieved because different levels of labor, management and risk exist, Swenson says.

The budgets are available online.

Source: NDSU Extension Service

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