Farmers plan for the planting season - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Farmers plan for the planting season

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MARION, MN (FOX 47) -- With this weekend's weather it doesn't feel like springtime is that far away, especially for farmers. Now is about the time they start making their planting plans for the spring.

If you ask crop and cattle farmer Dennis O'Neill how his spring planting plans are coming, he'll tell you, it's like playing Russian Roulette.

"You know, a lot people go out to the casinos. Farmers, they don't have to. They live it."

There are a lot factors to figure out what will produce the most amount of revenue with the cheapest input costs. With fertilizer up dramatically and crops like corn and soybean down, O'Neill says this year is going to be tough on many farmers.

"When the bubble burst last summer, everything went south. If you're sitting on stuff that was unpriced last summer, you're probably kicking yourself, and I have a little bit of that," exclaims O'Neill.

Another factor in the input costs is rental property. The price of renting land has nearly doubled in southeast Minnesota in the past two years.

Take a look at these numbers. The Cash Grain Markets in Southeast Minnesota report the average for corn a year ago in February was $4.76 and $12.33 for Soybean. And that's not even their high point in 2008. Now, corn is going for $3.27 and soybeans for $8.97.

"Right now, I'm just hoping crop prices improve between now and harvest time, and some time we get a little bump in it," O'Neill says. "That we may lock in a decent price that you can not loose too much or even make a little bit. I'm not real optimistic at this point in time."

O'Neil says, his prediction is that planting beans may have the best chance at producing a profit, but he his limited in his choices because his land is prone to erosion.

Dennis O'Neill says fertilizer will definitely be going down since petroleum prices are down, and we can see that right at the pump. But he says many farmers will still have a rough time this year because co-ops and other companies still have to get rid of the old, high-priced fertilizer first.

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