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Late planting options outlined for farmers

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 06/20/2013 10:31 AM

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MANLY, Iowa — More than 200 farmers attended Friday' slate planting meeting sponsored by Extension at the Bethel United Methodist Church in Manly. Farmers spilled into the hall and church kitchen as they listened to Extension staff talk about their options.

Extension farm management specialist Kelvin Leibold said north central and northeast Iowa farmers are facing problems with delayed planting. To the south and northwest, farmers planted corn but are looking at replanting because heavy rain and ponding drowned crops.

The crop insurance late planting period for corn began on June 1.

"Corn can still be planted after this date, but the insurance guarantee on those acres is reduced by 1 percent per day until the acres are planted," Leibold said.

Corn acres planted after June 25 will receive insurance coverage equal to 60 percent of their original guarantee.

"Keep accurate records of planting dates on all remaining acres," Leibold said.

The late planting period for soybeans is June 16 through July 10.

Farmers have three choices for unplanted corn acres, Leibold said.

"You can plant corn as soon as possible with a reduced guarantee, shift to soybeans with full insurance coverage, or apply for prevented planting," Leibold said.

Prevented planting acres are insured at 60 percent of their original guarantee and must either have a cover crop established on them or in cases where water is standing, that ground must be kept black once it dries out.

Acres that have been planted, but need to be replanted, may qualify for a special replanting insurance payment, Leibold said. Payments are based on the value of eight bushels of corn or three bushels of soybeans per acre times their respective projected insurance prices, or about $45 per are for corn and $38 per acre for soybeans.

To qualify for an indemnity payment under the replanted or prevented planting provisions, a minimum of 20 acres or 20 percent of the insured unit, whichever is smaller, must be affected.

Leibold said farmers can replant soybeans instead of corn, but there may not be a replant payment.

If the soybean crop isn't insured, 100 percent of any indemnity payment can be received on the corn if the projected yield/revenue is less than the guarantee. If the soybeans are insured, 35 percent of any indemnity payment on the first crop is paid. If there is no loss on the second crop, the other 65 percent is paid after harvest.

If there is a loss on the second crop, the larger of the soybean loss or the remaining 65 percent of the corn loss is paid.

Leibold said that if soybeans don't get planted by June 15, farmers can plant soybeans late or declare prevented planting. A prevented planting guarantee equal to 60 percent of the original guarantee is in effect.

"Communicate with your crop insurance agents before making any decisions about replanting or abandoning acres," Leibold said. "Keep a paper trail of what you do on that field."

Acres with reduced guarantees are averaged in with acres in the same insurance unit that were planted before the final planting date, Leibold said. Indemnities paid are based on the average yields for all the acres of that crop in the insurance unit.

Leibold said farmers should compare potential revenue from crops, potential insurance payments from replant and yield/revenue coverage vs. the additional costs for planting, replanting or harvesting and drying.

An electronic decision spreadsheet is available at the Ag Decision Maker website to help analyze alternative actions, Leibold said.

"Short term it looks like you're better off planting," Leibold said.

Agronomic considerations

Extension field agronomists Mark Johnson and Terry Basol covered agronomic issues.

ISU research shows that farmers should stick with a 105-day corn hybrid before switching to a 98-day or less hybrid on June 11, Johnson said. There is no need to go to a shorter maturity hybrid than 93 to 98-day relative maturity.

"Research indicates corn grain yield potential falls off rapidly after June 11," Johnson said. "Even June 11 could be risky if there is an early fall frost."

Nitrogen losses have occurred, especially through nitrate leaching.

"This would be an ideal year to take the late spring soil nitrate test," Johnson said.

Soybeans will use any fertilizer first prior to producing nitrogen forming nodules, Johnson said. Other than that, there is no adverse effect from planting soybeans in fields where nitrogen has already been applied.

If farmers have applied a herbicide that is labeled for corn, they should not plant soybeans on that ground until next year in most cases, Basol said. Herbicides labeled for both corn and soybeans are limited.

"Read and follow the label of the herbicide you have applied, and talk to your dealers," Basol said.

Not planting a cover crop and leaving prevented planting acres bare could result in fallow syndrome, Basol said. Oats can be a good cover crop if no atrazine has been applied to the ground.

Plenty of time remains to plant soybeans before any considerations need to be made for switching maturities, Basol said. ISU research shows that the highest soybean yields were most consistently produced in northern Iowa by using a full-season (2.5 MG) variety planted from late April to late June. Producers should still plant their original soybean varieties unless planting is delayed past mid- to late June.

Narrow rows, increasing the seeding rate by 5 percent to 10 percent, adding soybean innoculants and using seed treatments will all help late-planted soybeans, Basol said.