The unusually wet spring has farmers keeping a watchful eye on weather patterns wondering if they'll be able to get out in the field by the June 5th final plant date for Indiana and Ohio corn.
"With that deadline fast approaching, farmers have some serious decisions to make," said Kirk Scott, crop insurance specialist with Farm Credit Services of Mid-America. "Do they opt for prevent plant, or ride it out and take reduced insurance guarantee under late plant provisions?"
Scott explained that most crop insurance policies include a 25-day late planting period. In Indiana and Ohio, the clock starts ticking on June 5 for corn. Acres planted after that deadline will receive a lower revenue guarantee than those acres planted by the deadline. The coverage is reduced 1 percent per day for each of the next 25 days.
According to Scott, if the corn crop can't be planted by June 5th, farmers have some options.
1. Plant the original crop after the deadline, even though yields may be reduced.
2. Plant an alternative crop, such as beans.
3. Let the ground lay idle or plant a cover crop and receive a full prevented planting payment (the ground can't be harvested until after November 1).
4. Take 'prevented planting' and get 35 percent of the claim on corn and pay 35 percent of the premium (but you can not plant beans until July 1st).
With each of these options carries certain consequences, said Scott. "That's why a farmer must carefully consider what's best for their operation. At Farm Credit, we highly encourage every farmer in this situation to have good communication with their crop insurance specialist and look at both the short-term and long-term implications of that decision."
Scott said that some of those decisions might include the following:
Do I plant corn after June 5th?
Do I switch to soybeans?
Do I take the Crop Insurance Prevented Planting payment on the corn?
Will I still qualify for the Enterprise premium discount on prevent plant acres?
What about the corn contracts?
What impact will lower corn acres have on prices, global issues, carryover and ethanol?
Can I look at bare ground all summer and wonder 'what if'?
Ultimately, can I pay the bills?
If you haven't been able to get in the fields, Scott encourages farmers to talk to their agent today to help in the decision-making process. "The deadline is close. For corn crops, June 6th is the first day to file for a 'notice of loss' for prevent plant and June 30th is the final day to file a prevent plant claim," he said.
"The wet weather is impacting a lot of farmers. This time last year, Indiana farmers had planted 88 percent of their corn crop. Today, that figure is just under 50 percent. In Ohio, the numbers are worse. The average was 87 percent last year compared to 11 percent today."