Low projected net farm income forces focus on efficiency

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The USDA recently released updated net farm income data. It shared that net farm income totaled $90.4 billion in 2014, and it's projected to total $55.9 billion in 2015. Not since 2002 has net farm income dropped to levels lower than those predicted for 2015. Just two years ago, net farm income reached a $123.3 billion high. The following graph illustrates recent USDA net farm income data and the forecast for 2015.

The projections suggest that net farm income will decrease by 38.2 percent between 2014 and 2015. A change like that will send shocks through the agriculture economy. Multiple factors have contributed to the decline. For example, drought conditions a few years ago increased crop prices. Since then, however, crop production has recovered and triggered price reductions.

Because of the forecasted net farm income decline, we as farmers must find ways to operate efficiently. We want to invest in products proven to boost yields at a cost that enables us to optimize our returns.

At BigYield.us, we specialize in identifying products that provide good returns for our customers, and we test these products in our research plots at The Farm Research Center in Garden City, Mo.

Last year, we tested our BPIF-Soy in-furrow treatment, which is a crop biological and cold-processed sweetener blend designed to address soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS). With the in-furrow treatment alone, yields averaged 45.5 bushels per acre.

Primarily, SDS stems from the Fusarium pathogen, which may overwinter in soybean cyst nematode cysts, crop residues or the soil itself.

SDS infection risk increases when fields have the Fusarium pathogen infection and soybean cyst nematode presence. Early-planted fields with cool, wet and compacted soils also have greater SDS susceptibility.

Although the SDS infection starts at the seedling stage, growers won't notice symptoms until the reproductive stage.

Because the infection would occur shortly after planting, early treatment and correct placement of a product that can address the fungus are important priorities for SDS management.

Adding three BigSoy100 foliar applications and one BigSoy100DB foliar application to the in-furrow BPIF-Soy treatment increased average yields to 52.7 bushels per acre.

The following table presents the dataset being summarized here. BigSoy100 is a cold-processed sweetener, and BigSoy100DB combines the cold-processed sweetener with a crop biological. The four foliar applications produced a 245 percent return on investment. With returns like that, you can better adjust to low crop prices.

To learn about using BPIF-Soy, BigSoy100 and BigSoy100DB in your soybean program, call me at 816-773-6018.