Western Nebraska break-even prices lower in 2014 | TSLN.com

Western Nebraska break-even prices lower in 2014

Jessica Johnson
UNL Extension Educator
and Roger Wilson
UNL Extension

The 2014 Nebraska Crop Budgets have been expanded from previous editions and are now available online at http://cropwatch.unl.edu/economics/budgets.

This year’s package includes 66 budgets, including 21 budgets specific to the Nebraska Panhandle. New cost estimates for the Panhandle include alfalfa, gravity-irrigated corn, dryland field peas, and dryland millet.

Prices of inputs were generally higher in this year’s budgets with some notable exceptions, including nitrogen fertilizer and glyphosate herbicides. Production costs for crops that use a lot of nitrogen and/or Roundup Ready® technologies were moderated by these price reductions.

At the same time, increased land prices put upward pressure on production costs for all crops. The increase in real-estate prices in western Nebraska were generally more modest than farm land price increases in the east, so the effect of higher land prices was not as pronounced for the Panhandle commodity budgets. Center-pivot-irrigated land saw the largest increase in the Panhandle, a 23-percent increase to a 2014 average value of $3,115 per acre.

Costs of production decreased for almost all Panhandle crops. However, conventional-tillage dry edible beans’ break-even price increased 2 percent, and no-till irrigated wheat increased 7 percent.


Center-pivot-irrigated corn yielding 180 bushels, budget 26, has an estimated 2014 break-even price of $4.49 per bushel here in western Nebraska, down 3 percent from 2013. One reason for the drop in production costs is a change in how corn seed was priced. In past years these budgets have used the listed price for corn seed, even though most producers were getting discounts. The 2014 budgets reflect these discounts. Gravity-irrigated corn yielding 180 bushels, budget 22, has an estimated break-even price of $4.04 per bushel.

Dry Beans

The three dry edible bean budgets were adjusted to more accurately reflect practices in the growing areas. The first dry-bean budget (budget 30, dry beans with a wheat cover crop) was modified to reflect a reduced tillage system. This helped decrease the break-even point by 6 percent to $23.61 per hundredweight. A change in budget 31, gravity-irrigated conventional tillage, increased the break-even cost estimate 2 percent to $23.69. Finally, the conventional-tillage, center-pivot-irrigated dry bean budget break-even estimate was down 3 percent to $23.59 per hundredweight.


Four fully revised sugarbeet budgets replaced 2013 estimates. These budgets reflect conventional and one-pass tillage systems, on both gravity and center- pivot- irrigated land. The break-even costs range from $32.88 to $38.02, down 10 to 14 percent from the 2013 estimates published in the Sugarbeet Production Guide.


No major changes were made to the sunflower budgets. Dryland no-till sunflowers (budget 57) decreased 18 percent from 2013 to $17.81 per hundredweight. Ecofallow sunflowers estimates (budget 58) dropped 16 percent to $16.23 per hundredweight. An irrigated no-till sunflower (budget 59) was added to the 2014 packet with a break-even price of $14.84 per hundredweight.


Decreased herbicide prices helped lower production cost estimates for the three dryland wheat budgets (61-63) between 7 and 10 percent, depending on the system. No-till wheat after dry edible beans also decreased, but only by 4 percent to $5.65 per bushel. Another irrigated wheat budget, irrigated wheat in rotation, was added in 2014 with a break-even price of $5.13 per bushel.

Peas and Millet

A dryland pea budget (43) was added to the 2014 budget packet, with an estimated break-even price of 5.57 per bushel. Millet was also a new addition, with a break-even of 4.72.

With a lower outlook on commodity prices in 2014, understanding your operation’s cost of production will be pivotal to profitability. All of the 2014 Nebraska Crop Budgets can be downloaded in Microsoft Excel format http://cropwatch.unl.edu/economics/budgets and are fully editable.

Have questions or suggestions? Call Jessica Johnson at 308-632-1247. F

–UNL Extension

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