When Persistent Rains Prevent Planting

For some agricultural producers, wet weather during planting season can bring a lot of uncertainty with it. When cold and wet weather doesn’t let up and you can’t plant your crops across your acreage on time, you may have to make some big decisions.

There’s a lot to consider when persistent rains prevent planting. Do you leverage your prevented-plant insurance if you miss your planting window? Do you move to cover crops? Consider these tips should persistent rains prevent you from getting your crops in the ground.


What Is Prevented Planting Coverage?

It’s insurance that provides coverage when extreme weather conditions halt your planting schedule with the proper equipment. Because you’ve only got a few weeks to plant crops, bad weather that keeps you from planting can translate into a big financial loss. And when field conditions are too wet to even plant cover crops, filing insurance claims may need to occur in a limited period of time.

When your farm’s been impacted by persistent rains, you’ve got to use your best judgement on whether or not your farm’s suffered a covered loss. Now’s the time you’ll want to review the terms of your crop insurance with your insurance agent and explore the dates and deadlines according to your planting season.

How Does Prevented Planting Insurance Work With Flooding?

These claims are applicable when an entire region suffers from flooding or excessive rains. Conditions must be so bad that planting is impossible and has to be the result of an insured cause of loss. Also, the problem must be generalized to farms in your surrounding area or county. Many policies require that other producers must be prevented from planting in the region due to similar circumstances.

With final planting dates and late planting periods varying by crop and growing zones, it’s key to review your crop insurance policy for specifics that can impact your ability to get seeds planted in a timely manner.

Qualifying Weather Events

Prevented planting coverage is typically available for most major crops in a growing area. Coverage is usually limited to a specific date range identified in your policy. Prevented planting insurance for weather events usually includes the following:

  • Floods
  • Hurricanes
  • Excessive precipitation

When residual salt in the soil or irrigation water prevents planting, and the salt is the result of a hurricane or flood, this type of coverage may also be available.

Notice of Prevented Planting Is Required

One key factor in qualifying for a prevented planting loss is delivering timely notice of the loss to your insurer. When weather factors prevent you from planting on your acreage, many groups require notice within a given time frame.

Check your policy for specifics on when notice is due to be sure you’re in compliance — or you may not qualify because of a missed deadline.

Consider Cover Crops for Late Planting

Cover crops help to enrich your soil and prevent erosion. They can also keep it from compacting which can help to enhances water availability next season. But the real benefit is that cover crops help boost next year’s yields while helping you make the most of a bad situation this season. They’ll attract local pollinators and can help manage pests when the time comes to plant next year’s primary crops.

If you’ve had to delay planting due to heavy rains, you may be still be able to get cover crops into the ground. Here are a few cover crop planting decisions to keep in mind:

Select next year’s rotation now. Your cash crop should sync up with this year’s cover crop plan. Can you leave it to overwinter? Or will you be planting for livestock to forage? Both of these choices will need to work with what’s going to go in the ground next year.

Look at USDA’s guidelines. The United States Department of Agriculture offers a great resource on prevented planting that’s worth exploring before you make any cover crop decisions.

Consider your existing herbicide and fertilizer program. If you’ve already prepped the soil with an herbicide or fertilizer, that should drive cover crop decision. Go for crops that can cycle your nitrogen and leverage the conditions in the ground.

Manage your planting schedule. Figure out what dates are the earliest and latest for planting cover crops.

Stay flexible when selecting a cover crop. With so many operations converting to cover crops when planting is prevented, your first or second choice of seed may not be available. Consider alternatives that accomplish your goals.

Think through the seeding process. Does the cover crop require you to drill seed? Will the soil support your implements? It may be wiser to broadcast seed but you may have to select seed that works with this process.

Get in Contact With Your Insurance Agent

Because staying in compliance with your insurance contract can have a lasting financial impact on your operation, its key that farmers plant in accordance with their crop insurance contract. That’s why you should stay in close contact with your American Family Insurance agent as you develop your plan to manage planted acres lost to weather issues.


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