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Check with crop insurance agent, agronomist about prevented planting acres

Check with crop insurance agent, agronomist about prevented planting acres
If you chose prevented planting, follow up on those acres soon.

Reports are beginning to circulate that in the hardest hit areas, thousands of acres were not planted due to flooding and ponding preventing field work this spring. If you have fields you chose not to plant because it became late, check with your crop insurance agent now to make sure all the 'I's are dotted and 't's crossed.

The first step is to make sure you complied with the dates when crops are considered as "prevented planting." This date varies with the crop. Until that date insurance agents say you are expected to make a 'good faith' effort to plant.

If you planted and the field flooded out or you lost a good portion of the field, it can no longer be considered prevented planting.

Too late for prevented planting: Once the field is planted, no matter how poor it performs, it's not a candidate for prevented planting under crop insurance. Yield will determine if it qualifies for crop insurance payments- but it will be yield on the entire farm unit, depending upon your policy, not just one field.

According to one insurance adjustor, those fields will be treated as any other loss this fall. Whether or not you collect may depend on the performance of the entire farm unit, or farm, depending on how your crop insurance is enrolled. It may be possible to have a 50% loss in one field and still not collect if other fields in the same unit yield better and pull the average up above the level that would trigger crop insurance payments. All of this, the adjustor says, depends upon what type of coverage you have.

Related: Using cover crops to save soil +5 resources for wet fields

You may also want to talk to agronomists about what you can or should do with prevented planting acres. One agronomist says he's fielded several questions already about planting cover crops into those fields. Since they are idle, and since many cover crops need to be planted early, even in August, it would seem like the ideal time to get a cover crop established and get something on the land. Check with your insurance agent before deciding to seed a crop, including a cover crop.

The problem is, according to the agronomist, in about half the cases so far, the field was already sprayed with residual herbicides. That eliminates planting many or all cover corps, depending on what was applied.

This may be a year with no easy answers.

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