Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics (May 8, 2013)


Published by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics. Copyright © [2013] Board of Regents, University of Nebraska.


2012 seemed to be the year of separation between the “Have’s and the Have Not’s”…or those who had water and those who didn’t! The extreme drought of 2012 caused some of the greatest separation between the farms that we’ve seen in many years. Crop farms with access to sufficient irrigation water were able to take advantage of excellent prices along with excellent yields. These led to record breaking net income per acre for both commercial irrigated yellow corn as well as irrigated seed corn in 2012. On the other hand, poor yields for most dryland crops caused drops in net returns per acre to be negative for the first time in ten years. Dryland wheat was the exception to that, with the earlier harvest time and good prices the drought did not have as great an effect on the 2012 crop, but may show the true effects on the crop harvested in 2013.