More corn...more profit?

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Crop rotations change from year to year for a number of reasons. Economics, dealing with weed and disease pressures, the installation of drainage tile, having a place to apply manure...all are reasons that a producer might vary the number of acres devoted to any single crop enterprise in any single year. Geographic's can also have an impact on crop rotations. Large areas of southern Illinois can easily fit double crop soybeans into a rotation while that feat would be very difficult in most of northern Illinois.

Todays' post will review some of this data and review 2011 in particular. This group of 782 farms are from better soils in central Illinois with negligible contributions from a livestock enterprise. Minimum farm size was 180 acres of row crop production.

When abundant detailed enterprise analysis information is not available there are other means to gain insight into this data. For this work, groups were established based on the percentage of land devoted to the production of corn. Those five groups are:

Group A - less than 46% corn acres
Group B - 46% to 55% corn acres
Group C - 56% to 65% corn acres
Group D - 66% to 75% corn acres
Group E - greater than 75% corn acres.

Refer to Table 1 as we review some of the characteristics of this group of farms. Group A with the least percentage of corn acres contained only 9.2% of the farms. This group is a bit more diverse in its crop enterprise mix with 8% of acres devoted to crops other than corn or soybeans. The other four groups were nearly exclusively made up of only corn and soybean enterprises. Group E contained just under 5% of the farms. Group B alone contained just over half of the farms and just over 75% of the farms were in Groups B and C.

Crop returns per acre did vary but had a mostly upward trend as the percentage of corn acres increased with a $921 per acre crop return for Group A and ranging to $1,040 for Group E. Interestingly, corn yields had no discernible trend as the percentage of corn acres increased while soybean yields appear to increase as the percentage of corn acres increased.

A review of some of the expenses show that soil fertility shows an increase in cost as the percentage of corn acres increases as does seed expense, drying expense, and crop insurance as one might expect. Machinery depreciation increased, but only slightly, and cash rent varied considerably but was the highest for Group E. In the end, management returns show a range of only $27 per acre with Group E the highest at $268 and Group A and C following closely at $266 and $265. This data represents only a single year, but management returns for 2011 provide little evidence that higher management returns are due to higher percentages of corn acres in crop rotations.

The authors would like to acknowledge that data used in this study comes from the local Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM) Associations across the State of Illinois. Without their cooperation, information as comprehensive and accurate as this would not be available for educational purposes. FBFM, which consists of 5,700 plus farmers and 60 professional field staff, is a not-for-profit organization available to all farm operators in Illinois. FBFM staff provide counsel along with recordkeeping, farm financial management, business entity planning and income tax management. For more information, please contact the State FBFM Office located at the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at 217.333.5511 or visit the FBFM website at

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Related Articles

No matching related articles at this time.

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Declining Weigh Blending System

Ranco Declining Weigh (DW) is the standard in fertilizer blending because of the speed and accuracy of the blending process. ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form