Note: You can listen to my conversation with Jenny Rees by clicking on the audio link above.
During Husker Harvest Days Sept. 12-14, we recorded a live podcast interview with a new expert each day of the show. For day No. 3, we visited with Nebraska Extension educator Jenny Rees on some of the challenges producers faced this growing season, as well as different strategies for improving profitability.
This includes soybean planting populations – which UNL On-Farm Research Network data continually shows growers can reduce to 100,000 to 120,000 without taking a yield hit.
Over the last few years, many growers in eastern Nebraska have cut their soybean populations back. However, some growers have also started thinking outside the box.
"We'd like to also have you think about maybe adding another crop in your rotation. If you have cattle, maybe you're looking to adding annual forage in your rotation. But if you're stuck in corn and soybeans, some other farmers are thinking outside the box," says Rees. "Maybe what would it take to reduce my input costs a little bit? If I reduce my population on a really good flex hybrid, maybe I can still get a good yield and get a breakeven at a lower input cost — maybe at $3.20 to $3.30 irrigation cost per acre versus $4 or above."
"With the challenges we're facing right now in the farming economy, these are things every grower really needs to understand: What are your costs of production per acre?" Rees adds. "Pencil these things out. Do you need to really go for maximum yield all the time, or are there ways to still be profitable and think outside the box a little bit?"
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