January 19, 2016 - Corn Seed Costs Quadruple From 1995 to 2014



Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - Seed costs per acre increased in most years, with a distinct break in cost increases occurring in 2006. From 1995 to 2006, per acre seed costs from USDA increased an average of 5% per Corn Seed Costsyear. For the next three years, double-digit seed cost increases occurred. Seed costs increased 12% between 2006 and 2007, 22% between 2007 and 2008, and 31% between 2008 and 2009. After 2009, rate increases returned to the 1995 - 2005 level of 5% per year. Of all non-land costs for corn, seed costs on a per acre basis increased the most between 2006 and 2014, increasing by 164% percent.

For the USDA series,
seed costs per bushel of yield were in the low $.20 per bushel in the late 1990s. Seed costs per bushel then reached a high of $.86 per bushel in 2012. Part of the reason for this high were low yield caused by the 2012 drought. Seed costs per bushel were $.58 per bushel in 2013 and $.52 per bushel in 2014.

Overall, seed costs have increased on a per acre basis, on a per bushel produced basis, and on a percent of corn revenue basis. Means of reducing seed costs within farmers' management discretion are somewhat limited. Large seed costs reductions are not possible without one or more seed company significantly reducing seed prices. A strategy of lowering seed prices to attract more seed sales does not appear to be being attempted.

: I know that commonality is not necessarily causation, but wasn’t it about 20 years ago when Roundup ready crops were originally foisted upon our corn growers? When Big Pharma is allowed to use GM technology to basically control the seed corn market, it’s a wonder the price has not gone up even more. Years ago, farmers saved and planted their own open-pollinated corn seed. The slightly lower yields were more than offset by the higher nutritive value of the resulting crop.

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