Farmers can get help penciling out how different cropping alternatives look for their bottom line in 2020 with the newly updated Crop Compare Program by North Dakota State University Extension.

Grain prices can change rapidly, making ongoing analysis difficult. The tool is intended to help farmers quickly sort out rapidly changing scenarios, right up until final planting decisions are made in the spring.

The tool is online, along with several others, at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/farmmanagement/tools.

The tool is a spreadsheet that will help farmers analyze cropping alternatives using direct costs and yields from nine regions of North Dakota. Farmers should use expected yields and input costs from their own farm, however, for the best analysis.

The spreadsheet offers from nine to 18 crops to compare, depending on the region of the state. Users enter a reference crop and its expected market price. The program provides prices for competing crops that would be necessary to give the same return over variable costs as the reference crop.

The crop compare program assumes that fixed costs won’t change based on crop choices, and is not included in the analysis. However, in practice, there can be differences in fixed costs for competing crops that should be considered.

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