How to Weigh Your Prevent Plant Decision

04:54PM May 31, 2019
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Mother Nature is dealing farmers an extremely difficult hand. Spring flooding, excessive rainfall and even severe weather has reduced 2019 planting progress to a frustrating creep is many areas of the Midwest.

As of May 26, only 58% of the country’s estimated 92.8 million corn acres have been planted. The five-year average for this notch on the calendar is 90%. Farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota have yet to reach the 40% completed point for corn.

Soybean planting is equally as slow, with only 29% of the U.S.’s 84.6 million acres planted as of May 26. The five-year average for late May is 66% planted.

If you are one of the farmers with lots of acres left to plant, you may be considering taking a prevent plant claim. Depending on the area, final planting dates have already passed or are May 31 or June 5 for corn. For soybeans, the dates are June 10, June 15, June 20, June 25 or June 30 (click maps to enlarge).


corn planting map


soybean final planting dates

Farmers have a window of 20 to 25 days after those dates where they can still receive coverage. But acres planted within this window will receive 1% less insurance coverage per each day after the final planting date.

“Once we get to the final planting dates, farmers can take a prevent plant payment or they can continue to plant corn or the switch to soybeans,” says Gary Schnitkey, ag economist at the University of Illinois. 

Due to the downside price risk for soybeans, he says, the best two options for many farmers are to take the prevent plant on corn or plant corn.

“If I were a farmer and had some fit ground next week that is highly productive, I’d go in and plant it with corn,” he says. “On more marginal land that’s still wet, you may want to take prevent plant on those.”

What Will Be the Total Prevent Plant Acres in 2019?

Next week will be key in determining how much of the corn crop is planted this year, Schnitkey says. On a national basis, he thinks, 10% more in corn planting progress is the highest USDA will report as of June 2.

“Prevent plant acres are going to be at a record level this year,” he says. “It will just be a question of how much of a record it is.”

Schnitkey says 10 million acres of prevent plant is possible this year. That’s a significant bump from recent years and average levels.

Over the last 12 years, there was an average of 4.6 million prevented planting acres, per data analysis from Brent Gloy, a farmer and economist with Agricultural Economic Insights. Since 2016, corn prevented planting acres were equal to about 1% of final planted acres. In 2018, total prevent plant acres were 2 million, the third-lowest level in 12 years.


prevent plant data

Source: Agricultural Economic Insights

If you are considering the prevent plant option in 2019, contact your crop insurance agent. Eligibility and reporting requirements are key to assuring that a prevented planting payment can be received. 


Read More
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