Forecast: Rising Input Prices and Tight Supplies

By Tom Hoffman, Agronomy Division Manager

Posted: 2/13/2023

Overall, 2022 was a good crop year in north central Wisconsin. Planting proceeded on a somewhat timely basis, and harvest went pretty well. There was some corn that was harvested a little later than most would like due to corn being slow to dry as well as mother nature causing some delays. We saw average to slightly above average yields with good commodity prices.

The plant food market has been relatively stable. We have seen some softening of most plant food products from the high point of April and May. Overall, most plant food product costs are comparable to where they were 11 to 12 months ago. Plant food prices continue to have great volatility due to many things happening around the world and low water levels on the Mississippi River, which is an important part for moving agricultural products in this country. River levels are historically low and may stay this way for some time as we head into winter. Low water levels have increased transportation costs as barges cannot be filled full and navigation on the channel is a challenge as some barges have become hung-up on the river bottom.

Seed prices for our main commodity crops are 5-10% higher as seed production costs have obviously increased considerably. Many crop protection products will be 6-10% higher as well as some active ingredient costs and inert ingredient costs are significantly higher. Numerous supply chain management issues plague the crop protection industry. We had some really significant challenges with supply of many crop protection products for 2022. Some products will still be a little tight, but I do not anticipate this issue being as bad for 2023.

Even though input costs are relatively high, you will want to plan to invest in your crops for good yields. Cutting back on necessary inputs, which significantly hinder crop yields will not make good economic sense. Commodity prices are still very good and with average to above average yields, the economics in crop production can still work well! After our recent harvest, many producers told us they were glad they did not cut back on inputs in 2022. By maintaining good agronomic practices, they had enhanced yields which paid them enhanced returns. Feel free to ask our agronomists what may be best for you in your situation.

Planning for 2023

I encourage all producers to make commitments on inputs early and frequently. Besides helping you secure the products you need, early decisions help your cooperative plan for the products and services you expect.

Tar Spot in the Midwest didn’t reduce crop yields as severely as we anticipated. Nonetheless, Tar Spot is still present and will continue to be around in the future, so don’t let your guard down in realizing the importance of minimizing the impact this disease can have on a corn crop.

Similarly, white mold was not as severe in our geography this past year, even though it was present in many fields. Continue using good cultural practices as well as the proper crop protection products to minimize white mold’s impact on your soybean yields.

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