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Farmers consider prevented planting options

Article cover photo
Robb Ewoldt, an Iowa Soybean Association district director from Davenport, closes planter bins while preparing to move his planter to another field last week. Farmers across the state are facing difficult decisions when it comes to preventative planting due to above normal rainfall across the state. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Bethany Baratta, ISA senior writer

Farmers like Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) executive committee treasurer Robb Ewoldt are keeping in touch with their crop insurance agents and taking a closer look at their crop insurance and prevented planting options as the final planting dates for corn (May 31) and soybeans (June 15) approach.

“We’ve had one full day and two half days where we’ve been able to get into the fields to plant since the beginning of April,” Ewoldt said. He’s less than halfway done planting his crops near Davenport.

On June 1 and June 16, the first days in what’s considered the late planting period for corn and soybeans respectively, crop insurance coverage drops 1 percent per day from the coverage that farmers elected earlier this year. However, the premium for having that 85 percent coverage, or whatever has been elected, doesn’t change.

 “I’ve never been in the situation where we didn’t get planted before they start taking percentage away. It looks like we’re in that situation this year,” Ewoldt said.

Pat Swanson, a crop insurance agent and ISA District 9 director, said the 1 percent reduction in coverage was determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA). This formula is used to keep the program “actuarially sound,” she said.

“Because the yield potential goes down every day, the potential for a claim goes up. The RMA’s formula reduces the level of coverage to match the yield potential going down,” Swanson said.

Soybeans in a field near Granger received heavy rain earlier this week. Farmers are considering prevented planting options as suitable days for planting have been few and far between the past two months.(Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Prevented Planting

 Prevented planting decisions have to be made by June 25 for corn acres and July 10 for soybean acres in Iowa, 25 days after what’s considered the final plant dates by the RMA.

 After the late plant date for corn, farmers can choose to plant soybeans on their prevented plant corn acres but with a reduction in their prevented plant payment. If they are unable to plant either crop, farmers can consider planting a cover crop to maintain the soil health, keeping in mind that it can't be hayed or grazed until after November 1.

Farmers should keep track of corn and soybean acres planted each day after the final planting dates as acres will have a different level of coverage considering the 1 percent per day provision, Swanson said.

 As farmers continue to make planting decisions, the best place to start is by calling their crop insurance agent to determine the best course of action for their farm. 

 "The main thing we're telling our clients is to call us with questions," Swanson said.  "There are a lot of different scenarios with prevented planting, replant and failed crop, and we can help them understand their options."

For more information on different planting scenarios after the final planting dates, see the Iowa State University Ag Decision Maker’s Delayed and Prevented Planting Provisions for Multiple Peril Crop Insurance guidance document.

Contact Bethany Baratta at

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