Recent Changes in Crop Production Costs and Implications for Regional Competitiveness
Rapid increases in input prices have cast a large shadow over the enthusiasm created by higher product prices. In this paper we forecast the trends in input prices and use these trends to forecast production costs for corn, soybeans, and wheat at the national level, and for regions within the U.S. Although the Heartland is forecast to maintain its competitive edge in corn costs, the Northern Great Plains and Prairie Gateway regions are forecast to increase their competitive advantage due to using less fertilizer and chemicals on average which results in relative costs decreasing for these regions. For soybeans, the Heartland is forecast to maintain its competitive edge although the Eastern Uplands region was forecast to increase its competitive advantage due to using less fertilizer and chemicals. With wheat, the Prairie Gateway region was forecast to have the best improvement in relative costs, while the Northern Great Plains loses some competitive edge. However, since individual farms have different costs due to physical conditions and timing of input purchases, and crop prices are fluctuating, actual profit levels are hard to predict.
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