Arkansas farmers are planting at the slowest pace in 25 years, and the rain just keeps coming.
With the current forecast, farmers will have some hard decisions to make regarding crop insurance. Corn is already past the final plant date and other dates are rapidly approaching. The following points are important to remember as you consider your options.
- A crop can still be planted during the late planting period, but the insurance guarantee on those acres is reduced by 1% per day until the final day.
- If you planted a crop that was lost to flooding, be aware of the “practical to replant” regulations. You could be required to replant the crop during the late planting period.
- If you pass the final planting date without planting, you can shift to an alternate crop that is insurable and receive 35% of the prevented planting payment.
- Prevented planting acres are insured at 55-60% of their original guarantee. To receive the full prevented planting payment, acres must remain idle for the remainder of the crop year.
The final planting dates for corn have already come and gone. The late planting period for much of the state ends May 10. Clay, Craighead, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Randolph have only until May 16.
The Arkansas rice crop was reported at 46% planted in the latest report, and nation-wide that total is 48%. The five-year average pace is 79% for Arkansas and 69% for the country. For Arkansas, that means that, of the 1.4 million acres farmers intended to plant, 770,000 remained unplanted as of May 6. The final planting date for rice is May 25, and the late planting period ends June 9.
The cotton crop is also behind at 15% planted compared with a 5-year average of 29%. The final planting date for Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph, St. Francis, and Woodruff counties is May 20, and the late planting period ends on June 4. For the rest of the state, those dates are May 25 and June 9 respectively.
Soybean farmers in Arkansas have planted 17% of the intended acres, compared with a five-year average of 37%. The final planting date for non-double cropped beans is June 15, and the late planting period ends July 10. Double-cropped beans have a final plant date of June 25, and the late planting period ends on July 15.
However, the most important thing to remember is to stay in touch with your crop insurance agent as you face these tough decisions, to help you determine the best course of action for your farm.