The frequent rains that have soaked Iowa this year have left many corn and soybean fields unplanted or with flooded areas. Many producers are wondering what options they have under their multiple peril crop insurance policies. Agricultural economist Williams Edwards and farm management specialist Steve Johnson with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offer the following update.
In Iowa, the crop insurance "late planting period" for corn begins on June 1. Corn can still be planted after this date, but the insurance guarantee on those acres is reduced by 1% per day until they are planted. Corn acres planted after June 25 will receive insurance coverage equal to 60% of their original guarantee. Producers should keep accurate records of planting dates on all remaining acres. The late planting period for soybeans is from June 16 through July 10 in Iowa.
Corn producers with unplanted acres as of June 1 have three choices
Beginning June 1, corn producers with unplanted acres have three choices.
* Plant corn as soon as possible with a reduced guarantee.
* Shift to soybeans with full insurance coverage.
* Apply for prevented planting. Prevented planting acres are insured at 60% of their original guarantee, and may have a cover crop established on them or may be left idle (black dirt).~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
Acres that have been planted, but need to be replanted, may qualify for a special replanting insurance payment. Payments are based on the value of 8 bushels of corn or 3 bushels of soybeans per acre, times their respective projected insurance prices. In 2013, that is about $45 per acre for corn and $38 per acre for soybeans. To qualify for an indemnity payment under the replanted or prevented planting provisions, a minimum area of 20 acres or 20% of the insured unit, whichever is smaller, must be affected
ISU Extension resources available to help you sort out the best option
More details can be found in the publication "Delayed and Prevented Planting Provisions," file A1-57 on the Iowa State University Extension Ag Decision Maker website. An electronic decision spreadsheet is also available to help analyze alternative actions. Producers should communicate with their crop insurance agent before making decisions about replanting or abandoning acres.
ISU Extension is holding meetings in areas of Iowa where flooding is the worst to discuss with farmers and others the impact of prevented planting and the next steps to take. For example if a crop can't be planted, what will crop insurance provide? How can herbicide and fertilizer be managed for a different crop? You can also contact the ISU Extension field agronomist or ISU farm management specialist in your area for answers to specific questions regarding prevented planting and possible crop insurance implications.
Lots of confusion on the term "prevented planting" and which cover crops are allowed
ISU Extension specialists are getting a number of questions from farmers regarding prevented planting and establishing a cover crop on those acres. Establishing a cover crop is not required on prevented planting acres. The rules set by USDA's Risk Management Agency, which oversees the federal crop insurance program, do not require a cover crop. RMA encourages cover crops, but one of the options is to leave the acreage idle (black dirt) and receive a full prevented planting payment.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
ISU's Steve Johnson doubts if we'll see much of this type of situation in Iowa; that is, where a cover crop can't be planted because the ground doesn't eventually dry out enough. There may be some fields in river bottoms or low lying areas or perhaps some fields where equipment can't gain access because of flooded or continued wet conditions. But most of the fields in Iowa that haven't been planted by June 1 or that were planted before June 1 but where the crop is now flooded, will need to be planted or will need replanting. These fields will be in the delayed planting situation or a replant situation in June, observes Johnson.
Keep good records of planting dates for FSA and crop insurance purposes
Checking the Risk Management Agency's online bulletin regarding prevented planting of corn and soybeans, it appears to say you aren't required to establish a cover crop in situations where the ground stays so wet that you can't get in to establish a cover crop. "Leave black dirt" is a choice in that situation. It's probably not a good choice, although for small areas of fields on level ground it might be ok particularly the ponded areas and potholes in fields.
Cover crop choices to plant can be such crops as oats, wheat, barley or millet. Keep in mind if you plant any kind of cover crop you cannot harvest or graze it until after November 1—then you can turn the cows in or whatever. Also, keep records—write down the dates you planted, the crop, number of acres and reference the farm name or number. "Good planting records will be the key for crop insurance and USDA's Farm Service Agency program purposes this year," notes Johnson.