COST-CUTTING ON CROP INPUTS DRIVES CHANGE FOR 2018
Fertilizer and Crop Protection top the list, Equipment moves up one place
Uncertainty about critical crop inputs across fertilizer and crop protection categories reflect the harsh realities facing farmers as they try to balance input costs and financial returns. The latest Farmer Speaks research study conducted in January 2018 by Millennium Research and commissioned by J.L.Farmakis, Inc. reveals general trends in the market and specifically where farmers are making changes and investments to reduce costs.
Bill Farmakis, President of J.L. Farmakis, Inc. finds the trends in the market over the years of the study to be quite telling. “Farmers are striving to find ways to extract costs without sacrificing the essential inputs. This year they look to maintain traits on corn seed and fine-tune fertilizer applications” says Farmakis.
“Fertilizer edged out crop protection and seed categories for the most change planned in 2018,” notes Farmakis. Split application and soil testing are the leading fertilizer tactics. Additional use of traits in soybean seed follows the introduction of new weed control options in 2017 that generated positive farmer responses for better weed control and improved yields. Corn trait use is flat. Farmers are less committed than ever to the herbicide they used last year. Farmakis says the trends show a great deal of pressure on crop protection and seed brands to stay relevant and competitive when growers face such challenging prospects.
Investing in strategic assets
Acquisition of larger equipment, specifically 4-wheel drive tractors and combines, are bouncing back after years of delayed purchases. Planters were ranked number one in the category last year. Adding on farm grain storage for farmers with more than 1000 acres appears to be another bright spot for 2018.
Acres not changing much
Land purchases continue, but with smaller parcels than previous years. Farmers indicate they were less successful than in previous years in extracting concessions for land rent from owners.
Farmakis says that the largest farmers in the study revealed an improved outlook after the 2017 crop, so he’s hopeful that farmers will find a way to make a crop and make some money.