In 2012 all operating income from the crop enterprises accounted for 50.4% of the total farm income. This is further broken down into crop sales of 35%, crop insurance claims of 13.3%, and government payments of 2.1%. This is an increase of 9.3% over the same categories in 2011. The remainder of the total cash operating income was split between livestock sales with 45% and other farm income at 5%. This is just some of the data gathered from farmers enrolled in education courses at the South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management based at Mitchell Technical Institute.
“A substantial crop inventory at the beginning of 2012 coupled with more crop acreage and higher prices associated to the drought across the United States helped bolster the crop sales last year. Plus, crop insurance income related to the drought mainly south of interstate 90 contributed to that increase,” said Chris Downs an instructor at the Center.
Corn silage was the most profitable crop raised in 2012 with a return of $379/acre. A higher than normal price for silage along with the farmers also receiving crop insurance for the low grain yields contributed to this profit. Winter Wheat, seemingly unaffected by the drought was second with a return of $309/acre. Corn at $305/acre, Spring Wheat at $145/acre, soybeans at $117/acre and alfalfa at $86/acre were the next in line, respectively.
Winter wheat showed the biggest increase in average yields over 2011. The rest of the crops showed a decrease in average yields from the same year. Winter wheat showed an average yield of 75.9bu./acre compared to 56 bu/acre in 2011. Corn, the biggest loser, decreased from an average of 127bu./acre in 2011 to 87.1bu./acre in 2012. Soybeans yielded 27.3bu./acre and alfalfa yielded 2.4 ton/acre. Corn Silage also dropped to 7.1 ton/acre
It cost South Dakota farmers $65/acre more to raise corn in 2012 with a total cost of $538/acre for cash rented ground. Total input costs for soybeans were $372/acre, an increase of $50 over 2011. Farmers spent an extra $90/acre on winter wheat for a total price of $368/acre. While alfalfa had the biggest cost per acre increase of $127, its total cost to operate an acre of ground was $333.
Downs said, “2012 was a challenging year for farmers in South Dakota, especially south of I-90 where the drought was the worst. Maintaining their profitability with assorted risk management practices will be the key to their future in agriculture.”
The South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management provides education to farmers and ranchers, throughout the state of South Dakota, on numerous management aspects of their operations.