Illinois corn and soybean producers spent more per acre to grow their crops in 2004 than the previous year, according to a University of Illinois (U of I) Extension study.

"Costs per acre to produce corn were higher in all different geographic regions in Illinois compared to 2003," says Dale Lattz, U of I Extension farm management specialist. "Across the state, total costs per acre to produce corn increased 6-9%. The main reason was higher costs per acre for fertilizer, seed and fuel.

"Like corn, total costs per acre to produce soybeans increased in all the state's geographic areas over the 2003 figures,” says Lattz. “Costs increased $17/acre in northern Illinois, $13/acre in central Illinois areas with higher-rated soils and $17/acre in areas with lower-rated soils, and $16/acre in southern Illinois. Seed, fuel and the price for land were some of the costs that increased."

Lattz based his study on farm business records kept by farmers enrolled in the Illinois Farm Business Farm Management Association. The samples included only farms that had no livestock and had more than 260 acres of productive and nearly level soils in each area of the state.

In 2004, the total of all economic costs per acre for growing corn averaged $444 in northern Illinois, $434 in central Illinois areas with high soil ratings, $411 in areas with low ratings and $374 in southern Illinois. Soybean costs per acre were $349, $343, $319 and $289 respectively.

"Costs are lower in southern Illinois primarily because of lower land costs," says Lattz.

The total of all economic costs per bushel in the different sections of the state ranged from $2.20 to $2.40 for corn and from $5.78 to $6.71 for soybeans. Variations in this cost were related to weather, yields and land quality.

"Costs per bushel of corn in 2004 were slightly higher for northern and central Illinois and lower for southern Illinois as compared to 2003," says Lattz. "Costs were lower in southern Illinois due to a significant increase in yield in 2004 compared to 2003.

"Production costs per bushel of soybean decreased significantly in all areas of the state compared to 2003. Costs per bushel decreased due to substantially higher yields."

The entire report is available online at Extension's farmdoc Web site at: www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/manage/newsletters/fefo05_09/fefo05_09.html.