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Cost Per Bushel Produced

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Cost Per Bushel Produced: Improving Your Bottom Line

Figuring out your cost per bushel produced is key to improving your bottom line.

Looking at today’s commodity prices, every smart producer is going to take a long hard look at cost. But cost is only half of the story. Let’s take a step back and use a metric that actually reflects health in our bottom line—cost per bushel produced.

Cost Per Bushel Produced: Maximize Your Production Per Dollar Spent

Some of the farmers I work with got to talking, and we realized we didn’t have enough focus on maximizing production per dollar spent. When we asked, “If your life depended on raising the most possible bushels on 40 acres of land, how would you treat that land?”A few basic answers surfaced—you’d choose “the best” seed (variety, traits, germ test results).

How Do You Measure All Of Your Nurturing Care In Your Cost Per Bushel Produced? field1a.jpg

It wouldn’t be the first field you planted, when you worried the ground might still be too cold. You wouldn’t leave its fertility to chance, and you would probably spoon-feed nitrogen applications as the plants needed N throughout the season. You would make sure to scout those 40ac early and often.

You would never let ET catch up with precip + irrigation. You might make more crop protection applications, or you might do spot treatments.

How measureable are any of the ideas we came up with? And how can you compare the success of your strategy to the rest of your fields when you’re using a combination of techniques?

Are you thinking of everything, or might someone else have an idea you could benefit from? Most importantly, are you getting a handle on the cost of your nurturing care?

The 40 Acre Challenge:

To answer all of these questions, interested FamilyFarms Group farmers are undertaking a 40 acre challenge.  Independently they devised strategies to maximize bushels per acre and bushels per dollar spent.  A Great exercise to figure cost per bushel produced!

They are implementing their strategies in the 2015 growing cycle, reporting the steps they take, maximizing yield and counting costs in a challenge to produce the best 40 acres possible—and to learn from each other how to do better next year.

These farmers are vying for prizes in 3 categories:

  • Best bushels/40 acres on irrigated corn
  • The best bushels/40 acres on dryland corn
  • The best cost/bushel on those 40 acres (with a calculated average trip cost, and excluding rent for comparisons).

The winner in each category will win a $10,000 seed credit for 2016 seed.  More important than the prize, though, is the knowledge they will gain from their own and other farmers’ efforts to increase yields while carefully logging practices and their costs.

Cost per bushels produced is how you really improve your bottom line—how could you get better at it?

Allison Jonjak
Precision Ag Analyst

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