Can't Plant? Put Your Empty Fields To Good Use

Iowa Farm Scene

Cover crops and conservation practice construction can be an option for farmers unable to plant corn or soybeans this spring.

Published on: June 17, 2013

For corn, the final planting date for full crop insurance coverage in Iowa is May 31. Then the late planting period runs through June 24 and the crop insurance guarantee is reduced by 1% per day until the corn is planted. If you decide to take a prevented planting claim on corn, it must be filed by June 25 to receive the 60% of revenue guarantee. At 185 bushels per acre, that's $533 per acre. For the most part, the yield potential of corn drops in half if planted in the latter half of June. As of June 9, 8% of this year's Iowa corn crop was left to plant, according to the weekly USDA survey. Given the reduced yield potential of corn planted now, and the already saturated soils and a forecast for continued wet weather, farmers predict that tens of thousands of acres of crops won't be planted especially in the northern Iowa counties.

What are your options for land you will take "prevented planting" on this year?

Farmers are being encouraged to consider planting a cover crop, build conservation practices such as terraces, grass waterways and buffers or do both on land they are unable to plant to corn and beans this year due to the historically wet spring weather. 

"This has been the wettest spring on record, and as a result a significant part of our state's corn and soybean crops have not yet been planted," noted Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, on June 14. "It is critically important that farmers work with their crop insurance agent to understand all their planting options. If farmers do use the prevented planting option being offered by crop insurance for corn and soybeans, I encourage the farmers to consider planting a cover crop on those fields. Or, use the fields as an opportunity to install soil and water conservation practices such as grass waterways, buffer strips or terraces. Or, better yet do both on your land that's been impacted by the continued rain and prevented planting this year."