To say it has been a difficult start for Michigan farmers to begin field work and put seed in the ground would be putting it lightly. While farmers face challenges every year, continued rain delays so far in 2019 have kept most planters in the shed — and farmers out of the fields.
While statewide precipitation has averaged 1.27 inches above normal since April 1, some areas are reporting excessive rainfall — nearly 4 inches above normal. According to the National Ag Statistics Service’s May 13 crop progress report, 63% of Michigan cropland topsoil moisture was rated as “surplus,” with 49% of those acres also reporting “surplus” subsoil moisture.
According to Michigan Farm Bureau Field Crops Specialist Theresa Sisung, planting progress is seriously lagging, with only two and a half days reported as “suitable for fieldwork” out of the first two weeks of May across Michigan.
“As of May 12, only 5% of the state’s corn acres have been planted compared to the five year average of 34%, while only 3% of Michigan soybean acres have been planted versus the five-year average of 17%,” Sisung said. “Michigan planted sugarbeet acres are also in dire straits – with only 46% percent reported as complete compared to the five-year figure of 83%.”
In addition to weather-related challenges, farmers are also facing a dismal economic outlook, with the ongoing China trade dispute and failure of Congress to approve the pending USMCA trade agreement, Sisung said.
Prevented Planting Option?
“Given the cards they’ve been dealt, many producers are starting to question if this will be the year they are ultimately forced to utilize Prevented Planting options through their crop insurance policies if they aren’t able to get in the fields soon,” Sisung said.
According to Janna Fritz, crop insurance manager for Farm Bureau Insurance, a “prevented planting” is a failure to plant an insured crop with the proper equipment by the final planting date designated in the insurance policy’s Special Provisions or during the late planting period, if applicable.
Prevented planting coverage factors are designed to provide protection based on pre-planting costs generally incurred up to the point of planting the crop. Fixed and variable costs, established from available national and state crop budgets, are compared to average insurance guarantees to establish prevented planting coverage factors.
These costs can include the purchase of machinery, land rent, fertilizer, actions taken to ready the field, pesticide, labor, and repairs. The prevented planting factor is a percentage of the individual insurance guarantee and varies by crop, based on an estimate of pre-planting costs.
“Final planting dates and late planting periods vary by crop and by area,” Fritz said. “The amount of prevented planting coverage is calculated as a percent of the insurance guarantee the insured would have had for a timely planted crop.”
Likewise, according to Fritz, the coverage level percentages for prevented planting varies by crop. The chart below shows the final plant date, end of late plant period date, and prevented planting coverage level for a few crops in Michigan.
Final Plant Date
End of Late Plant Period Date
Prevented Planting coverage Level
“If you have acreage that will be prevented from planting prior to the final plant date or during the late plant period, producers should contact their crop insurance agent and report a prevented planting notice of loss to get more details on your specific coverage,” Fritz added.
According to Fritz, if an insured is prevented from planting they should report the notice of loss to their agent within the timeframe specified in the policy. “Once the claim is reported and the acreage report is filed, an adjuster will contact them to go over the qualifications and make determinations necessary to see if the acreage qualifies for a payment,” she said.
If producers have specific questions regarding eligibility they should contact their agent. Remember for Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) policies there are specific reporting requirements outlined in your policy.
If acreage is prevented from being planted by the final planting date the following options could apply:
(Note: When the first crop is prevented from being planted and a second crop is planted on the same acreage in the same crop year, the acreage in which you receive a prevented planting insurance guarantee reduced to 35 percent of the prevented planting payment will have 60% of the approved applicable Actual Production History (APH) yield applied. There is no effect on the APH database if the prevented planting payment is not reduced to 35%.)
The amount of prevented planting coverage is calculated as a percent of the insurance guarantee the insured would have had for a timely planted crop. For example, suppose a producer’s insurance guarantee is $100 an acre. If the producer insures a crop with a 60% prevented planting coverage factor, the prevented planting payment would be $60 (or 60 percent of the guarantee). The prevented planting factor varies by crop, based on an estimate of pre-planting costs.
“Prevented planting can be a valuable option, but always consult with your crop insurance agent and discuss the options to see if your current situation may qualify for prevented planting under your policy,” Fritz said. “With markets not looking great and planting conditions continuing to deteriorate in many locations, prevented planting may be a good choice.”
Crop Insurance Specialist in Michigan:
Name Region Cell Phone
Ryan Fox West Region 269-313-5566
Marc Erffmeyer Southwest Region 269-569-1039
Marc Reinhardt Bay-Thumb Region 989-450-4851
Nate Gust Southeast Region 517-605-1076
Brenda Szach Northern Region 989-329-7290
Matt Thelen Central Region 989-640-0570
Adam Gulvas Saginaw Valley Region 989-205-3526