Illinois Farmers Facing losses on Corn, Beans
The corn and soybean crops Illinois farmers are harvesting this fall are the most expensive they've ever grown, and University of Illinois economists are predicting that for the first time since 1990, they'll lose money on both crops.
"Farmers received an average of $4.05 per bushel for corn in 2008," said U of I economist Gary Schnitkey. "It is expected they will receive $3.25 per bushel for corn in 2009."
Researchers are predicting that losses will be $8 per acre for corn and $15 per acre for soybeans. For the entire state of Illinois, the projected loss could be as much as $98 million for corn and as much as $136.5 million for soybeans.
Researchers point to a more than 300 percent increase in fertilizer costs for corn since 2000 and a nearly 360 percent increase in seed prices during the same period. Fuel and oil prices increased 35 percent and land costs were up 65 percent during the 2002-2009 time frame.
Based on estimates released by the National Agricultural Statistical Service, average 2009 yields are projected at 200 bushels per acre for corn and 51 bushels per acre for soybeans. The yield estimates are slightly more than the 2008 yields of 199 bushels for corn and 50 bushels for soybeans.
In Southern Illinois, yield predictions for corn are substantially lower. The lowest forecast yield comes from Edwards County at 129 bushels per acre. The highest expected yield comes from Wayne County with a forecast of 149.5 bushels per acre.
But despite the gloomy outlook, a farmer's timing in the purchase of various crop-related products could bring about a profitable year.
"There will be sizable variations in nonland costs across farms as fertilizer prices varied greatly between the fall and the spring," Schnitkey said. "Timing of purchase will have a large impact on non-land costs."
These projections are based on crop budgets from the Farm Business Farm Management System yield estimates from the National Agricultural Statistical Service and revised commodity price projections.
"Farmers will face difficult decisions in the months ahead," said Philip Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. "We're operating in an environment where the cost to put next year's crop in the ground exceeds what we are projected to receive when we sell what we produced."
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