2021 was a unique year in many aspects. Despite all of the obstacles that popped up over the last 12 months, it turned out to be a memorable one for most grain farmers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Many areas experienced relatively high yields while commodity prices approached levels that had not been seen in nearly a decade, leading to a profitable year for many growers. Now that 2021 is behind us, it is time to focus on 2022.
As many row crop farmers are aware, direct input costs have increased across the board since last year. While some inputs such as lime and seed have only gone up slightly, commercial fertilizer and some chemicals have seen more substantial price increases.
As of December 2021, commercial fertilizer prices on primary nutrients (N, P, and K) have doubled or even tripled from what they were this time last year. Prices could go even higher in season as fertilizer demand increases.
The same can be said for some of the more widely used herbicides. Glyphosate price increases lead the way, currently being nearly triple what they were a year ago. Prices on paraquat (Gramoxone), glufosinate (Liberty), and atrazine have nearly doubled while 2, 4-D is up close to 25 percent over last year.
Along with the price increases are concerns about product availability, especially surrounding glyphosate and atrazine. With the current supply constraints, it may be beneficial to reach out to your ag retailer to develop a herbicide program for 2022. Having solutions in place now can help alleviate some of the pressure in season and provide peace of mind knowing that you will have the tools available to keep your fields clean.
One possible solution could be using pre-mixed herbicides rather than more traditional programs where individual chemicals are used. Another alternative might be replacing a glyphosate trip across the field with a different mode of action in your burn down.
Another key to having a profitable grain farming year in 2022 is to remain focused on grain marketing. Commodity prices fluctuated significantly in 2021 and could continue to do so through the coming months. Watching the markets daily (including during planting season) can help ensure getting the best price possible for the grain that is harvested. This can in part offset the input price increases that are being experienced.
The answer may be different for each farmer, but your crop advisor will be able to guide you through the process and help you make the decisions that will make 2022 a successful year.
Here at Farm Credit, we understand the challenges facing all farmers. It is our mission to stand beside our members and the entire agriculture community during good, bad, and uncertain times. Learn more and talk to a loan officer today at mafc.com or call 888.339.3334.
This article was written by Farm Credit Loan Officer, Doug Bennett, located in our Salisbury office.