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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


Battle for the Belt: Episode 27

Episode 27 of Battle for the Belt is now available:

In Episode 27, we talk with Clint Shroeder, the program manager for the Ohio Farm Business Analysis and Benchmarking program. Clint walks us through the profitability of corn vs. soybeans. If you would like to explore the profitability of your farm with the program, please visit

Which crop has more expenses and gross returns?

Corn has the higher direct and overhead expenses year in and year out. According to the 2022 data from the Farm Business Analysis, the average expense per acre for corn was $948.57 and soybeans average expense per acre was $586.55, which is a $362.02 per acre difference (Figure 1 below).

Figure 1

When it comes to gross return, in 2022 corn made on average $1,186.46 per acre while soybeans made $779.54 per acre (Figure 2 below). Corn does have more dollars involved at the gross level.

Figure 2

Which crop is most profitable?

In 2022 and 2021 corn had higher net returns per acre than soybeans, however, this is the first time in about twenty years that it came up higher. In the last ten years, there was only one year where soybeans had negative returns, compared to corn. On the other hand, in the same period, there were four years where corn has had negative returns. In 2022, the net return for soybeans was $192.99 per acre, while the net return for corn was $237.89 per acre (Figure 3 below). Looking at a five-year average of net returns per acre, soybeans averaged $138.63 per acre and corn averaged $120.24.

When considering planting date priorities among the two crops, production costs, gross returns, and net returns are factors that should be considered when making such decisions.

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.