Planting early is risky venture, regardless of favorable weather
Planting corn or soybeans before early planting dates could be a risky move for growers with certain types of crop insurance, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist says.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, Indiana and Ohio farmers with individual crop insurance plans have no replant coverage on corn planted before April 6, or soybeans planted before April 21. That means if the crop is damaged or destroyed, insurance will not cover the cost to replant it.
"One thing the crop insurance policies are intended to do is promote farmers following good farming practices," said George Patrick. "Planting before these dates runs a higher risk of loss, so it is not encouraged by crop insurance."
The early planting regulations do not apply to county-based group risk or income protection plans.
"If producers with individual insurance plans follow the regulations and don't plant their crops too early and the crop is destroyed, they will receive a payment that about replaces cost of the seed," Patrick said.
But in the case of corn, poor 2011 growing conditions mean that additional seed might not be available for replanting, said Alan Galbreth, chief executive for the Indiana Crop Improvement Association.
"Seed corn yields last summer were down 20-30 percent, South American production this winter has not met yield expectations, and carryover seed stock inventories were lower than normal prior to last summer's production issues," he said. "There should be enough seed for planting, but choices of hybrids and maturity ranges are somewhat limited now and could be very limited for replant seed."
While crop insurance plans and initial seed orders had to be purchased by now, it's still important for producers to talk with their insurance agents and seed representatives to fully understand what risks they face if they choose to plant early.
The Risk Management Agency also has more information via online fact sheets at http://www.rma.usda.gov