In Argentina we have been applying risk assessment and management concepts in farming for more than twenty years. Price and yield risk can be managed through diversification. Agricultural portfolios can be created by mixing different crops and/or different climate zones, soils and cultivation practices. We also apply risk management to reduce price risk through sale strategies (options, futures) and yield risk through insurance.
A special piece in risk assessment is the recently developed “Yield distribution library” with robust distributions for 600 different production combinations of crop/soil/cultivation practices. Reaching consensus on yield distributions has always been difficult because a constantly changing technology reduces the value of long-term time series. This library aims to make it easier to agree on a yield distribution. Its robustness comes from the fact that three information sources were used and combined: deterministic simulation models, expert opinion and thousands of real data to validate both.
Risk is crucial to good decision making in agriculture and I will be glad to share our experience in this field, answering questions like:
- What applications have we found for risk assessment in agriculture?
- How do we assess risk with farmers and technicians who are not always familiar with probability functions and statistics?
- What distributions do we usually use to model stochastic variables in agriculture?