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Illinois prepares for record prevented planting claimsIllinois prepares for record prevented planting claims

No surprise, Illinois corn farmers are further behind than in any year since recording began in 1980.

Austin Keating

May 29, 2019

2 Min Read
tractor in flooded field
PREVENTED: After 2019, the next slowest year on record is 1995, when 37% of Illinois’ corn was planted by May 19. Prevented planting payments look more favorable now than they did in 1995, as more acres are insured today at higher guarantee levels.Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

With 24% of the corn crop planted as of May 19 in Illinois, farmers are well below their five-year average progress of 89%, thanks to accumulated rain. Stormy forecasts extending through the end of May continue to slow progress, not only in Illinois, but also across the Corn Belt.

In National Agricultural Statistics Service data dating back 40 years, 2019 is the most delayed year on record for Illinois, with the next slowest year being 1995, when 37% was planted by May 19.

Scott Irwin, University of Illinois ag economist, says Illinois has a history of taking very few prevented planting crop insurance claims compared to other states. He predicts 2019 will be different.

“We’re facing the unprecedented situation of a large chunk of the U.S. corn crop either being planted in the first few weeks of June or not being planted at all,” Irwin says. “I’m very confident that prevented planting will be at a level in Illinois we have never seen before.”

Late-planted corn doesn’t always necessarily lead to poor yields, as growing season weather plays an important role too, but as farmers get closer to the middle of June, they may be more likely to take prevented planting claims or switch to soybeans.

Irwin notes that in 1995, crop insurance policies were different than they are today. More acres are insured today and at higher guarantee levels, resulting in prevented planting payments looking more favorable now than in 1995.

However, USDA’s 2019 Market Facilitation Program throws in a variable for farmers. The 2018 MFP primarily compensated soybean growers with $1.65 per bushel in response to tariffs, and it wasn’t available to farmers who were prevented from planting, because the payment was based on what was planted for that growing season and not the historic acreage and yield.

The 2019 MFP announced on May 23 is likewise not based on historic acreage. It will give farmers incentive to plant soybeans into late June as soils dry, instead of taking a prevented planting claim on corn.

“That’s very problematic, because we already have a huge surplus of soybeans, and we don’t need incentives for any additional soybean acres,” Irwin says.

As markets have taken notice of the likely unprecedented prevented planting claims for corn, Irwin concludes, “I’m bullish corn and bearish soybeans.”

About the Author(s)

Austin Keating

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

Austin Keating is the newest addition to the Farm Progress editorial team working as an associate editor for Prairie Farmer magazine. Austin was born and raised in Mattoon and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in journalism. Following graduation in 2016, he worked as a science writer and videographer for the university’s supercomputing center. In June 2018, Austin obtained a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where he was the campus correspondent for Planet Forward and a Comer scholar.

Austin is passionate about distilling agricultural science as a service for readers and creating engaging content for viewers. During his time at UI, he won two best feature story awards from the student organization JAMS — Journalism Advertising and Media Students — as well as a best news story award.

Austin lives in Charleston. He can sometimes be found at his family’s restaurant the Alamo Steakhouse and Saloon in Mattoon, or on the Embarrass River kayaking. Austin is also a 3D printing and modeling hobbyist.

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