Record-high temperatures and the worst drought in nearly half a century has left many corn producers across the Texas Panhandle deliberating irrigation and management strategies for a successful crop. While the majority of the region’s corn acres are irrigated, 2011’s extreme conditions can be too much to reckon with for many producers and their available irrigation resources.

According to Texas AgriLife Agronomist Brent Bean and Irrigation Specialist Nich Kenny, much of the corn in the Texas Panhandle has experienced up to a 7-inch water deficit due to rainfall shortage through June compared to typical seasons. Even assuming a producer has the irrigation capacity to meet this increased water demand, increased pumping cost alone would add up to an additional $35 per acre in input expenses.

These conditions have left some producers with just two options, 1) irrigate corn acres at less than full water demand or 2) strategically abandon a portion of corn acres to allow remaining acres to be adequately irrigated. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has developed a document to aid producers faced with this tough decision, which is available on the Texas Corn Producers Board’s website here: http://bit.ly/n2qTKn.

TCPB discussed this issue with Sam Cameron, a risk management specialist with the USDA-Risk Management Agency in Oklahoma City, Okla., who said producers choosing to abandon insured irrigated corn for grain should contact their insurance company so they can have the acres appraised or adjusted in accordance with their policy.

“USDA-RMA said the producer’s insurance company must be contacted prior to destroying the corn for silage or other use,” TCPB Executive Director David Gibson said. “The company’s adjuster may then determine the value of the crop or request the producer leave strips to be harvested at the end of the season to determine actual yield loss.”

TCPB encourages producers planning to abandon corn acres and divert the crop to silage to reference a brief document on nutritive value concerns for drought-stressed corn harvested prior to maturity developed by Texas AgriLife Beef Cattle Specialist Ted McCollum, available here: http://bit.ly/oaswqF.

Producers with further questions or concerns about their insurance policy should contact their insurance agent. For additional information on Texas corn production, visit www.TexasCorn.org.