Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) has just released the CropChoice$ planning tool for 2018. CropChoice$ is a crop budgeting and risk management software program that is updated every year with recent crop insurance information from Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) and projected crop costs.
“CropChoice$ allows farmers to calculate expected margins and the likelihood of achieving those results for various crop plans,” says Manglai, crops economist with AF. “You can adjust individual crop costs and evaluate the effects that different risk management strategies will have on your operation, such as adjusting your crop mix, purchasing crop insurance, and renegotiating your land rental agreements.”
Typically, traditional budgets use a single estimate of yield and price, resulting in just a simple average. However, CropChoice$ gives the probabilities for achieving margins for different cropping plans and scenarios. Says Manglai, “CropChoice$ recognizes that future crop yields and prices cannot be precisely known. So, it takes the revenue calculation one step further to include your own price and yield expectations. You enter high, low, and most likely price, as well as yield values. The program then calculates the likelihood of achieving every possible profit outcome based on your price and yield expectations.”
Giving producers the ability to build different cropping scenarios allows for narrowing down cropping options, finding the mix of crops that gives the highest possible profitability, while maintaining agronomic stability, and taking into account their own personal risk preferences.
“A bonus of creating a primary crop plan is that it helps you to know what your second best option is, and that helps with contingency planning. Once you are in the field, you don’t have time to evaluate last minute options, and the wrong option can be costly,” adds Manglai.
CropChoice$ also lets producers evaluate crop insurance options before the April 30 deadline. AFSC’s current offerings for risk coverage levels, insurance premiums, and spring price endorsement are included in the program.
The software provides additional information to help producers decide which crops to grow and contains up to 40 dry land and irrigated crops depending on location. “Each scenario handles up to 32 fields. You can run up to eight scenarios that directly compare and contrast the risks and returns of each crop plan,” explains Manglai. “You can then choose a crop plan that works for your operation based on your results.”
Download the latest version of CropChoice$. For more information about the program and software, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).