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A Slam Dunk for Soybeans? Maybe Not.

For months, one of the safe bets has been that farmers will plant more soybeans this year. USDA projects record acreage of 84.6 million acres, up 1.4% from 2016. Economists David Widmar and Brent Gloy say some growers may see a different budget signal than university analyses that give the nod to soybeans over corn.

When they drilled into crop budgets drawn by Purdue, Illinois, and Iowa State, Widmar and Gloy found, as expected, that declining fertilizer prices affected production costs. “Changes in seed and crop protection also have been impactful,” they wrote in a blog.

Cost reduction can tip the balance either way between corn or soybeans for a producer, just as the Purdue and Illinois budgets favor soybeans while Iowa State backs corn.

“It’s important that producers carefully consider their farm’s unique production expenses headed into 2017,” say Widmar and Gloy.

This article was produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent, nonprofit news organization producing investigative reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.


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