For farms with continuous corn, Schnitkey projected a 181 bu. average yield, and a $219 return to operator and land, which will have to pay any cash rent and provide for the family.
For farms with a 50-50 crop rotation, those soybean acres will provide gross revenue of $616 from a 56 bu. yield. Crop production expenses total $350 in non-land costs, and $266 left over to pay cash rent and family living costs.
For farms with wheat acreage, the per acre revenue is $435, based on a 75 bu. yield and a $5.80 wheat price. Non-land costs are $361, resulting in $74 per acre to pay for cash rent and family living.
While not all land will produce the yields that Schnitkey has used in his calculations, he went through the same process for lesser productive land, and reports, “Returns in 2014 budgets suggest returns will be the highest for the corn-soybean rotation in all regions. In northern Illinois, for example, corn-soybeans has a $275 per acre operator and land return, corn-corn-soybeans has a $264 return, and continuous corn has a $219 per acre return. These projected returns could signal a move towards more soybeans in Illinois in 2014.”
Regardless of the crop rotation and the productivity of the land in terms of yield, Schnitkey indicates that expected crop prices in 2014 may be insufficient to pay current rates of cash rent, and have any money left over to pay for family living expenses.