A&M AgriLife develops interactive online decision aid for producers
Texas producers facing possible changes in their crop rotations due to water availability and other fluctuations in agriculture will soon have an online decision aid tool, according to DeDe Jones, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Risk Management Specialist in Amarillo.
The interactive risk management spreadsheet allows input from producers to assist with crop budgets, break-even prices and yields, and to help choose optimal crop mixes under limited irrigation, Jones said.
“In the face of declining water tables and falling commodity prices, we felt like there was a need to develop a tool that would allow producers to make educated decisions under risky conditions,” she said. “This spreadsheet should help them to allocate their water in a way that will maximize profits.”
The two-year project funded by the Texas Corn Producers Board is being conducted by a team of AgriLife Extension economists and a Texas A&M AgriLife Research engineer. In addition, an advisory committee of area corn farmers is providing input into the development of the decision aid.
“This tool will allow the producer to create and evaluate current dryland and irrigated crop budgets and different crop/share leasing arrangements by showing the return on investment between all parties,” Jones said. “Once the budgets are established, they can calculate breakeven prices and yields.”
And while most of those capabilities are already available through other formats, she said this new tool has an added feature, a limited-input decision calculator.
“This allows producers to input their irrigated acres and water availability and any water district restrictions,” Jones said. “The model will then simulate what their most profitable cropping arrangement would be under the given irrigation parameters. Also, if they don’t have enough water to fully irrigate, it will recommend the best dryland crop to plant in addition to the irrigated acreage.
“Because the spreadsheet is completely interactive, the baseline numbers we have in there can be changed to whatever values accurately reflect the producer’s operation. He can put in his own crop yields, prices and input costs,” she said. “The result will be a customized risk management output on cropping arrangements and what he needs to break even.”
Jones said the decision aid has been developed, but it is in the field test stage now and hasn’t been released for mass download.
However, those wanting to be a part of the testing phase should contact Jones at 806/677-5600 or DL- Jones@ag.tamu.edu. The mass distribution is expected by December. — WLJ