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12 best farmland bargains

Check out these deals and get the most bang for your farmland buck!

1. West-Central Texas

  • $600/acre     
  • Annual land payment: $50/acre
  • Where: Scurry County and surrounding
  • Soils: Clay and sandy loam
  • Rainfall: 20-24 inches
  • Crops: Wheat, hay, pasture

Budget to grow wheat
Costs (excluding land)

  • - Chemicals and seed: $111
  • - Machinery and fuel: $51
  • - Labor, insurance, interest: $14

Total: $176

Returns

  • 30 bu/acre @ $7.50/bu: $225
  • Return to land debt service: $49/acre

Cautions: Dry weather is always an issue here; irrigation is uncommon. Winter/spring grazing of wheat forage may be one possibility for adding more returns per acre.




2. Central Wisconsin

  • $5,000/acre
  • Annual land payment: $410/acre
  • Where: Adams County and surrounding
  • Soils: Sandy prairie and forested
  • Rainfall: 30-34 inches/year, irrigation common
  • Crops: Pasture, alfalfa, corn, trees, potatoes

Budget to grow potatoes (irrigated)
Costs (excluding land)

  • Fertilizer: $337
  • Seed plants: $250
  • Fumigation: $235
  • Pest control: $250
  • Machinery/fuel: $290
  • Labor, trucking:
  • Interest, misc: $220

Total: $1,582

Returns

  • 350 cwt/acre @ $9/cwt: $3,150
  • Return to land debt: $1,568/acre

Cautions: Water availability is a risk, along with access to market contracts for vegetables. Alfalfa can be a very good fallback crop in dairyland; so is corn silage. Some farms here sold on basis of “wet” acres because where irrigation doesn’t reach, production is very limited.

3. South-Central Florida

  • $10,000/acre
  • Annual land payment: $810/acre
  • Where: Highlands County and surrounding
  • Soils: Sandy      
  • Rainfall: 54 inches/year
  • Crops: Citrus, vegetables, hay, cattle

Budget to grow oranges
Costs/acre 

  • Weed control: $204
  • Pest management: $400
  • Fertilizer: $659
  • Pruning/irrigation: $252
  • Tree replacement and decontamination: $316
  • Interest, insurance, management, labor: $522

Total: $2,353/acre

Returns/acre

  • 350 boxes/acre; 6 lbs. solids/box, $1.65/lbs. solids: $3,465
  • Return to land debt: $1,112/acre

Cautions: Freezing weather, tropical storms, citrus Greening disease (and other diseases) present serious ongoing risks. The citrus market may be rebounding, and the general Florida economy is, too. A 12-month growing season gives many alternate cropping choices, including vegetables.

4. Northern Missouri

  • $1,400/acre
  • Annual land payment: $118/acre
  • Where: Sullivan County and surrounding
  • Soils: Silt loam, clay, and sand
  • Rainfall: 36 inches/year
  • Crops: Pasture and hay

Budget to background steer calves (1 head/acre)
Costs (excluding land)

  • Purchase (580 lbs.@$1.75): $1,015
  • Grain, supplement: $42
  • Labor, supplies, vet: $28
  • Marketing, machinery, miscellaneous: $50

Total: $1,135

Returns

  • Sale (835 lbs.@$1.50): $1,252
  • Return to service land debt: $117/acre

Cautions: There is ongoing risk for markets, weather, and animal health. This land is well suited for lush grass and excellent cattle gains up to 2 pounds per day or more, especially when coupled with intensive grazing practices. (Our budget assumes 1.5 pounds per day gains.) Some farms in this area have flat, tillable acres, too.



5. Eastern Ohio

  • $5,000/acre
  • Annual land payment: $410/acre
  • Where: Coshocton County and surrounding
  • Soils: Sloping silt loam
  • Rainfall: 37 inches/year
  • Crops: Corn, wheat, hay, dairy

Budget to grow corn silage for dairy farms
Costs/acre

  • Seed: $106
  • Fertilizer: $273
  • Herbicide: $44
  • Fuel, hauling, Misc: $114
  • Labor: $40
  • Machinery: $178

Total: $755

Returns

  • 25 tons/acre at $47.75/T: $1,194
  • Return to service land debt: $439/acre

Cautions: Weather and markets are ongoing risks. Newer dairies in the region present market potential for silage or other forage crops. There’s also a market in this area for high-value vegetables. Double-crop wheat and soybeans may work. too.

6. Southwest Iowa

  • $4,000/acre
  • Annual land payment: $325
  • Where: Decatur and surrounding counties
  • Soils: Gently sloping silty clay loam. Rainfall: 37 inches/year
  • Crops: Corn, soybeans, livestock

Budget to grow soybeans
Costs

  • Seed: $57
  • Fertilizer: $58
  • Herbicide: $37
  • Misc.: $31
  • Machinery: $52
  • Labor: $22

Total: $257/acre

Returns

  • 50 bu/acre @ $12: $600
  • Returns to service land debt: $343

Cautions: Weather and markets are ongoing risks in this nonirrigated area. There is borderline double-crop potential. Farms here are never 100% tillable; they are well-suited to livestock grazing for nontillable acres.

