March 31, 2004
SKIP-ROW PLANTER COSTS
Skip-row planters, which allow
corn to be planted in 30-inch rows and soybeans to be planted in
15-inch rows, have become relatively popular in Illinois within
the last several years. In this article, additional costs associated
with skip-row planters are examined. Specifically, additional costs
associated with skip-row planters are stated on a per acre basis
for each acre planted to soybeans. Costs are examined for 12-row
and 16-row planters on farm sizes ranging from 1,000 acres up to
1,800 acres. Results indicate that skip-row planters add between
$3.62 and $7.90 per acre for each acre of soybeans planted.
The study compared costs for two sets of planters. The first set
uses a 12-row planter as its base. A 12-row planter that only plants
30-inch rows is compared to a skip-row planter that plants corn
in 30-inch rows and soybeans in 15-inch rows. The 12-row planter
that only plants 30-inch rows has an estimated list price of $38,000
while the skip-row planter has an estimated list price of $73,000
(see Table 1).
The second set of planters uses a 16-row planter
as the base. A conventional 16-row planter that only plants 30-inch
rows is compared to a skip-row planter that allows planting of 15-inch
rows. The 16-row planter has an estimated list price of $60,000
while the skip-row planter has a list price of $92,000.
Per year costs are calculated for the above planters. Yearly costs
for the planter without skip-rows are subtracted from the yearly
costs for skip-row planters to arrive at additional costs associated
with skip-row planters. Since the skip-rows are only used for soybeans,
additional costs are associated with soybean acres. Generally, using
skip-rows must result in higher soybean yields to justify the additional
expense associated with skip-row planters.
Average yearly costs were estimated
using Machinery Economics, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
that is available for download from the FAST section of farmdoc
(click here). This spreadsheet
calculates power costs associated with farm machinery including
charges for depreciation, interest, housing, insurance, repairs,
fuel and lubrication, and labor. Inputs into the model for this
analysis are 1) the purchase price is 85% of the list price, 2)
the interest rate is 8%, 3) housing and insurances cost 1% of the
value of the machine, 4) diesel fuel costs $1.00 per gallon, 5)
lubrication costs 10% of fuel costs, 6) labor has a $12.50 per hour
rate, 7) labor time is 110% of tractor time, 8) planters are operated
at six miles per hour and have a 70% efficiency, and 9) planters
have a 10 year life. A 135 horse power tractor is used to pull 12-row
planters and a 150 horse power tractor is used to put 16-row planters.
Costs for 12-Row Planters
Power costs are shown for 12-row planters in Table 2 for planted
acres of 1,000, 1,200, and 1,400 acres. For 1,200 acres, average
yearly costs without skip-rows are $8,208 while average yearly costs
with skip-rows are $9,624. Skip-rows add $1,416 in costs. On a per-acre
basis, skip-rows add $7.00 to the cost to planting soybeans given
that one-half the acres are planted to soybeans. Costs without skip-rows
are $6.84 (see Table 2). This means that skip-rows result in a $13.84
cost for planting soybeans ($6.84 cost without skip-rows plus $7.00
in additional costs for skip-rows).
Additional costs for skip-row planters decrease with higher numbers
of acres planted. Additional skip-row costs are $7.90 for 1,000
acres (500 acres of soybeans), $7.00 for 1,200 acres, and $6.34
for 1,400 acres. Cost reductions occur because depreciation and
interest costs are spread over more acres. Reductions in these costs
more than offset increases in repair costs.
The additional costs require increases in soybean yields to economically
justify the additional costs associated with skip-row planters.
For 1,200 acres planted, the $7.00 in additional per acre costs
require 1.4 bushels of additional soybeans to break-even at a $5.00
soybean price (see Panel D of Table 2). The break-even yield is
reduced to 1.2 bushels at a $6.00 price
Costs for 16-Row Planters
Power costs for 16-row planters are shown in Table 3 for planted
acres of 1,400, 1,600, and 1,800 acres. Additional costs associated
with skip-rows are $4.28 per acre for 1,400 acres, $3.88 for 1,600
acres, and $3.62 for 1,800 acres.
Skip-row planters have costs over a non skip-row planter that can
be attributed to planting soybean acres. These costs range from
$3.62 per acre up to $7.90 for the planters and acre sizes examined
in this study. To economically justify these higher costs, higher
soybean yields must be obtained using a skip-row planter.
Results are dependent on the
assumptions used. The Machinery Economics spreadsheet (click
here) can be used to examine cost changes for scenarios than
those presented in this newsletter.
Issued by: Gary Schnitkey,
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.