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Minnesota crop farm incomes up in 2012

Minnesota farmers were largely spared from the drought that severely impacted much of the Corn Belt during the summer of 2012, according to an analysis conducted jointly by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and University of Minnesota Extension.

The analysis found that drought-induced high crop prices coupled with above average yields resulted in a profitable year for farmers who participated in the analysis. Overall, median net farm income (the farm's contribution to family living expenses, income taxes, retirement and business growth) was up 47 percent from 2011.

The analysis used data from 2,200 participants in MnSCU farm business management education programs and 110 members of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association.

The analysis found that, despite developing drought conditions during the growing season, corn yields improved over 2011 for these Minnesota producers. Corn averaged 170 bushels per acre, slightly higher than the 10-year average of 166 bushels for participating farms. Soybeans yielded 46 bushels per acre compared to a 10-year average of 41.

Crop prices were also higher than most producers had ever experienced. The average price for corn sales was $6.08 per bushel, compared to $5.17 in 2011 and $3.67 in 2010. Soybeans brought $13.08 per bushel compared to $11.35 and $9.66 the two previous years. Spring wheat sold for $8.18 per bushel compared to $7.24 and $5.03 in the two previous years.

While crop prices were up, so were production costs. For corn, land rental rates increased by 17 percent. Fertilizer was up 26 percent. The total cost to grow an acre of corn was up 13 percent from 2011.

Milk sold for $19.60 per hundredweight compared to $19.96 in 2011. Market hog prices declined from $66 per hundred pounds in 2011 to $63 in 2012. Market beef prices increased from $113 per hundredweight in 2011 to $122 in 2012.

The statewide results are compiled by the Center for Farm Financial Management into the FINBIN database, which can be queried at