7. Southeastern Wyoming

  • $4,000/acre (irrigation in place)
  • Annual land payment: $325
  • Where: Niobrara and surrounding counties
  • Soils: Fine sandy loam, gentle slopes   Rainfall: 14 inches/year
  • Crops: Grains, hay, livestock

Budget to grow irrigated alfalafa
Costs

  • Stand establishment: $52
  • Herbicide, insecticide: $52
  • Fertilizer: $103
  • Irrigation: $180
  • Machinery, fuel: $152
  • Taxes, labor, misc.: 55

Total: $594/acre

Returns

  • 5 tons/acre @$200/ton: $1,000
  • Returns to service land debt: $406

Cautions: Nontillable acres and water availability can limit production potential, and markets have to be pursued. With irrigation, several alternative cropping options are available, including corn and small grains.

8. Eastern North Dakota

  • $5,000/acre
  • Annual land payment: $410/acre
  • Where: Traill County and surrounding
  • Soils: Flat to sloping shallow loam
  • Rainfall: 23 inches/year
  • Crops: Grains, beans, potatoes, sugar beets

Budget to grow sugar beets/acre
Costs
       

  • Seed: $173
  • Fertilizer: $119
  • Chemicals: $91
  • Crop insurance: $33
  • Fuel: $82
  • Repair: $103
  • Machinery: $217
  • Labor: $54
  • Miscellaneous: $89

Total: $961

Returns

  • 27 tons/acre @ $52: $1,404
  • Return to land debt: $443

Cautions: Weather, markets, foreign competition, and politics all present risks for sugar crops. Several high-value crops (potato and edible beans) do well here and are options, along with corn, soybeans, and small grains.

9. Eastern Oregon

  • $5,000/acre   
  • Annual land payment:  $410/acre
  • Where: Union County and surrounding
  • Soils: Gentle slopes, black silt loam
  • Rainfall: Up to 25 inches/year
  • Crops: Wheat, grass seed, potatoes, peppermint

Budget to grow Kentucky Bluegrass seed
Costs/acre

  • Fertilizer, chemicals, irrigation: $202
  • Harvest expenses: $115
  • Off-season residue management: $97
  • Labor: $20

Total: $444

Returns   

  • 1,200 lbs./acre @ $.85¢/lb.: $935
  • Return to land debt: $491

Cautions: This area has the perfect climate for growing all kinds of grass seeds (cool, damp winters, dry summers). Securing production contracts is a necessity for seed crops, and water availability is an ongoing risk. Several other high-value crops (such as peppermint) are grown in rotation with the grass crops.

10. East-Central North Carolina

  • $6,000/acre
  • Annual land payment: $480/acre
  • Where: Beaufort County and surrounding
  • Soils: Combination deep black clay loam and rolling sandy
  • Rainfall: 45 inches/year
  • Crops: Tobacco, cotton, corn, wheat, timber

Budget to grow flue-cured tobacco

  • Costs/acre    
  • Greenhouse plants: $214
  • Fumigation: $180
  • Fertilizer: $208
  • Chemicals/pesticides: $101
  • Sucker control: $188
  • Curing fuel: $419
  • Machinery/hauling: $359
  • Labor: $786
  • Insurance, miscellaneous: $281
  • Barn, machinery depr.: $391

Total: $3,127

Returns

  • 2,400 lbs/acre @ $1.80: $4,320
  • Return to land debt: $1,190

Cautions: For tobacco crops, market contracts must be secured, crop rotations are required, and it is labor-intensive. Tillable acres may be low percentage in this area. There are many double-crop and alternative vegetable crop opportunities.

11. Southeast Arkansas

  • $4,500/acre
  • Annual land payment: $365/acre
  • Where: Drew County and surrounding
  • Soils: Flat and gently rolling, sandy and silt loam
  • Rainfall: 53 inches/year
  • Crops: Corn, soybeans, cotton, rice

Budget to grow hybrid rice
Costs/acre

  • Seed: $144
  • Fertilizer: $137
  • Chemicals: $114
  • Machinery, fuel: $119
  • Irrigation: $174
  • Drying/hauling: $108
  • Labor, misc.: $45

Total: $839

Returns

  • - 190 bu/acre @ $6.50: $1,235
  • - Returns to land debt: $396

Cautions: Irrigation is needed to grow rice, and there is risk of water availability, and expense of pumping costs. Cropping choices and double-crop opportunities are numerous. Some land here needs improvements: drainage, fertility, brush removal, etc.

12. South Georgia

  • $3,500/acre
  • Annual land payment: $285/acre
  • Where: Colquitt County and surrounding
  • Soils: Sloping loam and sandy loam
  • Rainfall: 49 inches/year
  • Crops: Corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans

Budget to grow cotton
Costs/acre

  • - Seed: $91
  • - Fertilizer: $102
  • - Herbicide/Insecticide: $111
  • - Machinery: $185
  • - Labor, misc.: $110

Total: $599

Returns

  • - 1,150 lbs @ $.80: 920
  • - Returns to land debt: $321

Cautions: Many acres in this area were at one time in CRP and are now being returned to production. Irrigation is needed to achieve consistently good yields. Many crop and double-crop options, including some high-value vegetable crops.   

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