Corn Agronomy: Looking ahead to 2016: The Economics

Joe Lauer, Wisconsin Corn Agronomist

This spring farmers have been slow to make decisions on a number of inputs. Reluctance has largely been due to weather concerns and economics. The acreage intentions report last week did not help. Corn and soybean prices immediately decreased.

The USDA-ERS has been collecting cost of production (COP) data since 1975. These costs are based on the actual costs incurred by producers. A base survey is conducted every five years. The annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) has been used to modify the survey base since 1996. These costs of production excludes costs for marketing and storage. ARMS data collection starts during the fall when production practice and cost data are collected, and finishes in the spring when a follow-up interview collects data about whole-farm costs like overhead, interest, and taxes. New data becomes available every May. Each farm sampled in the ARMS represents a known number of farms with similar attributes so that weighting the data for each farm by the number of farms it represents provides a basis for calculating estimates. The country is divided into 9 regions. Wisconsin is part of the Northern Crescent region. Many of the Corn Belt states are in the Heartland region.

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