The Farmer Speaks research study, commissioned by J.L. Farmakis, Inc. and completed on January 15, 2019, by Millennium Research, shows farmers continue to make investments to minimize costs and increase efficiency as they prepare for this season.
The study is focused on Midwestern commercial farms with 500+ acres. Taken all together, crop inputs including seed, fertilizer, and crop protection products are where farmers account for the majority of their changes for 2019.
Farmers in the survey indicate a number of strategies being used to lower seed costs. The most popular include early order discount offers, finance programs, and splitting purchases between competing suppliers. Half the acres will have full-trait packages planted in 2019, relatively unchanged from crop year 2018.
Increased soil sampling and changes in application method or timing, including split or variable rate applications, were the most popular changes planned in the fertilizer category.
For farms with more than 2,000 acres, planting cover crops was planned by 26 percent- twice the rate of less the 2,000 acre farms.
A surprising trend uncovered by the Farmer Speaks study this year was that 500-999 acre farmers have settled on crop protection products for 2019, while 1,000+ acre farmers have significant choices yet to be made. Fungicides, followed by insecticides, are the least committed products at this time.
Equipment is the number one category for changes planned for 2019 with grain trucks being most sought after, followed by tillage tools. The acquisition of equipment was ranked third last year. Trends indicate softening demand for bigger ticket items like combines and high HP tractors, yet 86 percent of 4,000+ acre growers have already acquired or will acquire equipment for 2019.
There are other areas impacting purchases of inputs:
• Interest in adding grain storage is strongest among those with less than 2,000 acres.
• Crop allocation changes are only a major factor with 1,000+ acre farmers.
• Larger operations are more focused on financing required for 2019.
Overall, farmers with 1,000-1,999 acres are making expenditure changes at a rate significantly higher than their peers. The rate of change is twice that of farmers with less than 1,000 acres.
All the changes planned in 2019 indicate a dynamic marketing environment that is more adaptable across the board. For more information about the Farmer Speaks trends report, contact your J.L. Farmakis, Inc. representative or visit www.jlfarmakis.com.