IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Optimal Sequential Plantings of Corn and Soybeans Under Price Uncertainty

Listed author(s):
  • Michael Livingston


    (US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service)

  • Michael J. Roberts


    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • Yue Zhang


    (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics)

Optimal crop choice and fertilizer applications depend on the stochastic dynamics of commodity prices, fertilizer prices, and the agronomic effects of rotation versus monoculture. The efficient decision rule accounts for real option values associated with maintaining land disposition in an environment with highly uncertain future prices and irreversible past planting decisions. We parameterize a baseline model for a representative acre in Iowa and compare the model's predictions and profits to relatively naive, shorter-horizon decision rules, and a field managed with optimal fertilizer applications conditional on corn and soybeans always being rotated. We also examine the effects of a permanently larger premium on corn prices relative to soybean prices, which has been observed in locations near recently established ethanol plants. We then compare the various decision rules to actual crop choices in a panel of over 6500 Iowa plots during 1979-2007. As compared to less forward-looking objectives, we find the agronomic benefits of rotations coupled with real option values can lead to a more inelastic response of planting decisions to both transitory and permanent price changes. Always rotating, regardless of prices, is close to optimal, but so are shorter-horizon objectives. One implication is that reduced corn monoculture and fertilizer application rates might be implemented with modest incentive payments of $4 per acre or less.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2014
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201412.

in new window

Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2014
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201412
Contact details of provider: Postal:
2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822

Phone: (808)956-8730
Fax: (808)956-4347
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Deaton, Angus & Laroque, Guy, 1996. "Competitive Storage and Commodity Price Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 896-923, October.
  2. Williams,Jeffrey C. & Wright,Brian D., 2005. "Storage and Commodity Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023399, December.
  3. Burt, Oscar R. & Worthington, Virginia E., 1988. "Wheat Acreage Supply Response In The United States," Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 13(01), July.
  4. Johansson, Robert & Peters, Mark & House, Robert, 2007. "Regional Environment and Agriculture Programming Model," Technical Bulletins 184314, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  5. Eckstein, Zvi, 1984. "A Rational Expectations Model of Agricultural Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 1-19, February.
  6. Oscar R. Burt & M. S. Stauber, 1971. "Economic Analysis of Irrigation in Subhumid Climate," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 53(1), pages 33-46.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201412. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Web Technician)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.