Analyzing profits: Will soybeans or corn be more profitable in 2022?


Rising fertilizer and input costs are making the decision to plant corn vs. soybeans especially difficult for growers seeking maximum profit potential this season. While some growers are considering a switch to soybeans as a way to avoid costly fertilizer expenses, that may just shift nutrient focus.

“While soybeans don’t typically require a nitrogen application, they still remove nutrients,” said Matt Clover, Pioneer Agronomy Manager. “A high-yielding soybean crop can remove as much as 84 pounds of potassium on a per acre basis. Compare that to a high-yielding corn crop, which only removes about 55 pounds per acre. In the end, soybeans are still removing a substantial amount of nutrients off that field.”

Granular developed a crop rotation return on investment (ROI) calculator to help growers make their planting decision a little easier by helping to sort out the most profitable acreage mix. The Corn vs. Soybean calculator is based on data from more than 42 million acres, combined with the latest research compiled by Granular Data Scientists.

While agronomic factors are important when making planting and input decisions, the calculator helps growers make decisions with financials in mind. Budget costs are calculated using numbers provided by local state universities and the crop price market closing cost. Additional input costs incurred from corn-on-corn are also considered in the calculations.

Profit boils down to yield multiplied by price, minus cost. Granular’s calculator allows farmers to run those calculations at desired price levels and determine where the most profitable acreage mix falls.

In addition to considering profit, growers must also consider the benefits of crop rotation. When farmers are able to rotate their crop options, they will see better weed control, higher yields, reduced pest pressure and improved soil health.

“Crop rotations provide more herbicide choices and application timing to control troublesome weeds. It’s important to use multiple effective modes of action to slow herbicide resistance,” Steve Cromley, retail product agronomist for Brevant seeds, says. “In a single crop system, overreliance on the same modes of action can lead to herbicide resistance. Having multiple crops in the rotation provides the grower with more herbicide options to select multiple effective modes of action.”

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