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Nebraska's 2024 crop budgets - A balance of higher and lower costs
Nebraska Ag Connection - 11/20/2023

The agricultural landscape in Nebraska is set for a dynamic change in 2024, as the latest crop budgets suggest a mixed bag of cost projections. While field operation expenses are expected to rise, there's a silver lining with some material input costs, fertilizer prices, predicted to be lower compared to 2023.

The projections for corn production are influenced by a 20%-40% reduction in fertilizer costs, coupled with improved application practices, resulting in five pounds less nitrogen usage. Cost scenarios will vary among producers due to input purchase timing and market fluctuations.

Farmers and stakeholders can access Nebraska crop budgets via various channels, including a 96-page PDF report, an Excel file, and links to the Agricultural Budget Calculator program, which allows for personalized adjustments for specific farm operations.

Understanding these budget projections is important for managing financial risks related to yield, input prices, and market changes. Developing a baseline for production costs is essential for leveraging market opportunities, making informed input decisions, and executing timely risk management strategies.

Nebraska's 2024 budgets cover 15 crops, including alfalfa, peas, millet, sugarbeets, sunflowers, and cover crops. Corn, wheat, and soybeans are the most widely grown crops, with a three to four percent decrease in estimated economic costs per bushel compared to the previous year. This reduction is mainly due to lower fuel and fertilizer prices.

With a 14% rise in land values and increased machinery prices, the overall economic costs for corn and wheat show only modest changes. Soybean production budgets, not including fertilizer inputs, display smaller cash cost variations year-over-year. Yet, the total economic costs per bushel for soybeans are marginally higher on both dryland and irrigated lands compared to the previous year.

This mixed review of the 2024 crop budgets underscores the ever-evolving nature of agricultural economics and the importance of strategic planning and adaptability in farm management.

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