Farm Progress

With low grain prices and high land prices, now might be the time to diversify your farm with soy-fed livestock.

Sometimes opportunity looks you right in the face. With low grain prices and high land prices, now might be the time to diversify your farm with soy-fed livestock. Adding soy-fed livestock to your crop farm can spread your risk, improve soil health and help bring family members back to the farm.

With a bumper-crop year, adding soy-fed livestock can provide another source of income to offset unexpected grain prices and spread your risk. Working with integrators can further offset risks as they typically own the animals and pay you a regular, predetermined fee to rent your confinement space. This allows you to own a very valuable farm asset, but perhaps the best part is the reduced input costs as you can utilize the manure for fertilization.

Manure adds organic matter back into your soil, making it stronger and healthier for the next growing season and beyond. Manure can also offset some commercial fertilizer costs. “If you are growing corn-on-corn after soybean rotation, manure could save you close to $91 - $112 per acre,” says John Hagenbuch, a grain and livestock farmer from Utica, Ill.

Besides diversifying risk and lowering fertilizer costs, adding soy-fed livestock can also give you the opportunity to expand your operation and have the younger generation come home to farm. With record high land prices, it is hard to get started farming from scratch. With livestock, the additional income and additional labor required can create an opportunity for a son or daughter to come home.

If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of livestock production, there are a variety of resources available. At ilsoy.org/animalag, you can find links to planning materials and other guides. You can also visit the Illinois Livestock Development Group at illinoislivestock.org for additional resources on getting started.

 

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