KS farmers' costs for growing crops increasing despite drop in oil prices

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 7:04 PM CDT
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With COVID-19 causing oil prices to drop, drivers pay less at the pump, but farmers that use petroleum-based fertilizers and chemicals to grow their crops aren't seeing the same trend.

Farmers in Haven say grain prices are looking good, but they're still losing money because it's costing them more to grow all of their wheat.

Cy Cokely who grows wheat, corn and soybeans and raises 100 head of cattle at Cokely Farms near Haven, says producing all of that is getting expensive, even though oil prices have dropped.

"Our fertilizers are petroleum based. Our chemicals are petroleum based," he says.

Fertilizer and chemical prices are rising and Cokely is paying more for the products he needs to grow his crops.

"With our input costs as high as they are and grain prices where they need to be, we're showing a loss," he says.

Cokely says they could pay up to $100 an acre on herbicides for their soybean fields. Waiting to see if those prices drop isn't an option.

"If we stopped what we did now, we'd be jeopardizing a season, which starts now," says fellow farmer Jeff Winters. "That'd affect our fall harvest, which affects our income for next year."

Cokely says the past few years have already been difficult for agriculture because of low commodity prices. This could be one of the toughest seasons yet, he says.

"We're just resilient enough that we keep going," he says.

Cokely says stimulus money from the federal government has helped a little, going right back into growing crops.