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As Commodity Prices Rocket Up, Where are Farmers Spending Extra Capital?

A far cry from this time last year, farmers are actually asking the question ‘what should I add?’ versus ‘what do I need to cut?’ With skyrocketing commodity prices, farmers have the opportunity to experiment again with new practices at a lower risk.

“It’s back to the conversation of what if I add this,” says Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal field agronomist. “Which tells me, from a profitability side, they’re starting to calculate some better margins.”

Here are a few of the areas Ferrie and Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer are fielding questions about.

Branded herbicides. “We’re seeing more locking into specific products—a lot less generics are being looked at than the past few years,” Bauer explains. “Especially in the herbicide side of it, maybe not as much in the fungicides.”

She says farmers she’s talked to want the support found with branded products. Many farmers had to re-spray acres in 2020 and with that memory fresh in many minds, branded products are often more appealing.

Fungicides. “[Guys have asked] what do you think about doing fungicide across all of my acres?” Ferrie says. Over the past few years, fungicide has more often been an in-season decision, more reactionary. However, with extra cash in-hand some farmers are interested in pre-ordering.

In-furrow additives. “We’re getting more questions on in-furrow products, additives like biologicals,” Bauer says. “There’s a lot of push anytime corn price goes up for these types of products.”

Perhaps considered a risky experiment to some when prices are lower, in-furrow options could be added to many farmer repertoires this year. Biologicals and other additives can be defensive, protect against seed- and root-attacking pests, or stimulating and help with fertilizer uptake or abiotic stressors.

Planter upgrades. “There’s a lot of interest in upgrading the corn planter and even tractors,” Ferrie says. Getting the seed placed right is the first step to high yields and farmers are wanting to maximize that opportunity with better closing systems, fertilizer systems and other technology upgrades.



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