Please note that the tables and data points in this post were excerpted from Choices, a publication of Purdue: Forces Affecting Change in Crop Production Agriculture. (h/t Stu Ellis)
- 75% of the value of primary field crop production—corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, sorghum, and barley oats—is produced by 40% of U.S. farms
- Corn yields increased from an average of 55 bushels per acre in 1960 to 165 bushels in 2009—a 300% increase in 50 years.
- Wheat and soybean yields have seen 215% and 169% increases, respectively, over the same period.
- Variable costs of corn production have declined on a real basis from $0.94 per bushel in 1975 to an estimated $0.63 per bushel in 2005.
- Producers are adopting larger pieces of equipment and more sophisticated technologies.
- Some estimate the time to plant and harvest the crop, two of the most time consuming operations, has been cut in half in the last decade, allowing producers to effectively manage more acres within one operation
- The major supplies, or inputs, for grain/oilseed producers are genetics, crop chemicals, equipment, fertilizers and land.
- Nonfamily labor on farms is becoming a more important input as well.
- However, in general, producers are able to substitute capital equipment for labor.