More in Management

  • Jan 16, 2015
    video
    Corn+Soybean Digest

    Tips for saving fuel, energy on the farm

    Energy costs may not be your largest expense on the farm, but it's one that you can jump in on and make a fairly large impact without changing productivity, says Mark Hanna, Extension ag engineer at Iowa State University. He offers ideas for conserving fuel, including reduced tillage passes, shifting up, front-wheel assist and hybrid choice and drying....More
  • Jan 13, 2015
    blog

    Decision making with negative margins, part 1

    The reality is setting in that some producers, particularly those in the grain sector, will experience negative margins in 2015, which is something not experienced in many years. How can a producer troubleshoot their business and work with their lender when margins are tight, or even negative?...More
  • Jan 13, 2015
    blog

    Management strategies for 2015

    In 2015, crop revenues are likely to be significantly reduced compared to revenue levels in recent years. 2015 crop input costs for seed, fertilizer, and chemicals are likely to be similar to 2014 levels, and land rental rates will likely remain fairly high, which adds more risk to 2015 crop production....More
  • Jan 6, 2015
    blog

    2015 Kickoff

    Everyone has had their fill of football bowl games, and now we are into the college and professional football playoffs, which usually provide some surprises and upsets. This is much like thinking ahead about what to expect in 2015. The following are a few of the thoughts and perspectives that you may want to consider in your planning or conversations with your business partners....More
  • Dec 29, 2014
    blog

    Why climate deniers? 17

    My science brain is just plain confused. And I can’t wrap my head around the recent farmer survey that shows 31% of 4,778 farmers surveyed believe there isn’t sufficient evidence that climate change is occurring....More
  • Dec 23, 2014
    blog

    2014 in the rearview mirror: ag economy, technology, farm management

    The year 2014 has truly been a time of transition for the agricultural industry and rural areas. While challenging, there will be more opportunities to succeed in agriculture in the next decade than the last 30 years, but there will also be more opportunities to fail. A game plan including resiliency and agility will be the themes for 2015 and beyond for those moving to a higher level of management in the industry of agriculture....More
  • Dec 22, 2014
    blog

    2014 Agriculture review, part 2: Input costs, grain prices and farm economy

    This is the second of a two-part article highlighting what happened agriculturally in 2014. Last week’s article provided a review of 2014 crop production and weather conditions. This week we will focus on some highlights regarding input costs, grain prices and the overall farm economy for 2014....More
  • Dec 16, 2014
    blog

    Strategies for managing profit in agriculture during a down cycle

    The reality has set in that grain prices, cash flow and profit margins will be modest at best. Whether this part of the cycle correction will be one, two, or even five years or more in duration, farmers and their lenders will have to manage through these economic white waters....More
  • Dec 15, 2014
    blog

    Why I believe corn, soybean prices will move higher 1

    When you get major "headline-risk" like we are seeing in the energy markets, coupled with lower than normal trade volume, all bets are off in regard to traditional fundamental rhyme and reason....More
  • Dec 9, 2014
    blog

    Agriculture financial management: Working capital burn rate

    If your working capital burn rate is less than one year, it would be considered high risk. Above 3.5 years is indicative of a strong second line of defense and of course, between one and 3.5 years would be considered acceptable, but not stellar. To say the least, this winter and next year will be a balancing act as farmers juggle quickly converting liquid assets to cash to keep their businesses in operation....More
  • Dec 9, 2014
    blog

    Fine tune 2015 profit margins for your farm: Land rental rates, production expenses

    The combination of lower projected corn prices and soybean prices in 2015, together with nearly steady input costs for seed, fertilizer, and chemicals, will limit estimated potential returns over direct expenses and land costs, at average crop yields. Another major variable in breakeven levels in crop production are loan payments on capital investments such as farm machinery, facilities and land purchases....More
  • Dec 5, 2014
    video
    Corn+Soybean Digest

    Corn, soybean price outlook

    Chad Hart, Iowa State University Extension economist, expects to see corn prices in the $4 range, and soybeans in the single digits for 2015. Good demand but larger supplies will hold prices down over the next couple of years, he says....More
  • Dec 2, 2014
    blog

    Finalizing custom rates for 2014

    An analysis of some of the more common custom rates in the 2014 Iowa Custom Rate Survey showed that the listed “average” custom rates for some farming practices may be a bit low, given the higher ownership costs of larger farm machinery, higher fuel expenses that have existed in 2014, and the difficult field conditions that existed in some areas....More
  • Nov 25, 2014
    blog

    Repayment risk in a variable economic environment

    Lessons from the past find that the stress point in business financials is repayment capacity given debt service commitments. Repayment capacity and the management factors that influence it should be front and center in many farmers’ game plans....More

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