Crop protection costs (not bundled with seed) for the 2013 corn and soybean planting seasons will be slightly higher than they were in 2012, agricultural economists predict.

Herbicides

“Herbicide prices in the aggregate peaked in 2009, then fell somewhat in 2010 and 2011 before starting to edge upward again in 2012,” says Alan Miller, farm business management specialist, Purdue University. “For 2013, I expect herbicide prices to move slightly higher, perhaps by 1% to 4%.”

The majority of soybeans grown in Indiana are Roundup Ready varieties, Miller says, adding that Purdue’s cost estimates for rotation soybeans are based on planting Roundup Ready seed in a no-till system. “With that in mind, we expect that a basic herbicide program (excluding the possibility of rescue treatments or treatments for particularly tough weeds) will cost nearly $30/acre in 2013.”

Meanwhile, Miller estimates that basic weed control for rotation corn will average $40/acre. “Here, too, we assume the use of genetically modified seed because the practice is so prevalent in the state,” he says.

Prices for herbicides as well as insecticides and fungicides may increase somewhat as they follow higher crop prices and farm incomes, adds Michael Duffy, agricultural economist, Iowa State University. Growers facing weed resistance may also need to factor in the cost of second applications.

Pesticides

Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, projects that corn pesticide costs overall will average $52/acre in 2013 compared to $50/acre in 2012.

Overall soybean pesticide costs will average $33/acre in 2013 compared to $31/acre in 2012. These projections are for crops grown in central Illinois on highly productive ground. Projected prices are based on futures contracts ($6/bu. corn and $12.50/bu. soybeans) and projected returns of $654/acre for corn and $405/acre for soybeans.

Insecticides

Purdue’s Miller expects that corn insecticide prices will be 3 to 5% higher than they were in  2012. “They have responded less to the ethanol boom than herbicide prices and have increased at an annual average rate of roughly 3% since 2006,” he says. With large planted acreages in the U.S., the demand for conventional crop protection products is not expected to diminish, he says.

As with herbicides and weed resistance, growers may need to invest more in insecticides to manage cases of extended diapause in corn rootworm, Iowa State’s Duffy says.

Fungicides

Fungicide prices have increased by an average annual rate of 7% since 2006. They followed higher crop prices and farm income in 2007 and 2008. Prices increased more gradually between 2009 and 2011. But in 2012, fungicide prices increased almost 9% during the first eight months of the year, Miller says. “In the last decade, the average price of fungicides in the aggregate has declined only one year. I expect prices to increase again in 2013, but perhaps only in the 1% to 3% range,” he says.

The rest of the input forecasts may be found here:

Seed

Fertilizer

Machinery

Interest rates

Farmland

Farmland myths

Fuel