planter sitting idle in a crop field
TOUGH DECISIONS: With crop insurance deadlines looming and fields still wet, some farmers may abandon plans to plant.

Prevented planting webinar May 24

ISU Extension will address planting options and crop insurance policies.

Wet conditions have made planting a challenge for farmers across Iowa this spring. USDA’s latest weekly survey shows 70% of Iowa’s expected corn crop has been planted and 27% of the expected soybean crop, as of May 20. With June around the corner, farmers have questions about late planting or prevented planting options.

Iowa State University Extension will host a webinar at 9 a.m. May 24 to address these concerns. ISU field agronomists Virgil Schmitt and Rebecca Vittetoe will discuss late planting options and considerations for both corn and soybeans. The webinar will include a discussion on crop insurance and prevented planting policies with ISU Extension farm management specialist Ryan Drollette. The webinar can be accessed at ISU Extension

Free, no registration  

The ISU May 24 webinar is free, and the public is welcome to attend. No pre-registration required. The webinar will be recorded and uploaded online for those unable to join the webinar live.

For more information or questions, contact Drollette at 319-337-2145 or; Schmitt at 563-260-3721 or; or Vittetoe at 319-653-4811 or

“We have several meetings scheduled for north-central and northwest Iowa and encourage farmers to attend and get information for making decisions on delayed planting and prevented planting,” says Paul Kassel, ISU Extension crop specialist based at Spencer. Topics will be addressed such as:

  • When should you take the prevented planting option?
  • What are the crop insurance implications?
  • What’s the tradeoff between planting corn and soybeans late versus taking prevented planting?
  • How will this decision affect your profitability in 2019?
  • When should you switch corn hybrid maturities if you decide to go ahead and plant corn?
  • When should you switch from corn to soybeans when planting is delayed?
  • What are other important management questions to consider when making prevented planting and late planting decisions?

The first meeting is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. May 28 at Sprit Lake in Dickinson County. The next three meetings will be  May 29 — 9:30 a.m. at Waters Edge Nature Center north of Algona in Kossuth County, 1:30 p.m. at Bancroft and 5:30 p.m. at Estherville. Contact for more information.

“We’re getting good at this,” Kassel says. “We held similar meetings and covered these topics last year when planting was delayed, and we held them in 2013 too, which was a really wet spring with late planting in Iowa.”

Farm Credit Services meetings

Farm Credit Services of America is also holding farmer meetings to provide information on making the prevented planting decision. One is at 2 p.m. May 23 at Webster City. Two are on May 30 — at Spencer and Emmetsburg. Call 800-884-FARM for more information.

ISU’s Kassel has talked to fertilizer and seed dealers who are urging farmers to attend these meetings to get answers to questions and learn how the prevented planting option for crop insurance works.

“Farmers in these areas may be 90% finished with planting corn, and perhaps have 20% to 40% of their soybean acres planted for 2019,” he notes. “The thing you have to consider is farmers have planted their easy fields first. Those are the well-tiled and well-drained fields. The fields farmers are still waiting to plant were too wet to begin with this spring, and it’s still raining today.”

Kassel adds, “A lot of folks will have to make hard decisions on prevented planting and late planting. They maybe only have 20% of their corn acreage for 2019 left to plant. But in all reality, it might be the first week of June before these wet conditions dry out enough so farmers can work the fields and get them planted.”

Doug Burns of Farm Credit Services also encourages farmers to spend some time going over numbers, so they can make an informed decision regarding the prevented planting option. “Your crop insurance agent is the key person you need to talk to.”

Farmers face difficult decisions between now and June 1. “The final crop insurance planting date for corn in Iowa is May 31. After that, farmers lose 1% of their revenue guarantee each day,” Burns says. “The final planting date for soybeans is June 15.”

On June 1 and thereafter, Iowa farmers have three choices: plant corn as soon as possible with a reduced guarantee, shift to soybeans with full insurance coverage or apply for prevented planting.

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