Heavy rains have saturated fields, forcing producers to make tough decisions

Contributed by Steve JohnsonFarm Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension, sdjohns@iastate.edu, 515-957-5790

Farmers should have kept accurate records of planting dates this spring. Write down the dates you planted that crop, number of acres and reference the farm name or number. “Good planting records are key for crop insurance coverage purposes and for completing the annual USDA’s Farm Service Agency acreage report prior to July 15,” notes Johnson.

Q: What should a producer do if his/her planted crops are affected by flooding, wind or hail?

A: Notify your crop insurance agent or insurance carrier within 72 hours of the loss. The agent’s company will assign a crop insurance adjuster that will work directly with the insured.

Q: Can I destroy the damaged crop and prepare to replant.

A: It is important not to destroy a field with crop damage until an adjuster has approved/released the field for other cropping or potential tillage practices. Listen carefully and document the adjuster’s recommendations. Work with your crop insurance agent regarding potential indemnity payments and continue “good farming practices” as required to maintain crop insurance coverage.

flooded fieldQ: What if the field remains underwater for an extended period of time?

A: If your field is under water for an extended period of time let your agent know.  The agent can help file a notice of damage and have the insurance company take a closer look.

Q: Isn’t there a 20-20 rule for crop insurance coverage?

A: Yes, to qualify for an indemnity payment under the replanted, delayed or prevented planting provisions, a minimum area of 20 acres or 20% of the insured unit, whichever is smaller, must be affected.

A unit could be a field or a farm – if you elected an optional whole farm or basic unit. An enterprise unit could also have been elected, which reflects all the corn acres or all the soybean acres grouped together in a particular county.

Q: I chose enterprise units to save on premium. Can I now change to basic or optional units because flooding has damaged my planted crop acreage on a few fields?

A: Because unit structure impacts the premium cost, and in the case of enterprise units, also the premium subsidy, the policyholder’s decision to elect enterprise units is made no later than the sales closing date to reflect the binding contractual agreement between the two parties on or before March 15, 2018.

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Prevented Planting FAQ for 2018

Steve Johnson photoWright, GaryVIEW UPDATE OF THIS POST FOR 2019

Reviewed by Gary Wright, Extension Farm Management Field Specialist, gdwright@iastate.edu

Originally Contributed by Steve Johnson, Extension Farm Management Field Specialist

Question: When is prevented planting available?

Answer: Prevented planting must be due to an insured cause of loss that is general in the surrounding area and that prevents other producers from planting acreage with similar characteristics. Failure to plant when other producers in the area were planting will result in denial of the prevented planting claim.

There’s also the 20/20 Rule–a minimum of 20 acres or 20% of the unit must be affected. Total acres of planted and prevented planted cannot exceed the total cropland acres. Prevented planting claims must be filed with your crop insurance agent by June 28 for corn and July 13 for soybeans. Prevented planting acres must be reported on the FSA Form 578 acreage report. That deadline in Iowa is July 15, 2018.

Question: When is prevented planting not available?

Answer: On ground that is insured through a New Breaking Written Agreement; Conservation Program Reserve land—first year out of CRP; on ground where a pasture or forage crop is in place during the time of planting; when other producers in the area are able to plant; on county-based crop insurance area policies—such as AYP & ARPI.

Question: How much do I get paid for prevented planting?

Answer: 55% of the initial revenue guarantee on corn and 60% on soybeans.

  • For corn, an example of how it’s figured: 190 bushels APH x 80% x $3.96/bu = $602 initial revenue guarantee  x 55% = $331/acre PP payment
  • For soybeans, an example is 55 bushels APH x 80% x $10.16/bu = $447 initial revenue guarantee x 60% = $268/acre PP payment
  • Note that payments for prevented planting use the projected price (new crop futures price average in February).

Question: How are eligible acres for prevented planting determined?

Answer: The insurance company considers each of the insured’s crops in each county. They look at the maximum number of acres reported for insurance and certified in any of the four most recent crop years. The acres must have been planted in one of the last three crop years.

