Good Reasons To Keep Good Records At Harvest

Good Reasons To Keep Good Records At Harvest

Harvest information is needed for crop insurance and is handy for other purposes too.

Are you keeping yield monitor records as you harvest this fall? Or a written record of yield and moisture content of the crop from each field?

Harvest is a busy time but keeping good records during harvest is something farmers should do, says Steve Johnson, an Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist. Keep track of which corn from which field went where, and the amount produced and the grain moisture content. Same goes for soybeans. That information will come in handy for crop insurance purposes.

KEEPING TRACK: At harvest keep accurate records of yield, moisture content and which grain came from which field and where it is stored. Crop insurance records often need traceability by field and enterprise unit. Also, tracking wet grain can indicate where problems could occur later in stored grain.

There's another reason to have an accurate record of which grain came from which field and where it is stored especially in 2013. With the weather extremes Iowa had during the growing season, the result will likely be a wide range of yields and grain moisture content. "Tracking wet grain can indicate where problems with grain quality or spoilage could occur during storage," says Charlie Hurburgh, an ISU grain quality expert and director of the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative. "Knowing that information can help you do a better job of managing stored grain."

Yield and grain moisture content vary widely for 2013 crop  

As harvest is getting underway, farmers across Iowa are finding out yield and grain moisture are varying widely field-to-field and even within the same field. Iowa's 2013 corn crop was planted over a two month period, delayed by a record wet spring. Many beans were planted late, too. The wide range in planting dates strung out maturity. Also, replanted areas of fields have added to the wide variability of yield and grain moisture.

"There will be some corn that's already dry in the same field that has corn that's wet," says Hurburgh.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

With such variable maturity and moisture in the same field, some farmers might pull into a cornfield two or three different times to harvest corn this fall. "If you are harvesting different parts of fields at different times, make sure you keep accurate yield monitor records. Not just the quantity produced, but also grain moisture content," advises Johnson.

You may need those records for crop insurance and other purposes

Each year, it is really to your benefit to do this so you can provide actual production records from your farm fields to help determine the Actual Production History, or APH, for crop insurance purposes. "Proving the actual dry weight yields for each farm field or crop insurance unit should be the goal," says Johnson.

Many farmers in recent years have switched to crop insurance coverage using enterprise units to reduce their premium. Crop insurance records often need traceability by unit for up to three years plus the year of the revenue loss claim. Of course, good records of yield and moisture content by field can help you with crop production decisions and practices too, such as corn hybrid and soybean variety selection, soil fertility management, etc.

Here are 5 harvest-time reminders for crop insurance, provided by ISU's Steve Johnson:

1) Contact your crop insurance agent within 72 hours of discovering damage to report potential loss and to protect your coverage.

2) Keep production separate for each unit using a written ledger and record loads of production for each crop with the field name or number, date of harvest and identify the vehicle or wagon. Include the weight, moisture and estimated volume per load.

3) Identify the specific bushels delivered whether they are sold, placed into commercial storage or stored on-farm:

* Mark your scale tickets by unit, farm name or reference number.

* Level your grain bins between each unit, identify the depth of grain in the bin and mark on the storage structure using a permanent marker.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

* Avoid commingling old crop with new crop bushels in the same bin. The prior year's production must be measured by a crop insurance adjuster or USDA representative before adding new crop bushels.

4) Keep track of feed records as production is being fed before a final count is tallied and verified.

5) Report production to your crop insurance representative right after harvest to update your APH information and to check for a potential revenue loss.

Yield monitor records -- keep these things in mind

* Printed records from combine yield monitors must show field location, name of crop, date and number of pounds or bushels of the crop harvested.

* Field identification and unit number must be identified on the records.

* Final yield monitor records must be available to the crop insurance adjuster.

Grain quality concerns: When dealing with corn or soybean quality adjustment issues, in most cases the samples to be tested must be taken by a certified adjuster. In the case of aflatoxin and for certain types of mycotoxins, samples not only must be extracted by a certified representative, but also samples should come directly from the field and cannot be samples taken from stored grain.

Deadline for filing a revenue loss: For crop insurance revenue policies (most farmers are using Revenue Protection), once the production guarantee has been achieved, the deadline for reporting a claim is extended 45 days after the harvest price has been announced. This period will begin approximately November 1 for RP policies for corn and soybeans. These policies use the harvest price that is the average futures price in the month of October.

Specific questions regarding crop insurance should be directed to your crop insurance provider. Don't hesitate to call your crop insurance agent as soon as possible to report information or get things cleared up.

For farm management information and analysis go to ISU's Ag Decision Maker site and Extension farm management specialist Steve Johnson's site.

TAGS: USDA Extension
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