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Neil Wagner, Wayne, Ohio
In 2006 when the price differential became extreme, we switched to corn-on-corn. We’re (now) set up for drying corn and moving a lot of corn. So it would have to be a pretty drastic change in corn prices for us to change out of that. The decision isn’t just about corn and bean prices. It’s about our operation, and it’s a pretty complicated question when you start analyzing the numbers.
We used to be vegetable growers for Campbell’s soup, had 350 acres of tomatoes grown on slightly lighter soil where corn actually does better. That plays into the equation for us.
We would switch at $20 beans and $2 corn. If we went back to $13 per bushel beans, with corn being at $4 to $4.50/bu we would (probably) start to switch, but without knowing what the market is going to do, we would be slightly reluctant even at that extreme. We’re creatures of habit.
Right now new-crop corn is from $4.40 to $4.60. We can’t do that and make any money. If we found out that N was going to be $600 per ton instead of $300, we’d scratch our head a little and see what we could do with forward pricing and come up with a rational decision, including how many other farmers will take the bait and grow beans.
That said… I’m pretty stubborn to change.