The Record’s Ag Report
About a month ago, agricultural producers were apprehensive about being in the fields planting as it was terribly dry. They were nervous about prairie fires, concerned about the lack of subsoil moisture and worried about the outcome for their cattle and crops.
“As of May 15, most producers have been in pretty good moods,” FSA County Executive Director Dan Weber said. “Especially the cattlemen.”
Cattle producers certainly welcomed the rainfall as everything has blossomed. The pastures are green, and dams and dugouts are full for cattle to drink from.
Weber said that, in visiting with farmers in our area, most have their small grains planted and a good start on their corn also.
“They still have some corn going into the ground, and are currently working on soybeans and sunflowers when the weather has allowed,” he said.
Weber participated in a FSADistrict Meeting on May 28, which includes 10 counties. Those counties north of Interstate 94 indicated they had only 50 percent of their wheat planted and are still working on the corn.
While there is a Prevented Planting Program with benefi ts available for producers unable to get their crops planted, Weber believes producers are going to do their best to get it planted and will use the program if they absolutely cannot get it in.
“They may not have the ideal conditions, but I think most of crop will get planted,” Weber said. “I have never seen a year that it has not been done.”
“They know how to take care of themselves, and if they are done and notice the neighbor is not, they help each other out,” he said.
For those producers who will be needing the Prevented Planting Program, it is crucial they are aware of the ending planting dates set through Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC). FSA needs the required information within 15 days of the ending planting date for the specific crop.
John Beck of John Beck Insurance in Linton said his office has received several phone calls from producers.
“A lot of the farmers have been calling in concerned about the ending planting deadlines for small grains and row crops,” Beck said.
Beck said the final planting deadlines for corn grain was on May 25, small grains on May 31, corn silage on June 5 and for soybeans and sunflowers, it was June 10.
Under the FCIC program, producers have a late planting period, 25 days after the final planting dates. They can plant beyond the final planting dates, but they lose one percent of their coverage for each day that has passed the final planting dates. If they plant beyond the 25-day period, they lose two percent of their coverage. Only the acres that were seeded late would be reduced, and coverage cannot drop below 60 percent of their total coverage.
“Under the prevented planting program, they only get 60 percent of their crop insurance guarantee and that is based on their 10-year average,” Beck said.
Beck said he gets calls every day, and a few are concerned they just won’t get into their fields soon.
“Some are really worried that it is getting very late for seeding, and the 90-day forecast is calling for below normal temperatures but normal precipitation also,” he noted.
With those predictions, farmers are concerned the crops will not mature prior to the first frost.
“Farmers are struggling now to make the right decision as it is a totally different scenario than it was two to three weeks ago when it was too dry,” Beck said.
Even though there may be some fields that are under water and those areas will not get planted, Beck believes the majority of the farmers will make a good attempt to get the crop in.
“With the “I” states (Illinois, Indiana and Iowa) also being behind schedule in planting, the idea of good grain market prices is looking more favorable every day,” he said.
Plus, farmers have very high input costs, and they just cannot afford to take the risk of losing the potential income they need to cover those costs.
Beck also noted a couple of farmers have noticed a field that has a thin stand and have asked about the replant option in their crop insurance policy. One reason for the thin stand is when farmers were planting prior to the rain, they were having to place the seed deeper into the ground to reach the moisture in order for it to germinate. However, with three weeks of cool, wet weather, the seed still has not emerged and may not be able to.
Another problem is some areas experienced heavy downpours of rain which ran along the seed trench, washing the plants out of the ground. The replant option will help cover a majority of the added cost.
Beck and Weber agreed that the remainder of spring 2013 is going to be very busy for producers.