Producers are advised to check with their crop insurance agents on prevented planting requirements and harvest restrictions for cover crops.
Cover crop recommendations for farmers with "prevented planting" acres
So, what type of cover crop should you plant? That's not easy to answer, depending on your particular situation. Mark Licht, ISU Extension field agronomist in central Iowa, offers the following information and recommendations regarding making cover crop decisions for "prevented planting" acres. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions after you read the following guidelines.
As of June 14 in central Iowa all the corn that will be planted has been planted except for a very few cases where silage corn will come in as a second crop. Soybean planting conditions have been dismal and we are fast approaching a decision point to plant or declare prevented planting. Corn planted between now and July 1 would yield 40% to 50%. Soybean planted between now and July 1 would yield 50% to 70%.
"As far as I can tell there is not an approved list of acceptable cover crops for prevented planting acres," says Licht. "I do know that NRCS has put out a document explaining the benefits of cover crops on prevented planting acres and listed some options, but some of those options would jeopardize prevented planting payments."
Be careful not to select an option that would jeopardize your crop insurance payment
He adds, "It is my understanding that a cover crop cannot be a viable crop such as corn, soybean, alfalfa, oats or wheat. Cover crops can't be harvested for seed or forage before November 1. However, I've heard from some insurance companies that they may cover oats or soybeans at a reduced seeding rate if approval is granted before seeding. So, if soybean or oats look attractive, talk to your insurance company before seeding. Soybeans may fix some nitrogen and oats will winter kill with a good frost."