KEISER, Ark. – The cost of growing crops in Arkansas this year has risen 4.5 percent to 6.5 percent over last year, depending crop, according to research by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“Operating expenses in 2012 are increased over 2011 costs for all Arkansas field crops,” said Archie Flanders, extension economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Fertilizer, chemical, and fuel prices are the major causes of increased costs for 2012 production over last year.”

For example, bulk diesel in the Delta was up from about $3.50 a gallon in March 2011 to about $3.70 a gallon this past March, according to the April 30 prices paid survey issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Operating expenses for crops are calculated as weighted averages of irrigated and non-irrigated production. For rice, weighted averages are among seed types.

  • Operating expenses for cotton have increased 5 percent over last year to $503 per acre.
  • Operating expenses for corn have increased 6.5 percent over last year to $572 per acre.
  • Operating expenses for soybeans have increased 4.5 percent over last year to $284 per acre.
  • Operating expenses for rice have increased 5.7 percent over last year to $675 per acre.

“The input item with the greatest increase for rice is seed,” Flanders said. “This is primarily due to increases in hybrid seed prices.”