By vast

Published: April 3, 2018

Category: Non-GMO News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

by Josh Richey

As CEO of Spectrum, I get a lot of questions about what it’s like to lead a non-GMO seed company (it’s awesome, by the way) but more often than not, I get asked if it is possible to be profitable using a non-GMO crop strategy. It’s a fair question and the simplest way to answer is yes. Yes. It is possible. But I want to do more than just give you a quick answer. I want to really demonstrate that you can win with non-GMO. The truth is, I’ve been farming for over ten years and I once thought traits were the only solution to maximizing profit per acre but I’ve since learned I was using traits when I didn’t really need to be using them.

In 2017, I made the decision to plant all of my corn acres to Spectrum Non-GMO. My 2016 corn acres were all planted using fully traited genetically modified hybrids so this wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I carefully watched my 2016 crop and noticed that non-GMO hybrids were easily keeping pace with their traited GMO counterparts. I was confident going into the ’17 season that I could reduce my inputs and increase my profit per acre by using a total non-GMO seed program.

So I switched and to be entirely honest, my strategy for planting in 2017 wasn’t vastly different from 2016. In fact, my chemical program was basically the same with one exception: I dropped Glyphosate and added a generic Atrazine. In 2016, my per acre seed cost was $140.43. That dropped to $63.83 in 2017. My fertilizer costs stayed the same as did my herbicide and fungicide costs. After all was said and done, in 2016 my gross margin per acre was $434.18.

So, how did I fare in 2017? Well, as you can see from the table below, my gross margin increased by nearly 20%! An extra $77 profit per acre. I have to tell you that I am more than pleased with that outcome.

In today’s ag economy, you have to be constantly thinking about what you can do to improve your ROI. For a long time, the ag industry has led us to believe that in order to profit at corn, you have to plant traits but I’m here to tell you that may not always be the case. My farm is living proof.

Josh Richey is president and CEO of Spectrum Non-GMO. He farms in and around Clinton County, Indiana.

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Cost comparison for GMO and Non-GMO corn