Western Nebraska Break-Even Prices Mostly Lower in 2014
The 2014 Nebraska Crop Budgets have been expanded from previous editions and are now available online at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/economics/budgets.
This year's package includes 66 budgets, including 21 budgets specific to the Nebraska Panhandle. New cost estimates for the Panhandle include alfalfa, gravity-irrigated corn, dryland field peas, and dryland millet.
Prices of inputs were generally higher in this year's budgets with some notable exceptions, including nitrogen fertilizer and glyphosate herbicides. Production costs for crops that use a lot of nitrogen and/or Roundup Ready® technologies were moderated by these price reductions.
At the same time, increased land prices put upward pressure on production costs for all crops. The increase in real-estate prices in western Nebraska were generally more modest than farm land price increases in the east, so the effect of higher land prices was not as pronounced for the Panhandle commodity budgets. Center-pivot-irrigated land saw the largest increase in the Panhandle, a 23% increase to a 2014 average value of $3,115 per acre.
Costs of production decreased for almost all Panhandle crops. However, conventional-tillage dry edible beans' break-even price increased 2%, and no-till irrigated wheat increased 7%.
Center-pivot-irrigated corn yielding 180 bushels (Budget 26) has an estimated 2014 break-even price of $4.49 per bushel in western Nebraska, down 3% from 2013. One reason for the drop in production costs is a change in how corn seed was priced. In past years these budgets have used the listed price for corn seed, even though most producers were getting discounts. The 2014 budgets reflect these discounts. Gravity-irrigated corn yielding 180 bushels (Budget 22) has an estimated break-even price of $4.04 per bushel.
The three dry edible bean budgets were adjusted to more accurately reflect practices in the growing areas. The first dry-bean budget (Budget 30, dry beans with a wheat cover crop) was modified to reflect a reduced tillage system. This helped decrease the break-even point by 6% to $23.61 per hundredweight. A change in Budget 31, gravity-irrigated conventional tillage, increased the break-even cost estimate 2% to $23.69. Finally, the conventional-tillage, center-pivot-irrigated dry bean budget break-even estimate was down 3% to $23.59 per hundredweight.
Four sugarbeet budgets were fully revised for 2014. These budgets reflect conventional and one-pass tillage systems, on both gravity and center-pivot-irrigated land. The break-even costs range from $32.88 to $38.02, down 10-14% from the 2013 estimates published in the Sugarbeet Production Guide (EC 156).
No major changes were made to the sunflower budgets. Dryland no-till sunflowers (Budget 57) decreased 18% from 2013 to $17.81 per hundredweight. The production budget for ecofallow sunflowers (Budget 58) dropped 16% to $16.23 per hundredweight. An irrigated no-till sunflower (Budget 59) was added to the 2014 packet with a break-even price of $14.84 per hundredweight.
Decreased herbicide prices helped lower production cost estimates for the three dryland wheat budgets 7-10% (Budgets 61-63), depending on the system. No-till wheat after dry edible beans also decreased, but only by 4% to $5.65 per bushel. Another irrigated wheat budget, irrigated wheat in rotation, was added in 2014 with a break-even price of $5.13 per bushel.
Peas and Millet
A dryland pea budget (43) was added in 2014 and had an estimated break-even price of $5.57 per bushel. Millet was also added and had a break-even of $4.72.
With a lower outlook on commodity prices in 2014, understanding your operation's cost of production will be pivotal to profitability. All of the 2014 Nebraska Crop Budgets can be downloaded in either a Microsoft Excel or PDF format at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/economics/budgets. The Excel budgets are fully editable and can be customized to your operation.
If you have questions about any of these Panhandle budgets, contact UNL Extension Educator Jessica Johnson at 308-632-1247.
Jessica Johnson, Extension Educator, Panhandle REC
Roger Wilson, UNL Extension Farm Management / Enterprise Budget Analyst