Agriculture's Big Picture
AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.
Propane On Allocation; Check Your Crop Insurance
Nov 04, 2009
The 2009 harvest stands to go down as the harvest that never ends. One southwest Minnesota farmer sent me an e-mail after 11:00 last night. He was out doing one last dryer check before heading to bed and his propane driver was there topping off his tank. The local co-op was notified that they would be put on propane allocation sometime today and he wanted to make sure their customers had as much supply on hand before they risked being shut down.
With only one bin on natural gas, this stands to severely limit their harvest progress. With much of their corn still above 30% moisture in the fields, that Minnesota sun needs to shine brightly to aid field drying.
"Let me get this straight," he says in his e-mail. "We can’t get enough of the 1.65/gallon lp gas to dry the 30+% moisture corn with 50#tw, and 5% fm, poor stalk integrity, and covered with mold."
Ah, mold. There's the other key factor in this scenario. Roger Schlitter, a farm financial consultant and crop insurance agent from Mason City, Iowa, cautions producers to contact their crop insurance companies BEFORE they harvest any moldy corn. And if you decide not to harvest the corn yet because you can't get the propane for drying, or it's too wet, or the myriad other reasons this harvest season lingers, you need to contact your crop insurance agent.
"As with all things, nothing is simple or for sure. Yes, the companies and RMA could agree to extend the coverage period. That is not a sure thing. Unlikely to happen if all cannot agree on doing it," Schlitter says. "Some companies may well balk at doing it so their risk ends. We will not know if this is an issue until it is later in the harvest season.
"But, again, do not be the one guy who has his whole crop standing, waiting for mother nature to dry it and your neighbors have been harvesting and paying the piper to dry very wet corn. That guy would be on thin ice. I think our adjusters will work real hard to be fair with farmers who are doing their best in a difficult situation."