Growers can determine best conditions to replant corn crop

Spring has come to the Delta again and it is time to plant crops. One planting decision that occurs to everyone at some time is that of replanting. Specifically the question that can be asked is, “How much of my yield can I lose from a reduced stand before I need to replant?”

If we are talking about the economics of the situation, then the answer depends on a number of things. Some of which would be:

  • Projected price of the crop grown.
  • The projected yield of the crop when initially planted.
  • The projected or budgeted total direct or out-of-pocket costs for the production season — seed, technology fees, herbicides, insecticides, irrigation (if any), fuel, fertilizer, etc.
  • The projected cost to replant — seed, seed treatments or in-furrow treatments, field operations, fuel, labor, etc.

We could look at the problem as an exercise in math and logic and see what we get. We want to know the reduced yield (RY) such that:

(RY) × (P) - (DC) = (Y) × (P) - (DC) - (RC)

Reduced yield (RY) times crop price (P) minus direct cost to raise the crop (DC) is equal to the original projected yield (Y) times crop price (P) minus direct cost (DC) minus cost to replant (RC). This is the problem that must be solved for any crop.

We are writing about the problem as it relates to replanting a corn crop. Gathering the information we know is required to solve the problem, we will use data from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture online production budgets. These may be found at [1].

The data we will use will come from the budget: Corn, Furrow Irrigated, Loamy Soils, Arkansas, 2006 — AG-885. The budgeted direct cost for the crop is $419.44 per acre per year. It is assumed that an ideal stand will contain 28,500 plants and will yield 179 bushels of corn per acre at harvest.

This article looks at four different alternatives relating to the cost of replanting.

The first scenario illustrates the producer bearing 100 percent of all replant costs ($75.73 per acre) and not paying any land rent.

In the second scenario, the seed company will pay for one-half of the replant seed cost while the producer will pay for one trip over the field with a row conditioner, in-furrow insecticide, tractor, planter, fuel, and other planting costs, and will not pay any land rent.

In the second scenario, the producer's portion of replant cost will be $52.13 per acre while the seed company will pay $23.60 per acre, the producer pays no rent. The third scenario is like the first scenario except there is a 75 percent/25 percent crop-share rent in effect.

The fourth scenario is like the second scenario except for a 75 percent/25 percent crop-share rent.

The accompanying table shows answers from solving the replanting problem for various projected corn prices. As corn becomes cheaper or the producer receives less of the total yield, a greater percent of yield can be lost before it is economically feasible to replant the crop.

For example, if corn is projected to bring $1.75 per bushel at harvest, the producer can lose up to 16 percent of the stand before a replant becomes feasible if the producer bears 100 percent of the expense and a 75 percent/25 percent crop-share rent arrangement is in force.

On the other hand, as the price of corn increases or the producer receives more of the total yield, less yield can be lost until replant is the better decision.

For example, if the corn price is projected to be $2.35 per bushel, only 9 percent of the yield can be lost before it is time to replant if the producer bears all expense and pays no rent.

Also, the less cost the producer is required to bear, the more quickly it becomes feasible to replant.

For example if the projected corn price is $2.05 per bushel and the seed company will bear 50 percent of the replant seed costs and the producer pays no rent, a 7 percent or greater stand loss would trigger replanting the field.

If a 75 percent/25 percent crop share rent were paid under this scenario, a 10 percent yield loss would suggest a replant.

This analysis assumes that the entire field will be replanted. Any spot-planting was not considered.

All effort needs to be taken to make decisions as efficiently as possible. For further information, contact your local Extension personnel, state Extension specialists, or the authors of this article.

Rob Hogan, Scott Stiles and Kelly Bryant are University of Arkansas Extension economists. Comments or questions? Call 870-460-1091 or e-mail [email protected] [2].

Replant breakeven for two cost responsibilities and various corn prices.
Crop price Producer bears 100% replant cost No rent Seed company bears 50% of seed cost No rent Producer bears 100% replant cost 75% crop share Seed company bears 50% of seed cost 75% crop share
$/bu Percent yield lost Percent yield lost Percent yield lost Percent yield lost
$1.75 12% 9% 16% 11%
$1.90 11% 8% 15% 10%
$2.05 11% 7% 14% 10%
$2.20 10% 7% 13% 9%
$2.35 9% 6% 12% 8%