Producers will see a 7-10% increase in the overall costs of crop production in 2004, says Alan Miller, farm business management specialist at Purdue University.

"The price of nitrogen has increased 26-30%, phosphate by 10%, and potash has increased by 8% since last January (2003)," he says. "Because of these increases, the cost of fertilizer will show the biggest overall increase in input costs in 2004, adding $11/acre for corn and $2/acre for soybeans over last year's cost."

Expect an 8% hike in soybean seed costs due primarily to an increase in the tech fee for Roundup Ready seed. Farmers will also pay up to 5% more for chemicals, 3-5% more for farm wages and 1-2% more for machinery.