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From the Editor

RSS By: Brian Grete, Pro Farmer

Pro Farmer Editor Brian Grete takes time to talk with Pro Farmer Members about some of the key issues in each week's Pro Farmer newsletter.

To Plant... or Not to Plant?

May 31, 2013

Chip Flory

From The Editor

May 31, 2013

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

It's May 31. Do you know where your seedcorn is?

Unfortunately for many growers in the western Corn Belt, the seedcorn is still in the bag. Or, if you've got water sitting in fields or trenches cut by the last downpour, you might be happy that seed is still in the bag.

Regardless, many western Belt growers - and some in Illinois - now have a choice to make. But don't feel like you have to make the decision right now. There are many misunderstandings of the Prevented-Plant option on crop insurance, but I do know you do not have to make your decision within 72 hours of the final plant date on your policy. Basically what happens is your coverage is reduced by 1 percentage point per day for the first 25 days after the final plant date. At any time in that period you can decide to plant corn at reduced coverage; to plant beans (with full insurance coverage up to the final planting date for beans) or to file a Prevented-Plant claim. And even after you file the Prevented Plant claim, that claim can be erased by planting a crop (either the insured crop or an alternative crop).

Simple enough, right?

Well... no it's not simple. Economics come into play on this decision. Gary Schnitkey at the University of Illinois provided an example of the economic decision-making process. Be sure to check it out.

In this week's newsletter, we drop our corn planting expectations to 95 million acres. We present that with a lot of confidence in the newsletter, but it's still a moving target. And it depends on if USDA was right back in March when it estimated your corn-planting intentions of 97.3 million acres. But we are confident corn acres are being switched to soybeans. And we know many growers that have never filed a Prevented-Plant claim are getting themselves educated on the process. One of the Members called this morning to say, "I feel a lot better about the situation after talking with my agent. I'm comfortable with how the process works... and I don't think there's enough extra revenue in making the switch to beans to make it worthwhile."

Here's an update from a south-central Minnesota Pro Farmer Member: "I have been to prevent-planting meetings and I would guess that right in this area that about 70% of corn has been planted and 5% of beans. West of here and south of Minnesota River it is  higher; East of I35 there a lot who haven't turned a wheel or have planted very little. Nothing will happen here for a week with good weather. We have missed a lot of the big rains but get 2 to 4 tenths every day. I think a lot of corn will go to prevent plant or beans depending on your numbers and the weather."

So... figuring out total corn planted acres will be a tough job this year. We've got USDA's June Acreage Report coming up at the end of the month. Unfortunately because of the survey period, it will still include some planting intentions. But, that will be the number we'll have to work with until at least October.

That's it for now...

I've got to book out of here this afternoon. I coach a high school trap team and the State High School Championship Shoot is taking place right now. My squads shoot later this afternoon... wish us luck!

Follow me on Twitter at @ChipFlory

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