Grower Resource: Balancing Inputs and Profitability

BY David Schiff | April 25, 2016 - 

Inputs and profitability: what do you put in and what do you get out?

A recent university-led study that looked at how higher inputs affected yield and profitability generated some interesting results. (BTW, hats off to UW-Madison graduate student David Marburger (soon to be an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University) and professor Shawn Conley for being part of this impressive team.)

In a nutshell: while higher inputs can significantly increase yield they may not boost your bottom line.

The study summary, which you can read in full here, says this about conditions in WI:

  1. Higher input management systems significantly increased yield on average in Wisconsin
  2. Although yields increased, the probability of breaking even or ahead was less than ten percent for most of the studied yield/sale price combinations.
  3. Cultivar selection and high-input system use rarely coincided. This suggests you can keep these two major management decisions independent.

This broad study considers growers in the North, Central and South regions. Different areas show different results, which suggests the value of large coordinated studies that help provide area-specific information.

If the link above isn’t working you for, try copying and pasting this from Shawn Conley’s blog:


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