Key Factors for Crop Season Planning At Miles Farms

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23 Jan 242m 45sPremium Content

Matt Miles details the decision-making process he uses to determine the crop selection on his farm in 2024. He talks about how he uses harvest data, input costs, market trends and more to make the right crop choices for his farm.

So I'm sitting here tonight trying to figure out what I'm going to do for 2024. Here in the Delta, we have the opportunity to grow, you know, four different major crops, corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton. So there's a little bit more goes into, uh, you know, our analysis, I guess, than, than some areas of the country, because some areas of the country can just grow corn and beans. So we have four different crops to, to try to juggle around and see what, you know, what we can do with, we start that by looking at previous year's data, uh, including the 23 data. So our 23 data we're looking at, um, is trying to figure out some of the new inputs we've put in, um, what the ROI is on those inputs. Also looking at the trends, you know, as far as the past. So we try to establish a five year average on our crops, and that's what we go with going into 24. We have, we kind of have a five step, uh, process that we use to look at this. So number one, not being one of the five is, is analyzing the data that we had from the last year or the previous crops. And your data's only as good as what you put in. We, you know, we've started working with operations center with the, uh, John Deere system and that seems to be the thing that we've had the best luck with. Uh, we've got our guys that, that operate the machinery that puts everything in correctly. Look at last year's data. Uh, we look at previous year's data. We look at the ROI on the inputs or new inputs. What is our grower standard practice? Uh, what is our average yield? So we've kind of got a five step process we go through to decide what we're going to do the following year. Uh, we start with input cost is one of the biggest determinations of what we're going to do the following year. What did it cost to grow the crop? What is our average yield? So if we're looking at a, you know, a five year average, and then we're looking at our input cost, we just subtract the input cost from the five year average yield, and then we've got to get into, uh, you know, what that, what that market's gonna be. So we start with the assessing the input cost, and then the crop performance. Those are the first two things that we work on. What is, what is that five year average gonna be on that crop? And what is the inputs gonna be on that crop, whether we've added new ones to it. We always want to analyze the data from the previous year. If we spent $20 an acre on a new, on some new input costs, are we picking up, you know, plus 20 from that? If we're not picking up plus 20 from that, then it's something that needs to go, you know, go, go by the wayside. So, you know, we're looking at input costs, we're looking at crop performance. That's number one. Number two, then we've gotta look at the markets of what's gonna happen in the following year. So in 24, you know, basically I take the day that I start trying to Analyze this data, I take the price that the, that corn's gonna be in September. Beans are gonna be in November. Cotton's gonna be in December, and Rice is gonna be in, you know, anywhere from September to to December. Rice is kind of a specialty pro, uh, specialty crops. So it's really hard to track the markets on that. So we look at the, you know, at the domestic market, we look at the global markets. Uh, we have a market advisor that kind of helps us look at that, you know, as far as in the future. So we're trying to take a crystal ball and figure out that price, but you've gotta start somewhere, you know, you know, as well as I do that, you know, weather in Brazil, uh, weather on our own crops, weather in the Midwest versus the Delta, um, you know, those all make a, a huge difference in what the market's gonna be. Plus the, you know, you never know about the political side. You know, we're gonna get into it with a, with another country that imports from us and, and they say, well, we're not taking your crop anymore, or vice versa, you know, are we gonna get a, are we going to become best buddies with a country? And they're saying, you know, we're going to, we're gonna import 20% more than they did before. But you can't really, you've gotta just pick a, a spot and you've gotta go with that market. So we establish us a price based, you know, somewhere in the January or February range of what we think it's gonna be at harvest time. We take the input cost from the previous year, and we do analyze that to see if there's anything going down. Diesel this year is gonna be a little cheaper than it was last year. Fertilizer looks like it's gonna be, you know, pretty close to the same, maybe down a little bit. So we'll take each one of those inputs, we'll go into the big screen and put all this up, Lana put all this up on the big screen and we'll kind of play with where we think those projections will be. And of course, you know, we're wrong. Some we're not always, uh, we don't have a, like I say, we don't have a crystal ball to do this with. So then we look at one of the most important things we do, which is rotation. We tend to do a better job if we're at a corn, soybean cotton rotation as far as our sandier soils, and then with our, uh, higher CEC soils, rice and soybeans. So that's something we look at, you know, really heavy is our rotation. I've always been a stickler to make sure that we rotate, you know, we pick up five bushels an acre, probably on beans following corn, uh, probably three bushels of beans behind cotton. So when we're looking at this and we're having to analyze it and look at some soybeans behind soybeans, you know, we may stay status quo from there. So we're looking at that. And then finally, the, the, the fifth step would be to make that crop selection. So we're, you know, we've gotta order seed. We, there's a lot of things we gotta do prior to the crop coming. So we're ordering seed, trying to figure out what we're gonna do, guessing the market, looking at input costs from last year and making a decision for 24. Now, the cool thing about our area is last year when we got to time to plant, uh, soybeans and co and cotton, we actually transferred about 600 acres from one crop to the other. So we do have some wiggle room there. Uh, we're able to trans, you know, to kind of move that seed around and maybe not take as much corn, but, but take beans or, or cotton or whatever we do. So it's a pretty in depth, um, and look at what we're doing and, and, and trying to figure out the, the best way to make that work. Having the different multiple crops that we have here gives us a better chance to have a little diversification. But there's some years where you've gotta look at how are you gonna pay the bank back? How are you gonna make your equipment payments? And, you know, that's what we're looking at this year is what is it gonna take to, to make, to make that work. Something that you really need to consider too, when you're looking at this, you know, a guy in the Midwest, uh, Kelly can, Kelly can do better on corn than he can on soybeans. I can do better on soybeans than I can on corn. So you've gotta figure out on your farm what works best for you, your area, your weather, um, you know, all the different determinations that, that, that you have there, and what your crop would be. That's what you gotta decide on. And then you gotta, you gotta remember that you gotta pay the bank back. So, you know, whatever you bring to the, to the, uh, market is what you're gonna be able to pay your loans with.

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