Agricultural economists are urging growers to calculate estimated budgets for the 2014 cropping year and again are offering a free guide to help with the process.

The 2014 Purdue University Crop Cost and Return Guide, which is available for free download from the Center for Commercial Agriculture website at https://www.agecon.purdue.edu/commercialag/resources/index.html, offers estimated costs for planting, growing and harvesting a variety of crops, as well as estimated contribution margins and earnings.

The guide is frequently updated as grain futures prices change and the costs of inputs, such as seed, fertilizer, chemicals and fuel, fluctuate.

According to Michael Langemeier, Purdue Extension agricultural economist, there are two main drivers in the 2014 guide compared with the 2013 edition — falling grain prices and fertilizer costs.

"The expected drop in corn, soybean and wheat prices is having a large negative impact on market revenue and contribution margins," he said. "More positive is the expected continued decline in fertilizer costs. Fertilizer prices are quite a bit lower right now compared to what they were last fall when we were working on the 2013 guide."

 

You can check current crop commodity prices now.

 

According to guide estimates, revenues for rotation corn on average-productivity land could fall by $140 per acre compared with 2013. Rotation soybean revenues on average-productivity land could fall by $35 per acre.

Those changes in grain prices and input costs mean it's even more important for growers to estimate their budgets for the next year, Langemeier said. As it looks now, rotation soybeans could be more profitable than continuous corn for some farmers in the coming year.