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• Despite problems with the 2011 crop, a predicted shortage in edible peanuts and subsequent high prices will likely influence more South Carolina farmers to try peanuts and will encourage those already growing the crop to expand their acreage in 2012.
• The high prices expected for peanuts in 2012 — some contend up to $1,000 a ton — may cloud the judgment of some growers.
Higher input costs
The high price will surely come with higher input costs and managing these costs is the real key to making a profit.
Managing the cost of producing a crop, whether it be peanuts, cotton or any other crop, is getting more and more critical and this year’s weather has not made accurate cost assessment easy.
About 10 years ago, Perrow was one of the first to join Syngenta’s AgriEdge program. Such programs, he says, can be a big asset in both difficult and prosperous times.
“The AgriEdge program really opened my eyes as to just how much things cost from year to year. When you start breaking cost down, piece by piece, it gives you a clear idea of how much it costs to produce a crop.
“I can talk to one of my farmers, and he will tell me it costs $500 an acre for cotton and another says it costs $300 an acre to grow cotton, but too often they don’t really know the total input costs that go into the crop,” Perrow says.
“The AgriEdge program started in 2002 in the Southeast. Its history goes back to a program, Project Yield, which started with six cotton growers in the Delta,” says Randy Johnson, who manages the program for Syngenta.
“The Agri-Edge program is similar and was developed for the Southeast by long-time farmer and agri-businessman Pete Clark. They built the offline computer program from the ground up. It allows a grower to track anything imaginable that you want to track on the farm,” Johnson says.
“For example, a grower can go out on March 5, burndown with Touchdown or 2,4-D, and then he can go into the program and input the rates and cost. It has a financial side that allows you to put in the cost. At the end of the year, the compilation of all these costs gives you an average per acre cost,”he adds.
“Over the 10 years or so I’ve been in the program, the cost of producing a crop has gone up an average of 2-3 percent per year. Some years, some chemicals come down in cost and others go up, but on average the cost of growing a crop is going up,” Perrow says.
Depending on factors like whether you own your land or rent your farm land, what crops you grow, and hundreds of other factors the cost of growing a cotton crop ranges from $300 to $500. With this program, you know exactly what it should cost you to grow a crop, he says.