The cool, wet early-spring weather might mean some corn and soybean fields will be planted later than usual. Producers might be wondering what options they have under their multiperil crop insurance coverage policy.
Insured acres that have already been planted but need to be replanted may qualify for a special replanting insurance payment. To qualify, the acreage needed to be planted after the initial planting dates of April 11 for corn and April 21 for soybeans in Iowa. Those insured must contact their crop insurance agent within 72 hours of discovery of damage and before replanting.
Replant payments are based on the value of 8 bushels of corn or 3 bushels of soybeans per acre, times their respective spring-projected insurance prices. Those 2020 prices were $3.88 per bushel for corn and $9.17 per bushel for soybeans. That’s about $31 per acre for corn and $28 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 must have suffered loss, whichever is smaller.
In Iowa, the crop insurance “late planting period” begins after the final planting date of May 31 for corn and June 15 for soybeans. Note that these dates vary across the Corn Belt. For each day planting is delayed after these dates, revenue coverage declines by 1% each day up to 25 days. This shows the importance of producers keeping good planting records.
Unplanted corn acres
Beginning June 1, Iowa producers with unplanted corn acres have three choices:
- Plant corn but with a reduced guarantee.
- Shift to soybeans with full insurance coverage.
- Take prevented planting. Qualified acres are insured at 55% of their original guarantee for corn and 60% for soybeans.
Extension crop insurance resources
More details can be found in the publication Delayed and Prevented Planting Provisions, File A1-57. An electronic decision spreadsheet is also available to help analyze alternative actions. Insured producers should talk with their crop insurance agent before making decisions about replanting or abandoning acreage to prevented planting.
Establishing a cover crop is not required on prevented planting acres but is highly recommended. The rules set by USDA’s Risk Management Agency, which oversees the federal crop insurance program, do not require a cover crop. However, RMA encourages cover crops, and you’ll receive a full-prevented planting indemnity payment — even if you choose not to plant a cover crop. The cover crop choices likely include oats, wheat, barley or millet.
Keep in mind that if you plant any kind of cover crop and expect to receive a crop insurance payment for prevented planting, you cannot harvest or graze those acres before Nov. 1.
Unplanted or idle acreage
Producers can leave the unplanted or abandoned acreage idle (black dirt), but this is probably not the best agronomic choice. However, for some small areas of fields, it might be the only choice. There may be portions of fields in the river bottoms or low-lying areas where equipment cannot gain access because of flooded or continued wet conditions.
Most of Iowa’s fields will be planted this spring, but some acres may require replanting. For crop insurance purposes, portions of fields may be delayed or replanted. Regardless, producers should keep good records of planting dates and the number of acres for both crop insurance purposes and Farm Service Agency acreage certification. Write down the dates you planted that particular crop, the number of acres planted, and reference the farm name or number.
Johnson is an Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist. He can be reached at email@example.com.