Keeping planting and hay harvesting on track during spring is crucial – doubly so for dairy farmers. Delays in planting corn and or soybeans can push back harvest of first-cutting hay crops. In turn, that reduces forage quality of that crop, and can reduce the number of cuttings for the year.
One tool to reduce that wet spring risk is the "prevented planting" feature in corn and soybean crop insurance policies. You have until the March 15 crop insurance deadline to sign up for this prime risk-reducer for 2013.
Craig Phelps of Edgewood Farms, Groveland, N.Y., relies on this risk management tool. "We had an extraordinarily wet spring [in 2011]. I think a record amount of rainfall in April and May put together," he recalls. "We didn't plant a kernel of corn until the first of June."
Due to the late start that year, several hundred acres of Edgewood corn weren't planted according to plan. Phelps calls the delayed and prevented planting coverage "probably the biggest value of crop insurance."
Prevented planting is included in all policies at 60% of the insured guarantee. Producers can opt for 65% or 70% prevented planting coverage for an additional cost.
In New York, June 10 is the final planting date for planting corn or soybeans for crop insurance purposes. Since the final planting date varies by state, check with your crop insurance agent. The crop can be planted after that final planting date, but will result in a lower pay-out guarantee.