For 2015, work to protect yields and find ways to be strategic.
How will 2014 shape the 2015 season, and why was there such a price drop for corn this year? The truth is that prices were unusually high from 2011 to 2013 for several reasons: increasing ethanol production, strong imports from China and a severe U.S. drought in 2012. These factors led to greatly increased prices, but now the ethanol market and imports to China have stabilized, and the current prices are likely to be here for quite a while.
Michael Langemeier, director, Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University, believes that while the irrigated corn acre will remain the mainstay, non-irrigated acres will see more of a 50/50 corn-soybean split, with some areas increasing soybean acres or wheat in the far southern climates.
A record-high 84.8 million acres of soybeans were planted in 2014, up 11 percent from 2013. On the other side of the coin, corn acres showed a four percent reduction at 91.6 million acres, the lowest planted acreage reported in the United States since 2010. However, Langemeier says that growers are looking at losses for both corn and soybeans in 2014.
“Most costs for 2015 are projected to remain the same,” he said. “With lower prices and costs at an even point, the elephant in the room is what’s going to happen with cash rents. They usually don’t adjust down that quickly, but there will need to be some small adjustments in upcoming years.”
Find Ways To Protect Yields
“With lower commodity prices, growers need to find ways to be successful,” says Jody Wynia, corn marketing manager at Bayer CropScience. “The key is to protect the yield you have and find ways to be strategic. An early fungicide application can be made with a postemergence herbicide application, thus lessening your application cost and helping to control both pests.”
■ Make the most of irrigated acres.
■ Expect costs to remain about the same.
■ Reevaluate potential tankmix partners to determine if applications can be reduced.
■ Adopt a zero-tolerance mindset for resistant weeds.
■ Expect to need an early fungicide application.
Another postemergence product is Laudis herbicide. If using Laudis following an application of Corvus, add another herbicide with a different mode of action, such as atrazine, to ensure you are using multiple modes of action in your weed control, Wynia says. If you do apply Laudis as the second pass of a two-pass program, consider including a fungicide in the tankmix, too. For example, Laudis can be tankmixed with Stratego YLD fungicide and applied from the V4 to V7 growth stages, optimizing weed and disease control with fewer passes.
Be Diligent In Looking For Cost-Effective Strategies
“The conditions were just right for disease development this year,” Wynia says. “Once disease is present in your field, you can control any further injury, but nothing will repair the damage. Growers who did not spray and spray early felt the impact to their bottom line.”
For weed control, producers have to be diligent about putting down a preemergence herbicide for burndown to give the field a clean start, followed by a postemergence application to control any remaining yield-robbing pests.
“Growers are finding if they have resistance, they can’t get away with a one-pass program anymore,” Wynia says. “The only answer is to have zero tolerance for weeds in their fields.”
Information provided by Bayer CropScience.