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hanso612

Cost of leaving standing corn?

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With corn prices high and fuel through the roof what's a fair price to offer my renter to leave standing corn?

How many rows and how long for each row is a resonable request and at what size patch next to a creek with a CRP buffer do you think it starts to help hold birds for hunting? Thanks, Hans

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Depending on the location, variety, and growing conditions the expected yield could be anywhere from 100 to 200 bushels per acre. Then add the negative effect spring tillage will have on next year's crops.

Find out what a bushel of corn is worth, consider the next year's loss by leaving it in the field, and offset it by what the farmer might save in harvesting cost this year and you might come up with a relatively close idea.

Or, you might just offer to lease that portion of land from him. Find out what ag land is renting for in your area. Around here I've heard values anywhere from $50 to $300 per acre depending on soil quality.

Bob

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Hans, from the sound of your post, you own the land and are renting it to the farmer, correct?

Here's what I did. I had two parcels that I rented to the local farmer. One was 20 acres, land around here is hilly and not the greatest, he offered me $70 an acre rent. I let him rent it for $60 an acre but he had to leave two acres of corn, plus he only has to pay rent on the 18 acres. So it cost me the reduced rent, 20x$10=$200, plus lost rent on 2 acres, 2x$70=$140, so $340 in all. That sounds like a lot but if I would have had to put it in myself, my cost for fertilizer and fuel and spray and diesel fuel would have been $300 or more, so I'm happy with the deal.

Then I also had a 4 acre field that he could access by jumping the line fence, I let him farm that for nothing, but he had to leave an acre of corn. He got a good deal here but this is the first year that I dealt with this farmer, I 'made him an offer he couldn't refuse'. Now next year, with me threatening to put it into CRP, he has to make me an offer that I can't refuse!! smile I've told him that he doesn't have to match CRP because I realize how expensive it is to get the crops in the ground, but he has to plan to leave 2-3 acres of food plot every year.

As to how much to leave, it depends on your deer population. If you have a lot, then you need at least a couple of acres or they'll have it cleaned out by Jan. 1.

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Actually, to till, seed, fertilize, control weeds, and control pests 20 acres of corn would cost you considerably more than $300.00. I don't grow corn but I would guess it costs more than soybeans to get to harvest and soybeans cost me all of $70.00/acre without considering a labor rate or land rent/value. That's over $1,400.00 per acre for my soybeans and corn is higher.

Bob

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Both answers seem believable. I couldn't begin to put in an acre of corn on my non rented property for anything close to 3oo, but when the crp rate is 118 and the whole farm only generates a few thousand in rental income(divide the total number of acres by the total rent to get a per acre price for acre) the number has to be closer to that 300 real cost to the renter.

Whats a guy to do?

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Bob, I think you misunderstood my numbers. I figure it cost me $340 in lost rent revenue in order to get the renter to leave two acres of corn standing. If I had tried to plant and fertilize that myself I'm sure the cost would have been just as much or more, so to me it was a good deal.

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For an Acre of Corn Input

Seed...90

Fert...133

Chem...35

Fuel...30

My point is that it takes about $400 to $475 to put in an acre of corn. Your rent adds on to that. In the last three years the inputs of crops have gone up 25-35% annually.

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So if I want to take an acre out of production the math would be divide the renters profit from the full acreage by the number of acres to get the profit on one acre. Then subtract the the input costs from that profit.

I have trouble doing the math because the renters profit is a moving target. Any idea how to get this info?

Or is it better to subtract the per acre rent payment from the year end bill-not worrying about the inputs because there won't be any and finding a way to come up with the lost profit figure and them adding that figure to the cost of taking an acre out of production?

How much is a farmer making per acre on class c land in Murray co for corn and beans historically.

When you talk to farmers at the cafe they say they are bearly scrapeing by- meaning low profit per acre and the math in option one might end up with the renter geting close to nothing if input costs are that high.

In option two the renter intuitively, will try to inflate his profit numbers to get the higher payout-so what's the real answer? Hans

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One more thought. I know taking an acre out of production and leaving an acre of corn are to completely different things. The goverment pays farmers 118 to two hundred bucks an acre not to farm. Many farmers and landowners take this deal telling me the cost is close to that price. But according to the figures we are talking about the cost to take an acre out of production is much higher. At least my renter is reluctant to take two hundred buck to just not farm an acre.

