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Ag economic insights: trends in crop protection expenses

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Earlier this fall, we wrote two posts (here and here) reviewing trends in corn and soybean seed expense. While the upward trend in expense per acre was not surprising to most readers, the rapid change in other seed expense metrics – such as expense per bushel, share of total expenses, or share of budgeted revenue- was perhaps more revealing. These posts prompted reader questions about crop protection expense trends and, in this week’s post, we review these for corn and soybean production.

Crop Protection Expense – Corn

Before diving into the charts, a comment about the data. The USDA’s ERS publishes national cost of production data for corn and soybeans. Data used for this week’s posts were reported as “chemical expense.” Admittedly, this is a broad category. Furthermore, these data are a national average.

Figure 1 shows real, or inflation-adjusted, crop protection expense for corn production since 1975 (in orange, left axis). Overall, inflation-adjusted crop protection expense has trended lower over time. In 2017 dollars, crop protection expenses of more than $40 per acre were common before 2000. Since 2000, crop protection expense has been less than $40 per acre. The expenses even dipped below $30 per acre for several years.


See full article at Agropages