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Historic Fertilizer, Seed, and Chemical Costs with 2019 Projections

Fertilizer, seed, and chemical costs represent a sizable portion of the total costs of producing corn. In this article, costs for these three inputs are reported for the years from 2000 to 2017. Since 2013, fertilizer costs decreased while seed costs remained stable. In recent years, pesticide costs increased. Looking forward into 2019, it seems reasonable to expect pesticide costs to be at higher levels while seed costs may remain stable. At this point, fertilizer costs are difficult to predict.

Total Fertilizer, Seed, and Pesticide Costs

The sum of fertilizer, seed, and pesticide costs are shown in Figure 1 for:

  1. Corn produced on high-productivity farmland in central Illinois (FBFM, Central Illinois). Central Illinois costs are obtained from Illinois Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM) as reported in a publication entitled Revenue and Costs for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Double-Crop Soybeans.
  2. Corn produced in the Heartland region as reported by the Economic Research Service (ERS, Heartland), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Heartland region includes southern Minnesota, eastern South Dakota and Nebraska, Iowa, much of Missouri, Illinois, the western tip of Kentucky, Indiana, and western Ohio (see ERS, Farm Resource Regions). Data are reported on ERS’s website.

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