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June 1 Is an Important Crop Insurance Date

Be clear on unplanted and replanted coverage.

The frequent rains that soaked parts of the Corn Belt this spring have left many corn and soybean fields unplanted or with flooded areas that need to be replanted. Some producers are wondering what options they have under their multiple peril crop insurance policies. The first step is notifying your crop insurance agent as soon as possible and understanding crop insurance provisions.

In Iowa, the crop insurance late-planting period for corn begins on June 1 and varies across the Corn Belt. You can still plant corn after this date, but the insurance guarantee on those acres is reduced by 1% per day until 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 for both crop insurance and Farm Service Agency (FSA) purposes. The late planting period for soybeans in Iowa is June 16 through July 10.

Unplanted corn acres as of June 1

Beginning June 1, producers with unplanted corn 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 55% of their original guarantee for corn and 60% for soybeans. A cover crop can be established on those acres or the land left idle (black dirt).

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 determined in February.

For 2017, that is about $32 per acre for corn and $31 per acre for soybeans, respectively. 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 must have suffered loss, whichever is smaller.

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Producers should communicate with their crop insurance agent before making decisions about replanting or abandoning acres.

Establishing a cover crop is not required on prevented planting acres, but highly recommended. The rules set by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), which oversees the federal crop insurance program, do not require a cover crop.

However, RMA encourages cover crops and insureds will receive a full-prevented planting payment — even if they choose not to plant a cover crop. Leaving unplanted or abandoned acreage idle (black dirt) is probably not the best agronomic choice. Likely cover crop seed includes oats, wheat, barley, or millet.

Keep in mind, if you plant any kind of cover crop you cannot harvest or graze those acres until after November 1.

Expect most of Iowa fields will be planted this spring. A few acres may require replanting. For crop insurance purposes, these fields will be in the delayed planting or replant situation. Regardless, producers should keep good records of planting dates and acres for both crop insurance and FSA acreage certification. Write down the dates you planted, the crop, number of acres, and reference the farm name or number. Work with your crop insurance agent and understand the basic provisions of crop insurance.

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ISU Extension resources on crop insurance

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.

Steve Johnson is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach farm management specialist. He can be reached at sdjohns@iastate.edu

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