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How to use CropChoice$

With many crops to choose from based on soil fertility, moisture, prices and margins, planning is important.

See event listings and more articles in this edition of Agri-News: April 11, 2023 issue

“This popular budgeting and economic modelling tool can help producers finalize their 2023 crop plans,” says Emmanuel Anum Laate, senior crop economist with the Alberta government. “It is a very easy program to set up and use, and the manual itself is an excellent resource for understanding the program. Below are the steps for using the program to create and compare crop plans.”

  1. Download the program. Double click on the CropChoice$ icon and choose ‘Start’ from the welcome screen.
  2. At the top right of the main input screen, enter your township, range, meridian and soil zone information. Once this is done, CropChoice$ determines the list of crops available in your area.
  3. Select the crops you want to grow and chose whether it is going to be on stubble, fallow or irrigated land. CropChoice$ provides producers with the ability to choose from 40 different dry land and irrigated crops and handles up to 32 fields.
  4. Enter the number of acres, worst possible, best possible and most likely yields and prices for each crop you want to grow.
  5. Once the crops are selected, the program automatically enters default costing information based on soil zone, crop type and cultivation practice. Review the numbers carefully and update them with your own cropping and financial information. Once completed, this crop plan becomes the base scenario or scenario 1 of the producer.
  6. Click the ‘Run Simulation’ button on the left side of the screen. After a few seconds, the ‘Scenario Analysis’ screen will appear.
  7. Click on the ‘Input Data Preview’ icon. After a few seconds, a report appears. At the bottom of this report, contribution margins and gross margins for individual crops are listed.
  8. Choose crops with high contribution margins. If the fields involved are on rented land, the gross margins may come into play.
  9. To create additional scenarios, go to the ‘Main Input’ screen, click on the ‘Scenario Number’ drop-down box, choose the next number, and follow the instructions as they appear. Create new scenarios by making changes such as varying crop mix, adding acres, buying crop insurance, etc. Name each scenario appropriately once it has been created.
  10. Run a simulation for each new scenario by clicking on the ‘Run Simulation’ button at the top left of the ‘Main Input Screen’. The ‘Scenario Analysis’ screen appears after each simulation.
  11. Finally, compare the expected gross margins and standard deviations which is a statistical measure of risk for each scenario. Choose the scenario or crop plan that best fits your expected gross margin and risk profile.

Download the free CropChoice$ program.


Connect with Emmanuel Anum Laate for more information:

Phone: 780-422-4054
Email: [email protected]

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