Can strong commodity prices offset input costs?

June 14, 2022
Strong commodity prices should influence crop protection plans this year. CHS Agronomy Technical Specialist Codee Lee shares what you can do now to capitalize on increased revenue potential. 

Another spring with dynamic weather conditions meant that some farmers got a late start planting this season. Conditions across the country are still variable and crop development progress reflects that variability.

Codee Lee, a CHS agronomy technical specialist based in North Dakota, says environmental conditions caused some growers to change their crop production plans and some preemergence weed applications did not get applied. That means growers will need to be extra vigilant with crop management plans as the season rolls on. He says that advice also applies to farmers whose crops are further along, since continuing crop management throughout the season is an important part of reaching yield potential at harvest.

Invest in yield support

Lee says that although input prices are relatively high compared to recent years, rising commodity prices can make the investment worthwhile. “High commodity prices can offset input costs, so I’m encouraging farmers to chase high yields by protecting their crop and providing it with the right nutrients at the right time to capitalize on wider profit margins.”

“It’s critical to have a crop protection plan because of the yield hit weed, insects and diseases can inflict, says Lee. The Weed Science Society of America estimates that an average of $40 billion in farm revenue is lost every year due to weed pressure reducing yield.

Stay on top of fertility

Soil testing can help gauge the fertility baseline and guide fertilizer recommendations based on desired yield goals. But Lee says applying the proper nutrients isn’t enough; crop nutrient placement and timing are critical to optimizing crop response.

“Once you understand the crop’s nutritional needs, the plan should shift to fertility placement and trying to get fertilizer applied so it is as available to the plants as possible.”

Nutrient enhancement products, including nitrogen stabilizers and chelated micronutrients, can help optimize nutrient availability, he adds. “Nitrogen stabilizers keep more nitrogen in the root zone by preventing volatility, leaching and denitrification, while chelated micronutrients help improve nutrient plant availability and prevent phosphorus tie-up in the soil. Farmers may also consider foliar micronutrient applications to supplement deficiencies in season to ensure more efficient plant uptake,” says Lee.

Many farmers apply micronutrients with herbicide and fungicide applications, which is an effective strategy, says Lee. “Many micronutrients are not mobile in the soil, limiting plant uptake. Supplementing that nutrition throughout the season with a foliar application can be a nice fit.”