Published online: Feb 26, 2009
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The moderate increase comes after the costs jumped 20 to 24 percent last year.

Patterson makes his prediction for this year based on fuel and fertilizer expenses remaining subdued.

"We've been seeing extreme volatility in both commodity and input prices," he says in the university's AgKnowledge bulletin. "Growers can't control commodity prices but they can control their input costs-and they need to focus their management attention on factors they can control."

Last year, Patterson and his colleagues updated 58 of CALS' 85 representative crop budgets, along with a Windows-based Crop Enterprise Budget Worksheet program that helps growers track their own field-by-field costs. This year, he'll add such newly in demand budgets as organic potatoes and Roundup Ready sugar beets, and a spreadsheet for calculating the fertilizer value of dairy compost and manure.