What happens if you are prevented from planting and there are not enough eligible acres for the crop being claimed? When the insured runs out of acreage eligibility for one crop, the remaining prevented planting acres will be “rolled” to another crop, such as corn to soybeans.

Question: What happens to my APH—actual production history– if I take prevented planting?

Answer: The insured farmer who receives prevented planting on a crop does not have to report the actual yield for the year. Generally, prevented planting will not impact the APH yield in future years, unless a second crop is planted on prevented planting acres.

Question: What happens if the first crop is prevented planting, but the second crop is planted?

Answer: If the second crop is planted it MUST be insured if there was insurance for that crop elected on or before March 15, 2018. The second crop must have been planted AFTER June 25 for corn and July 10 for soybeans. If the insured farmer plants a second crop they will still receive 35% of the indemnity for the prevented planting crop and pay only 35% of the premium.

Planting a second crop on prevented planting ground affects the following year’s APH:

  • 1st Crop – you get 60% of the approved yield (190 bu/A APH X 60% = 114 bu/A)
  • 2nd Crop – actual yields are used for APH

Question: What will crop insurance adjusters need to do for prevented planting claims?

Answer: Visually inspect all prevented planting acres to determine:

  • Acres are within 5% of what was on the acreage report
  • Whether the acres are left idle, or whether a cover crop or second crop has been planted
  • What the cause of loss was, and if it is general in the area
  • Determine eligible acres
  • Roll acres to other crops if insured is short of eligible acres for reported prevented planting crop

Question: What are the deadlines for filing prevented planting in Iowa?

Answer: These dates vary by state, but tend to be 3 days after the last day of the late planting period.

  • The deadline for filing prevented planting with your crop insurance agent is June 28 for corn and July 13 for soybeans
  • Acreage reporting deadline is July 16th. (This date is usually July 15th but this year the date falls on a Sunday)
  • Prevented planting acres listed on your acreage report (FSA Form 578) should match the information provided your crop insurance agent in order to qualify for a full indemnity payment
  • Work with your crop insurance agent well in advance of these dates regarding a prevented planting claim and whether a cover crop or a 2nd crop will be planted.

Question: To qualify for enterprise units on my crop insurance policy, I have to have at least the smaller of 20 acres or 20% of my planted acres in two or more different township sections.  If I have to leave some of my acres unplanted (prevented planting), will they still count toward my eligibility for enterprise units?

Answer: Only planted acres are considered when determining eligibility for enterprise units.  For example, a farm with 200 acres each in two sections would normally qualify for enterprise units. However, if fewer than 20 acres are planted in one of the sections, the farm would no longer qualify.  Possible increases in crop insurance premiums due to a change in unit designation should be considered when deciding whether or not to file for a prevented planting claim on some acres.

Question: If I take prevented planting on some of my fields and plant a cover crop, when can I harvest or graze the cover crop?

Answer: If you plant any kind of cover crop and expect to receive a crop insurance indemnity payment for prevented planting, you cannot harvest or graze those acres until after November 1.

ISU Extension Resources

More details can be found in the publication “Delayed and Prevented Planting Provisions” on the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Ag Decision Maker website. An electronic decision spreadsheet is also available to help analyze alternative actions. Producers should communicate with their crop insurance agent before making decisions about replanting or abandoning acres.

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Pricing drought damaged silage

Contributed by William Edwards, extension economist

Corn that has suffered severe drought damage is sometimes harvested as silage instead of as grain. It can still have significant feed value if harvested at the right stage. See the article “Alternatives for Drought-damaged Corn—Grain Crop or Forage” for harvesting recommendations. Any damaged acres that are covered by crop insurance should be viewed by an adjuster and released by the insurance company before harvesting takes place.

Grain producers may be willing to sell to the corn standing in the field, to be harvested by the livestock producer or a custom operator. The buyer and the seller must agree on a selling price.  The seller would need to receive a price that would give at least as good a return as could be received from harvesting the corn as grain. The buyer would need to pay a price that would not exceed the feeding value of the corn.  Within that range the price can be negotiated.

