Skip to main content

Corn and Soybean Input Costs Benchmark Median, Top 10%, Bottom 10% and Difference

By David Bau, Extension Educator

In 2014 and 2015 average total inputs costs divided by yields were higher than the average market price received by farmers in Minnesota who are part of the Adult Farm Management program. Farmers are not able to control market prices but are able to set up a marketing plan to take advantage of when favorable prices are available. Farmers are able to have control of input costs. The two charts in this article are figures from FINBIN data base in a benchmark reports for soybean and corn.

Chart 1 lists 2015 Soybean Input costs by Median value, average of the bottom 10% compared to average of top 10% and then lists the difference between the top and bottom 10%.

Chart 1. 2015 Top Verses Bottom 10% of Soybean Input Costs

In Chart 1, you can compare the difference between the top 10% and the bottom 10% of 1200 farmers in the Adult Farm Management programs. At the bottom of the chart lists the median value, bottom 10% which are the highest input cost group and the top 10% which are the lowest input costs. The final row of numbers is the difference between the bottom and top 10% in each category and totals a combined $687.63 difference. Now a farmer cannot be expected to have the lowest cost in each category without giving up yield potential, but it does indicate the amount of variation in each input cost. An individual farmer’s cost usually is all over the board in the various columns which are broken down into 10 columns representing a group of every 10% and I have only listed the extremes in Chart 1. The total of the median values total $413.48, the bottom 10% total $816.27 and the top 10% total $128.28. It would be nice to be able to grow soybeans for $128.28 per acre but the average farmer spends close to the median value of $413.48, the difference between these two figures is not really achievable by the average farmer in Minnesota, looking at the highest costs of the bottom 10% of $816.27 compared to the median values leaves $402.79 of difference in input costs. If and where to lower inputs costs without lowering yields is the farmer’s challenge. The median sale price was close to $8.50 and assuming an average yield of 50 bushels per acre generates $425 income which would translates into a small profit of $11.52 per acre.

Figures for 2015 corn inputs are listed in Chart 2.  The total median values are $623.33, total bottom 10% input costs total $1155.21 with the top 10% totaling $227.12, leaving a difference of $928.09.  Examining the highest costs of the bottom 10% of $1155.21 compared to the median values leaves $752.42 of difference in input costs.

Using 180 bushels of corn at $3.50 price generates $630 income leaving $6.67 above median input costs.  Median rents were $189.87 for soybeans and $200 for corn, many rents were well above these figures with the top 10% rents for soybeans of $301.83 and $311.82 for corn. Rents are the highest input cost for both crops.

The next highest difference in input costs can be found in fertilizer, hired labor, chemicals, repairs and seed.

Chart 2. 2015 Top Verses Bottom 10% of Corn Input Costs

Print Friendly and PDF