Making a cropping plan in a changing market

The Cropping Plan

Wayne and I have started putting together a plan for next year on what the mix is going to be. I’m shifting my mix based on the market, as well as, for my operation, I need more acres. So I’m going to add wheat to the mix to try to achieve that. I’m not a huge wheat fan just because I never gave it a good chance. But Wayne’s not going to let me half-ass it, for lack of a better word.

Down here, we can plant the wheat, cut it, run it through the dryer, and we’re still planting the beans in early- or mid-May. Having the drying capabilities is going to allow me to cut it a lot earlier and get a bean crop and get a double crop. And we can have a respectable yield on our double crop beans.

I tried wheat once on some dryland, and that was the kiss of death. We made money on the wheat and then ate it on the beans. So next season we’re trying a different approach and putting the wheat on some of my better dirt.

I am giving up some corn acres to wheat and beans. I’m going to trim back a little. Not a lot, but a little. And I’m still going to plant my dryland in corn. If I can get in early, the law of averages says it’ll do decent. It makes more than 10-bushel beans. On dryland, if I plant corn, I’m losing less money.      

The Changing Market

Everyone down here is saying, “Well what’ll you plant next year?” And we’re all saying, “I don’t know, nothing works.” There’s no consensus. Nobody really has a clue.

Everyone is really looking hard at the farm bill — the production side and the price side of it. And I think there’s going to be a lot more homework in making decisions. No one has a clue. Some guys are going to go soybeans no matter what. There is a lot of talk of rice. I don’t do rice, but for the guys who are set up for it, rice works.

I think folks down here can get a really good base payment on their rice acres.

I’ve also got friends that are cotton farmers who are thinking of selling their grain equipment and going back to cotton. They got into the corn craze when the prices were good, but a lot of them never were really comfortable with corn. Now they want to go back to something they know. After all, we’re in the Mississippi Delta — cotton is king.