One ton of normal, mature standing corn silage at 60% to 70% moisture can be valued at about 10 times the price of a bushel of corn. For a $3.50 corn price, a ton of silage would be worth about $35 per ton. However, drought stressed corn may have only 5 bushels of grain per ton of silage instead of the normal 6 to 7 bushels. A value of about 9 times the price of corn would more appropriate. For silage with little grain content, a factor of 8 times the price of corn can be used.

If the crop is sold after being harvested and transported, those costs must be added to that value, typically $5 to $10 per ton, depending on whether it is done by a custom operator or the buyer, and the distance it is hauled. A buyer would only consider the variable costs for harvesting and hauling, whereas a custom operator would need to recover fixed costs, as well.

More information on valuing forage in the field, including an electronic spreadsheet for estimating a value for corn silage, for both the buyer and the seller, is available from Ag Decision Maker.

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Flood damaged crops, crop insurance payments, and lease contracts

William Edwards, retired extension economist, on issues from flooding regarding crop insurance, rented acres and looking ahead to 2017.

edwardswm_finalSome Iowa corn and soybean producers are facing substantial if not complete crop losses due to flooding. Fortunately, nearly 90 percent of Iowa’s corn and soybean acres are protected by Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI).

Crop insurance

Most Iowa producers purchase crop insurance policies with a 75 to 85 percent level of coverage. This means that if crops are a total loss, the producer must withstand the first 15 to 25 percent of the loss. However, in 2016 nearly 90 percent of the crop acres insured in Iowa were covered under Revenue Protection policies, which offer an increasing guarantee if prices increase between February and October. So far, this has added about $.80 per bushel to soybean guarantees, while the current corn futures price is actually below the February average. Moreover, since Revenue Protection (RP) policies are settled at the average nearby futures price during the month of October, rather than local cash prices, farmers receive a bonus equal to the fall grain basis in their area.

Producers with crops that have been totally destroyed by flooding will not have to incur the variable costs of harvesting. This could save around $20 per acre for soybeans and perhaps $50 per acre for corn, depending on potential yields and drying costs. Nevertheless, even producers who carried insurance at a high coverage level could be looking at net revenues near or below those obtained from normal yields this year.

2016 flooded bean field

Potential losses

For example, assume an insured tract has an expected corn yield and insurance proven yield of 175 bushels per acre. A normal crop marketed at $3.00 per bushel would bring $525 per acre. The insurance indemnity payment for an 80 percent RP guarantee, zero yield, and a February futures price of $3.86 would equal 175 bu. x $3.86 x 80% = $540. Saving $50 in harvest costs would give an equivalent of $590 per acre, or $65 above the value of a normal crop.

For soybeans, assume both the expected yield and the proven yield are 60 bushels per acre, and the crop could be marketed at $9.00 per bushel. Gross income for a normal crop would be $540 per acre. The insurance payment for a complete crop failure and a $9.65 October futures price would be 60 bu. x $9.65 x 80% = $463. Savings of $20 in harvesting costs brings the equivalent of $483 per acre, or $57 below the value of a normal crop.

In many cases, of course, flooded acres will make up only a portion of the insured unit, so production from non-flooded acres will be averaged in with the zero yields from the flooded acres.

The real question is how much will it cost to clean up fields and bring them back into production next year? Most Iowa farmers have not had experience with fields being under water for extended periods of time, so effects are difficult to estimate. Problems will range from physically removing debris to leveling eroded areas to restoring fertility.

Flooded field, 2016

Rental contracts

What do these questions imply for rental contracts? A great deal of uncertainty, for one thing. Lease agreements in Iowa continue in effect for another year under the same terms if they were not terminated on or before September 1.

Landowners will have to bear the burden of mitigating flood damages – that goes with owning property. But, a better solution may be for renters and owners to work together to repair the damage and bring the land back into production. Farm operators may have access to machinery that can help accomplish the job that owners do not. In return, tenants should be compensated for their efforts, either directly, through a significant discount on the 2017 rent, or with a long-term lease.

