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Serving: West
alfalfa closeup Lon Tonneson
MONEY MAKER: Alfalfa produced the most net profit for farmers and ranchers enrolled in the South Dakota Center for Farm and Ranch Management program.

Alfalfa tops 2018 list South Dakota’s of most profitable crops

Small grains suffered this spring due to wet weather and high temperatures.

Alfalfa was the most profitable crop in 2018 for the farms and ranches enrolled in the South Dakota Center for Farm and Ranch Management program.

• Alfalfa. Alfalfa averaged a net return of $162 per acre in 2018, with an average yield of 3.53 tons per acre valued at $109 per ton against total listed expenses of $223 per acre.

• Soybeans. Soybeans averaged a net return of $124 per acre, much higher than $38 per acre in 2017. The average yield of 54.61 bushels per acre, coupled with the Market Facilitation Payments, generated a gross income of $494 per acre. The average yield in 2017 was 44 bushels per acre. The total cost of production for an acre of soybeans was $370, up from $323 in 2017.

• Corn. Corn averaged 175.46 bushels per acre with an average price of $3.21 calculated by fall sales and ending inventory values. Along with some miscellaneous income, corn grossed $589 per acre. The total expense for corn was $473 per acre, giving it a net return of $116 per acre. In 2017, the average yield was 143 bushels per acre causing a net loss of $7 per acre.

Timely rainfall for many and an increase in price over last year accounted for the turnaround in corn, according to Will Walter, instructor at Mitchell Technical Institute.

Higher returns from 53 bushels more yield valued at a slightly higher price received, coupled with lower costs, made the high 20% and low 20% vary from a $213 profit to a negative $55 per acre. The high 20% return corn fields yielded 185 bushels per acre and the low 20% return corn fields yielded 131 bushels per acre. On the high return 20%, the total cost per acre was $419 per acre compared to $482 on the low 20%.

• Winter wheat. Winter wheat averaged a return of $8 per acres. The average yield was 57 bushels per acre, which was similar to 2017.

• Oats. Oats lost an average of $9 per acre.

Walter says the shortened spring season of 2018, with early wet spring weather that turned to hot temperatures in early summer, made small grains suffer.

 SD 2018 crop profits

See the complete report at

Source: SDCFRM, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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