What’s the price of that crop input?

Bags Of Money On A Farm Field

Everyone likes a rebate. Cash-back cheques are nice to have, but we know they don’t have a lot of influence over your purchasing decisions. It would be much more helpful if you could turn to these pages and see the actual product prices.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that most news stories about improved fungicides, newly-registered herbicides, or new, more effective seed treatments have one thing in common: they almost never include a price.

If we’re running a story about a new product that could increase your yields by up to two bushels per acre, there’s no way for you (or me) to know if the product is going to make sense for you until you have some idea what it’s going to cost. Stories about potential insect damage would be more helpful if our articles included the cost of chemical control. But we can’t get pricing information. I ask, but while corporate PR reps are happy to talk about the quality of their products, nobody wants to give me a number.

There are lots of reasons that input companies don’t want me including fungicide prices in Grainews stories. They’re in direct competition with other suppliers. They may want to offer some customers a better deal than others. Maybe pricing will vary by supply.

Per acre, per carton, per litre, per box. You almost never see the price in a newspaper story, an ad, or even in the fancy brochures sent directly to you in the mail.

Of course not all farmers pay the same prices. Some book and pay early. Some buy huge quantities and pick it up themselves. Some have been loyal to their retailer for decades. Charging different prices to different farmers isn’t unfair — it’s just business.

But couldn’t they show us a suggested retail price?

Nobody buying a new truck imagines they’re going to pay the exact price shown on the window of the vehicles parked in the lot. And yet, every dealer in town displays their prices on windows and in newspaper ads.

Looking for a combine? Case IH has a “build and price” section right on its website. This information is available to everyone, even though no farmer would expect to actually pay the exact price that turns up on the screen (or if they do, you can bet they’ve had some careful discussions around the trade in).

If all ag input companies published suggested retail prices, it would be a lot easier for farmers to know which products would be the best fit for on their farms. It would also make it easier for farmers to comparison shop, play one retailer against another and get better deals. I can’t make it happen, but I can keep asking.

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