Economic Tidbits

Per Bushel Costs Lower in 2020

The Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln released its crop budget estimates for the 2020 production year. The budgets include cost estimates for 15 crops, including 2 cover crops and reflect various production practices, materials and inputs, cropping rotations, irrigation practices, and options for weed management.

Budgets are available for corn, soybeans, alfalfa, dry beans, cover crops, grain sorghum, sugarbeets, sunflowers, and wheat. The budgets are based on projected yields which is used to calculate both a total economic and cash cost per bushel. Cash costs do not include the ownership cost of machinery or a real estate opportunity cost. For the total economic cost, an assumption is made that the operator is the landowner. Table 1 shows the cash and total economic cost ranges for dryland and irrigated corn and soybeans.

Crop producers can use the budgets to estimate their costs for the year, compare their costs to University projected costs, or build their own budgets. In the past, researchers have said the budgets were thought to be representative of producers in the bottom third in terms of costs. Better yields are expected to drive down the per bushel cost of production in 2020. This will afford producers’ a greater opportunity to realize positive returns with effective cost management and timely marketing. New crop corn bids in central Nebraska last week were between $3.60-$3.70 per bushel and around $8.36 per bushel for soybeans. For more information on the budgets, go to: https://agecon.unl.edu/cornhusker-economics/2020/nebraska-crop-budgets-review

Table 1. Estimated 2020 Costs per Bushel

                                                Dryland                                  Irrigated
Corn
                        Cash                $1.96-$3.36                             $2.02-$2.54
                        Total                $3.01-$4.74                             $2.84-$3.59

Soybeans
                        Cash                $5.38-$5.59                             $4.45-$5.59
                        Total                $7.73-$8.32                             $7.18-$9.01

Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dept of Agricultural Economics

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