If only there was a guru to ask or an application to calculate whether to buy land at lofty prices. Any magic formula would certainly have to consider long-term prospects, the interest rate outlook and your current financial position.
Remember the anxiety you felt prior to that last major USDA report? That feeling of not knowing what to expect at the opening bell can cause some heartache, but there are some simple steps you can take to prepare for these reports.
You know that feeling of being thrown onto a piece of equipment that you haven’t operated for a year? It feels a bit awkward until you get reacquainted. Well, many farmers often feel that way every year when faced with crop insurance and risk management decisions. The strategies may have been familiar once, but now is a good time to review crop insurance values (especially as the March 15 deadline looms) and the wisdom of making pre-harvest sales against insured bushels.
What a difference a decade makes! Corn prices are up 300%, but so, too, are your two largest input expenses: land and fertilizer. For most of you, the 2012 grain crop will be the most expensive you’ve ever grown. On the other hand, profits also are up by 300%, to an estimated $75-150 profit/acre.
When my grandfather began farming in the early 1920s in the fertile soil of southern Nebraska, he probably never imagined a time when tractors would steer themselves, planting would be guided by GPS or the smartphone could access weather forecasts and markets at the touch of a button.