Next year

In some cases there may be doubt as to whether land flooded this year can even be planted next year. Risk Management Agency rules state that land must be physically available for planting to be insurable. Land that cannot be planted due to weather events that occurred before the sales closing date (March 15 in Iowa) is not eligible for prevented planting payments. When operators report their 2016 production, they can request that their 2016 yield histories reflect a value equal to 60 percent of the county “T-yield” rather than a zero or very low yield.

Close communication and cooperation between owners, crop insurance agents and renters can be a “win-win” strategy in the long run, but recovery may take several years.

Additional information about managing flood damaged cropland will be available from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as the waters recede and the situation is assessed. Keep in mind, dealing with issues from flooding can be stressful. Reach out to resources such as the Iowa Concern Hotline, with trained staff who are available to listen.

Iowa Concern –All calls, chats, and emails are free and confidential. Language interpretation available.

  • 24/7 Phone Support – Trained staff take your calls via a toll-free hotline at 1-800-447-1985.
  • Live Chat Services – Live chat for online, one-on-one support.
  • Email an Expert – Send your questions related to legal issues, finance, stress and crisis or disaster to our staff.

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2014 Farm Bill: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

Contributed by Kristen SchulteFarm Business Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, kschulte@iastate.edu, 563-547-3001

schultek_finalThe 2014 Farm Bill extended the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and the program expanded its coverage by allowing producers to purchase additional coverage. Producers have the opportunity to make this change for policies set for the 2015 crop year until January 15th, 2015.

What does NAP cover?

  • Crops (not livestock) that are commercially produced for food and fiber for which catastrophic coverage under Federal Crop Insurance is not available.
  • Losses due to damaging weather (drought, hurricane, freeze, etc.), adverse natural occurrences (volcanic eruption, flood, etc), and other adverse natural occurrences (ex. excessive heat, insect infestation, ect.).

Signing up for NAP?

  • Producers must apply by application closing date; application is completed with form CCC-471. Application closing dates may vary by crop.
  • To be eligible for NAP, producers must report crop type and variety, location of acres, producers and related shares of crop, growing practice, crop planting date, and intended use of crop commodity. After planting or harvest, producers must also report acres planted, quantity of harvest, and disposition of crop. Production records may be required by FSA.
  • Application must also include service fee. Service fee is $250 per crop or $750 per producer per administrative county. Premiums are also due if electing buy-up coverage.
  • Beginning, limited resource, and traditional underserved farmers are eligible for a waiver of the service fee and 50% premium reduction (file form CCC-860).

What are the NAP coverage levels?

  • Catastrophic Coverage (CAT) covers losses greater than 50 percent at 55 percent of the commodity price.
  • Additional coverage, with premium, is available from 50 to 65 percent in 5 percent increments for production loss at 100 percent of average market price.
  • Premiums for additional coverage is equivalent to 5.25 percent of calculated crop covered value (accounts for share of crop, eligible acres, approved yield, coverage level, and average market price)

Crop losses and NAP?

  • When a loss occurs, notify the FSA office within 15 days of the natural disaster occurrence, prevented planting due to natural influences, date damage is apparent, or normal harvest date (whichever date comes first).
  • For hand-harvested crops that require a timely assessment of loss before deterioration, notify FSA of losses within 72 hours for certain crops.
  • Losses must be verified by the producer by completing form CCC-576, additional documentation/evidence may apply.
  • Average market values are used. At the state level, FSA may set separate market prices for a crop based on represented farming practices or sales to different markets within the state.
  • Retroactive pay for 2012 NAP assistance is available for losses to fruit crops (trees or bushes) in counties that had Secretarial disaster designations due to frost or freeze are available.

Additional Information

  • Grazed acres can only participate in NAP at the CAT level; however, these acres can only participate in either NAP or Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program
  • Annually, payments are limited to $125,000 per individual or entity.
  • Additional information can be found at fsa.usda.gov/nap.
  • A decision tool is available through FSA and collaborating universities, http://fsa.usapas.com/

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