Home 5 Ag Stories Weather, cost and markets impact in-field profitability most

Weather, cost and markets impact in-field profitability most

Photo courtesy of the Trade Promotion Council of India

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports the number of farms declined by 8,000 from 2015. The number of farms in Iowa decreased by 500, bringing the total to 87,000. An Iowa farm organization is helping growers retain profitability, so they do not become part of these statistics.

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) offered farmers in-field profitability advice at the Iowa Soybean Association Farmer Research Conference. Suzanne Fey, ISA data analyst, talked to growers about the association’s In-Field Profitability Assessment. The assessment analyzed 144 fields with at least three-years of data.

“One of the main things we wanted to find out was, ‘Is there a magic bullet?’ Were there things we could look at regularly to determine what areas of a field were going to be profitable or less profitable,” Fey said. “In some cases, there were factors that were largely influential. In many cases, it was a combination of factors or the combination was so vast, it was impossible to determine a single or couple things responsible for the overall profitability in a field.”

The In-Field Assessment claims weather, cost to conduct business and market prices greatly impact in-field profitably. Fey says ISA works to help Iowa growers mitigate risk and add profitability to their farming operation.

“No two fields are exactly alike, and each field has its own areas that less profitable than others. In some cases, those areas may not be suitable for farming even though they’ve been farmed over time. (By) using in-field profitability assessment tools, farmers can determine whether it makes sense for them to continue farming some of those areas or whether they want to consider putting them into CRP, pollinator acres or something of that nature,” Fey said.

Furthermore, ISA offers growers online risk management tools.

“Our analytics team has come up with a fungicide calculator that can determine whether use of fungicide is going to be profitable on your field or not. We also have a tool that looks at risk of nitrogen loss which is connected to the Iowa (Environmental) Mesonet during May and June and is updated daily on rainfall – to assess the probability that your field will have enough nitrogen,” Fey said.