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Wheat Crop Still Uncertain After Up and Down Winter

Wheat Crop Still Uncertain After Up and Down Winter
Farmers may face decision whether to tear wheat up or leave it.

An attractive futures price and plenty of dry weather to seed wheat last fall led to more acres of wheat being sown in some areas of Indiana than others. Some of the wheat seeded was for cover crop, but much of it was to left to grow.

There are other crops that work better as cover crops than wheat, including cereal rye, a favorite because it can be seeded later than wheat, annual ryegrass because it roots so deep. Forage radishes and turnips are other good options.

Tough winter: How will wheat come out of this up and down temperature winter, often without snow cover? The answer may determine whether some want to destroy their crop or not.

Some people may need to decide if the stand of wheat they intended to be harvested as a crop this spring is good enough to leave or not. If they took out crop insurance on their wheat, as many did, they need to be sure to keep their agent and crop adjustor in the loop as they make decisions. Failure to do so in the past on some farmer's parts has resulted in awkward positions, as to whether the farmer could be paid or not.

"You must have it appraised if you elect to tear it up," says Doug Emery, Diversified Services regional marketing manager, Lafayette. Just because you have it appraised doesn't mean you have to tear it up. But if you tear it up first, obviously it can't be appraised and you risk any payout form your policy.

The problem with wheat is that it is hard to appraise this early in the season, Emery says. It's difficult to know how many tillers will come out as better weather approaches. In the end it's up to you to make the decisions as to whether to keep it or not.

In some cases if you know you're going to tear it up, you may be asked to leave check strips if the adjustor doesn't or can't get there before you tear it up. Be careful to leave test strips that are of the size and number that the adjustor specifies.

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