Possible higher production costs for farmers

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback


Coming off a shaky 2009 harvest, Region eight farmers may face higher production costs this year.

The one good thing that's happening this year so far is the weather. Many farmers are able to get a solid start on planting. But many farmers played a waiting game to get seed into the ground.

Going into the year farmers had a pretty good idea of what they would focus on. Producers were telling me they would wait till April till they knew for sure.>

And you can tell as you drive down any country highway that farmers are really putting the hammer down to get the ground ready for seed or getting the seed into the ground.

Dr. Archie Flanders an Ag Economist for the University of Arkansas says rising costs for some crops will see farmers changing rotations for a more profitable end.

"Right now in Arkansas the combination of Rice and Soybean rotation has the highest potential for profit." But he said cotton prices should be up as well. What won't really pay off is the combination of corn and cotton.

Production costs include everything from fuel and fertilizer to get the ground ready to somebody to drive the combine at harvest and everything in between.

Flanders, "In general overall prices will be up from last year. We'll see increases in diesel fuel prices and chemical prices."

Nitrogen, which is used a lot in corn should see a slight downturn Flanders says.

But farmers like any consumer are used to cost hikes that are not unusual in farming. History has shown some sharp spikes.

Flanders, "In 2007 there were sharp increases primarily due to crude oil prices and crop inputs that were related to crude oil prices.

Those spikes continued in 2008 and 9 with some moderation this year.

In spite of anticipated cost increases soil prep and planting is going on at a feverish pace. And unlike last year there is lots of sun and cool temperatures making for ideal planting conditions.

Flanders, "Progress for planting this year is well ahead of last year. And well ahead of the five year average."

Over all Dr. Flanders is somewhat optimistic about this years harvest. Of course there are a lot of days to go before that last cotton bale and soybean and rice kernal is stored away.

©2010 KAIT All rights reserved.