Could I also wait for a bean year and hand broadcast an acre of millet,corn, milo food plot mix into the bean stubble and get a reasonable food plot at a reasonable price that would be productive for years if I added some prairie grass the following spring? Hans

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I think the fairest way with no input from you would be to take a portion of the acres as sharecrop. Usaully in a sharecrop situation the landowner gets 1/3 of the production for the land and the operator gets 2/3. So take 3X the acres you want left and take them off the cash rent portion of your lease. Now the farmer gets the production on 2/3 of those acres with no cash rent and you get the production that is left with no out of pocket. He can have the production that may be left after the season or in spring.

For example: 80 acre field and you want 2 acres left. Cash rent on 74 acres(farmers prefer cash rent). He plants 80 acres. He gets production from 78 acres, you get production from 2 acres left in the field. Although most farmers think acres left as a huge pain to deal with, you are the landowner and he will want to keep the relationship as a neighbor may be ok with it.

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What MLaker3 stated is how the DNR does it when they have the food plots planted on the state WMAs down here in southwest Minnesota. Also in late March or so the farmer can go in and harvest what is left in the food plot and that profit is split 50/50.

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hans, I don't think your hand broadcast of beans or milo is a very good solution, without some chemicals, meaning fertilizer and weed control, it won't amount too much. You may get by the first year because the farmer has been keeping the weeds under control, but once the weeds get in there, thats what you'll have, a weedpatch.

I think that mlaker offered you the best solution, some type of 2/3 for the farmer, 1/3 for you split. How many acres are you dealing with?

With the high cost of planting corn, and then the high dollars you're leaving in the field, I think you'll be seeing less and less food plots left. If a farmer grows corn that produces 150 bushels and acre, times $5 a bushel, thats $750 that you're leaving in the field for the deer and pheasants. Consequently I've experimented with shelled corn feeders, I'm thinking I can buy a lot of shelled corn for $1500 ($750 x two acres). Right now I have two of the over head spinning feeders, my thinking is that I can set the timers for the daytime when pheasants are most active and then the deer can cleanup the rest at night.

It nice having those food plots, especially when you can count 50-60 pheasants in the adjoining wetland in February, but the prices make it tough to figure the economics out.

I live in a area with a lot of CRP, my cropland is some of the last crops around, I could turn it into more CRP, but for pheasants I firmly believe that having some cropland is the key to their survival, all grassland=no pheasants.

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Quote:
all grassland=no pheasants

ha, where do you think they nest, in soybean stubble?

the limiting factor for pheasants is grass cover, not food plots. i just want to puke every time i see a food plot on a public piece of land.

what would happen if you put all grass in crop land? what would happen if you put all cropland in grass?

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I know on my own farm that significantly more birds hold in the CRP buffer when I have a corn year than when it's a bird year. I see more birds using the ST Olaf native prarie restoration than the Carleton prairie in part because of the surrounding cropland. And I am pushing for both colleges to leave some cropland as an integral part of the landscape.

A WMA without grass will produce few chicks, but can be a magnet for birds after the crops are down. Adding a foodplot to a willow thicket helps hold the birds in woody cover where they are safe from preditors adding to carry over. Small postage stamp size WMA's like these can be a blast.

On my farm I have enough grass to pull off broods but almost too much to hunt. The birds can out run the hunters and always seem to elude the blockers. I would much rather hunt tree rows, stream beds,ditches and small food plots than a large track of CRP.

From the start, my question has always been about getting the perfect cover to hold pheasants during the hunt for the purpose of improving hunting success. This has become a very important question for me since my neighbors enrolled in CRP as well.

I used to have most of the cover on a section in my 55 acre restoration. Now almost the whole section is in CRP and my CRP is getting old. I need to add the best cover to draw the birds from my neighbors vast new tracks of CRP. Cattails seem to be the holding factor in late season,especially if next to standing corn-so that's what I'm looking to add to my landscape.

Once again thanks for the input and don't give up on this great topic. I know there are many others trying to add to their farms as well and I want to hear it all. Hans

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Don't get me wrong with the inputs vs. income. Every farmer works different. The way it sounds to me is that you have a good renter and he has been willing to work with you in the past. If you explain your needs I think from past statements made that you two will find a happy median. You both need each other. You have the land, and he has the equipment.

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That's a good point.

As far as the cropland and its value for pheasants, I kind of disagree with you black jack. Not to say that cropland doesn't have any value but I think that pheasants can get all the need from grassland without the need for crops. I have to admit that I see a lot of birds in my wheat, soybeans, alfalfa, and the neighbor's corn but I also believe that it is the habitat they like. A friend of mine once said that pheasants prefer a lot of vertical habitat. In other words, grassland that hasn't burned off for a while becomes too matted down at ground level whereas cropland is all vertical with no matting. This makes it easy for the birds to get around without flying or being exposed. That's why I think they like the cropland. From what I've read in PF's magazines, regular controlled burning is used partially for controlling that matting.

