Corn-after-corn production may be less profitable than soybean production in 2006, meaning the recent trend of increasing corn production may end, according to a University of Illinois (U of I) Extension study.

“Between 2000 and 2004, corn returns exceeded soybean returns in many areas of Illinois,” says Gary Schnitkey, U of I Extension farm management specialist who co-authored the study with fellow Extension specialist Dale Lattz. “Budgets suggest that recent cost increases have narrowed the gap between corn and soybean returns. Higher corn yields will be required in 2006 as compared to recent years for projected corn returns to exceed soybean returns. From a returns perspective, farmers may wish to plant soybeans on farmland that could be corn-after-corn in 2006.”

However, Schnitkey adds, planting more soybeans may increase risks since soybean rust is a possibility.

The study, “Projected Returns for Corn and Soybeans in 2006,” is available at www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/manage/newsletters/fefo05_22/fefo05_22.html.