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Operating Cost Estimates Climb for Crops

Rice and cotton remain most expensive per acre, oats cheapest.

The USDA Economic Research Service has released its Cost-of-Production Forecasts for major crops, predicting that cost of production per acre will continue to rise across the board in 2007 and 2008.

Rice and cotton had the highest operating costs per planted acre of major crops, at $400.38 and $362.18, respectively. ERS estimates the average acre of rice will have an operating cost of $427.01 by 2008, with $390.97 for cotton.

Oats came in at the other end of the spectrum, with 2006 operating costs of $65.82 per acre, rising to $70.92 by 2008.

Corn cost an estimated $208.76 per acre for operation, with that figure estimated at $224.92 for 2008. With the addition of allocated overhead costs, corn would reach $461.67 per acre in 2008, cotton would top $600 an acre, and rice nearly reaches $800.

Land costs were highest for corn and soybeans, in the $90-100 per acre range.

For the complete forecast and more ERS information, visit

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