Corn and soybean prices this year look a lot better to producers than they did at this time in 2020. These better price prospects are giving growers some different options for 2021. Research sponsored by the J.L. Farmakis Company indicates that higher prices are allowing farmers to invest more in their operations and in the crops they will plan this spring.
During a farmer panel discussion, Jasper County producer Kendell Culp said better prices let farmers look at crops in a different way, “Last year when the weather turned dry and our yield prospects were in question, at $3 a bushel we could not justify investing $25 to $30 an acre in fungicides, to try and improve yields.”
This year better prices will allow Culp to invest in new tools and technology, “This year, I will certainly try some fungicides on some acres; we will try some split application on some nitrogen. We may use some row starter, and some side dressing, and might even try some trials on foliar sprays.”
There is plenty of new technology available to farmers today, but Culp noted profitability is the key to adopting that new technology into a farming operation. “The extra $1.50 a bushel we see in prices today gives us the ability to try some of this new technology and get a better return in the end,” he stated.
The Farmer Speaks research indicated producers were planning on new investments for 2021, but there was also a good deal of caution. Kyle Bracey from Edwardsville, IL, one of the participants in the recent webinar said continued uncertainty may keep some producers conservative in their investments. The research, however, indicated that most of those who participated in the survey were optimistic or very optimistic about 2021. That was double the level of optimism in the 2020 survey.
The Farmer Speaks survey was conducted by Millennium Research and commissioned by J.L. Farmakis, Inc. The survey included over 100 farmers, mostly row crop producers from the Midwest. The research is designed to track farmer attitudes and buying preferences. This was the 7th year the survey has been conducted. The webinar was held in January and was hosted by farm broadcaster Don Wick of the Red River Farm Network. Several more regional webinars are scheduled based on the Farmer Speaks study. One will deal with livestock and another with specialty crop producers.