Wheat profitability from 2006-2012
The average return for those farms that did not have wheat was $209 per acre compared to $212 per acre for those farms that did raise wheat. Overall, there was no statistical difference in returns from farms with and without wheat. In some years, farms with wheat had higher returns than farms that did not have wheat: 2006, 2008, and 2009. In the other years, farms with wheat had lower returns than farms without wheat: 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
For those farms with wheat, double-crop soybeans increased profitability in most years. Over the entire period, farms with wheat and double-crop soybeans had an average operator and farmland return of $215 per acre and those farms not growing wheat had a return of $173 per acre (see Table 1). The presence of double-crop soybeans had higher returns in every year except for one: 2007.
Most farms growing wheat had double-crop soybeans. Farms without double-crop soybeans range from 8 percent in 2007 to 13 percent in 2006 and 2010. Weather and timing issues may influence whether a farm grows and does not grow double-crop soybeans.
Over the entire time period, farms with over 25% of their acres in wheat had lower average return compared to those farms with less than 10% of their acres in wheat: $197 per acre for farms with over 25% of their acres in wheat compared to $224 for less than 10% in wheat, a difference of $27 per acre. In four years, farms with over 25% of their wheat had higher returns than farms with less 10% of their acres: 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. In the remaining years, the over 25% had much lower returns than the under 10% group.
In 2011, for example, farms with over 25% acres in what had a $152 per acre return, $119 lower than the $271 per acre return for less than 10% of the acres. A number of reasons revolving around weather and timing could be given for these differences in those select years. Future evaluations of these factors may prove beneficial.
Overall, those farms with wheat had roughly the same operator and farmland returns as those farms without wheat. Having double-crop soybeans increased profitability on farms growing wheat in most years. Percent acres in wheat had impacts on returns. Overall, farms with less than 10% of their acres in wheat had higher returns than those farms with wheat over 25% of their acres in wheat.
Overall, these comparisons suggest that wheat remained a viable crop in southern Illinois farms over the 2006 through 2012 time frame.