Farm management advice for 2022

It is no secret that input costs are extremely high, likely making the 2022 crop the most expensive ever planted. Continued supply chain issues, speculation about cost and availability of inputs, weather, milk pricing and other unknowns complicate the management picture.

Weather

While it is out of our control, weather is a topic that is cussed and discussed. Jim Noel, a meteorologist who participates in the OSU Extension Crop Observation and Recommendation Network discussions, recently provided a picture of what we might expect going into the 2022 planting season. 

His analysis from the most recent OSU Extension C.O.R.N. newsletter is provided below:

Unlike last year’s weak La Nina, this weak to moderate La Nina is behaving much more like an average La Nina. That means wetter and more challenging times ahead compared to 2021.

The pattern looks wet from now through spring. It looks pretty certain we will see a wetter late winter and spring than 2021, but right now it does not look as wet as 2019 or 2011 — it just looks wetter than normal.

Other challenges appear to be cold ground temperatures currently that will combine with a mild March but indications of a chilly April. This could mean ground temperatures will lag until at least May. This is something worth watching. 

If recent trends of a chilly April continue, it could mean the last freeze/frost will be later than normal as well.

Budgets

Barry Ward, leader, Production Business Economics, OSU Extension, develops budgets annually. These budgets are available at farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-management/enterprise-budgets#2022. 

I have provided a summary of income and expenses for corn silage and alfalfa, based on the most recent budgets. I encourage you to consult these budgets as you plan. Knowing your cost of production is critical in being a successful manager.

The corn silage budget provides a range of potential yield scenarios.  The summary table below assumes a corn silage yield of 26 tons per acre.

Category Dollar Amount

  • Value (26 tons X $41/ton) $1066.00
  • Variable Cost (per acre) $612.71
  • Variable Costs (per ton) $23.57
  • Total Fixed Costs $441.49
  • Total Cost (per acre) $1054.20
  • Total Costs (per ton) $40.55

Like corn silage, the alfalfa budget provides options for a variety of yield goals. This example assumes seven tons per acre of alfalfa.

Category Dollar Amount

  • Value (at 7 tons/acre) $1,232
  • Total Variable Costs (per acre) $455.26
  • Total Variable Costs (per ton) $65.04
  • Total Fixed Costs $414.89
  • Total Costs (per acre) $870.16
  • Total Costs (per ton) $124.31

Fertilizer

The rate of increase in fertilizer prices may have slowed some, but the costs are still at very high levels. Now is the time to get back to the basics of soil sampling and analysis.  

Recent soil samples (preferably in the last three years) are critical. Review test results to determine which fields have fertility issues and which ones you might be able to get by with lower rates.

Apply lime to those fields that need soil pH adjusted. Fertilizing fields that are low in pH can be a waste of effort and resources, as the crop will not be able to efficiently use the nutrients applied.

There are several tools available to help you make the most of your fertilizer dollars. Talk with your agronomist and extension educator about your cropping plans and how best to maximize your returns.  

Consider using the following:

  Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Alfalfa: agcrops.osu.edu/FertilityResources/tri-state_info 

  Fertility Calculator for Ohio Recommendation: agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2022-02/fertility-calculator-ohio-recommendation 

  Considerations for Managing P&K in 2022: agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2022-03/considerations-managing-p-k-2022 

Milk price forecast

In the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: February 2022, milk price projections were made.  

The table below summarizes these projections. A variety of factors, including lower beginning stocks and reduced cow numbers, contribute to slight increases in milk prices in the latest report.

Category Dollars per cwt.

  • Class III $20.30
  • Class IV $22.30
  • All Milk $23.55

Summary

Challenges will be present this year. Talk with your nutritionist, agronomist, veterinarian, lender, extension educator and other trusted advisors about these challenges and how to best manage them.

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Farm management advice for 2022