Bob

Bob

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BobT, any good pheasant hunter knows to look for that grassy public hunting area next to some crop land. If you can be there when the corn goes out you'll have a great hunt, or even later in the season you'll be seeing the birds within flying distance of that corn. In your post you talk about cropland and seeing the pheasants in the vicinity of that cropland. Grassland is good, you need lots of it for nesting cover, but for optimal pheasant numbers, you need at least some crop land.

I live in an area where the cropland is marginal, there are lots of big Waterfowl Production Areas, and lots of the cropland in-between has been converted to CRP. I can walk some of those big areas for pheasants and you rarely find a pheasant - because there is no cropland around. But if you pick an area that has a cropfield in sight, you'll find birds. There were a couple of CRP fields plowed up this spring and put into corn, they're adjacent to one of these big public areas, areas that I had written off as 'pheasant deserts', I will be making a few trips thru that area because I know that there is a much better chance of birds being there.

Relate that to what hans is saying, hes getting surrounded by CRP, he needs to incorporate some cropland in order to see more birds. My situation is similar, there is one farmer with a hilly 20 acre patch of cropland that gets rotated between corn and soybeans. If that gets put into CRP, and I put my 25 acres of cropland into CRP, I'll be seeing less pheasants because the closest cropland will be about 3 miles away. Deer will travel that far but pheasants won't. Now if I lived in the middle of the big black desert (farmland) in southern Kandiyohi county, putting my land into CRP would be a no brainer.

It takes a mix of grassland and cropland for optimal pheasant numbers. I think if every public hunting area had a 10 acre corn food plot, we'd see twice the pheasants in MN.

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Our area is a corn bean monoculture with most farms tilling fencerow to fencerow except up on buffalo ridge and in areas with a large number of slews. We are lucky that these areas where set aside and probably have more small WMA's than any county, but they lack an upland component at a ratio that is recomended by the FSA for wetland restoration. So if pushed I would like to see additional grasslands added through easments and purchases over addition of corn,but I think it could be cost effective in these supper small WMA that consist of a pond surrounded by willows with no grass component to pay the farmer to leave standing corn as both a deer and pheasant magnet.

Mylineswet, Yes I have good renter and the last thing I'm trying to do is lowball him. I'm not a farmer and know very little about the operations required to get a crop in, but I'm trying to learn. I tried last year to come up with a figure that made it worth it and never nailed it down. It's not so much a matter of money it's the inconvience of coming back out with equipment that isn't usually coming on that trip that spoils the deal. So I'm exploring creative solutions like hand picking just the corn or having a neighbor do the foodplot anything to make it work. The good relationship is more important than the birds. So thanks for any input. Hans

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I'm not a farmer, an economist or a mathemtician. Here's my thoughts.

First of all the sharecropping thing introduces the element of trust into the relationship. How do you know how much he took off the one or two acres, or better yet how much he didn't take off? It's a number you can't compute.

Birds need a variety of cover at different times. Nesting cover, brooding cover with lots of bugs for the chicks, food cover, and then heavy cover for the bad weather. Add some water and things should be good.

I would consider first of all contacting a PF biologist to get a plan in place for the ground you own. They can set up a program and maybe even get one of the habitat teams in to do some of the work and try and score some funding from available programs. once you have your program see what you and the farmer can agree to in terms of what your mutal needs are.

Finally, as to the cost issue - what is a good place to hunt worth? If you have a place that allows you and a few friends to spend a couple of hours and score birds with some regularlity my guess is that most would consider the price pretty high. For example if you go to a game farm and want to hunt 10 birds it's going to cost you around $150-175, and that's for one day and a couple of hours. If you can use your field 5 times a season you're up over $750 in a flash.

If you don't have the equipment or the knowledge I would vote for letting the farmer decide what it's worth. If you trust him enough to let him use your land you ought to be able to trust him on this relatively small amount. If you build that trusting relationship you'll have a friend who will help you out when you need it, and maybe even someone who'll come to your funeral.

Tom

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I talked to PF biologists at last years PFest. I was sad to learn that they don't have a habitat team in our area. In fact the whole program is in jepordy because of fuel prices.

Who's the best burn crew in Southwest MN? Hans

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