Today we consider the economic opportunities of adding pulse crops into your operations. Dan Folske is an extension agent in Burke County, North Dakota, which is in the northwest part of the state. He’s been there in that position for over 30 years, and a big part of what he does is work with farmers to establish budgets and utilize tools for business decisions. Dan’s going to share what he’s seeing on the economics of planting pulses, and some tools he utilizes with the farmers he works with.
“(One farmer’s) durum production on those fields where he seeded into the pea stubble the following year was so much better that he thought he could probably raise peas and dump them over the edge of the coulee and be ahead. It was quite an eye opener in terms of what adjusting your crop rotations can do.” - Dan Folske
“Cash flow is always the big issue for anyone,” remarks Dan. NDSU extension publishes several tools to help producers evaluate different regional crop budgets which allow for planning with best estimates of expected expenses and price opportunities. Dan highlights that the better records each operation keeps, the more accurate their estimates will be when plugged into the provided spreadsheets. Dan directs any producers interested in using these tools to the following websites:
- Farm Management Website
- Farm Management Publications including Custom Rates and Plotting a Course budgeting guidance
- Farm Management Tools including Insurance, Storage and Crop Comparison Estimates
“One of the tough things about marketing is you really need to know what your costs are, what that market price is that you need to have a profit and profitability on your farm.” - Dan Folske
Weed control and herbicide resistance have been driving forces in integrating pulse crops. With the tools listed above, producers can estimate what financial benefits they may hope to gain with the addition of different crops in production. Unfortunately, pulse crops at the moment appear to be down in cost benefit but by utilizing these tools producers can best manage expectations and decide what works best for their individual needs and goals. These tools are routinely updated and will support producers in knowing when integration may be of best value for them.
This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:
- Meet Dan Folske, an extension agent in Burke County, North Dakota
- Explore the tools and research available to producers to help them manage, predict and plan for different budgets based on historical averages of land cost, equipment investment, insurance expenses, etc.
- Discover what brought pulse crops into the rotation of North Dakota growers