Spring 2014 has been a battle for most Upper Midwest crop producers, as they have tried to get corn and soybeans planted on a timely basis. Some favorable weather in late May allowed significant planting progress in many areas of southern and western Minnesota, and adjoining areas of Iowa and South Dakota. A fairly large amount of corn and soybeans remain to be planted in large portions of central, east-central and northwest Minnesota, as well as adjoining areas of Wisconsin and North Dakota. Heavy rains over this past weekend have caused further planting delays in these regions, in addition to resulting in drown-out damage in other locations across southern and western Minnesota.
Most of southern and central Minnesota received significant rainfall on May 31 and June 1, with some locations receiving 3-5 inches of rain, or more, during that period. This resulted in some flash flooding situations, as well as standing water in numerous fields. Farm operators will be monitoring the situation, in order to determine how much replanting will be necessary. The rainfall this past weekend was very welcome in most of southwest Minnesota, which had been fairly dry throughout most of the Spring, and was considered to be in “moderate” drought conditions.
Some drier weather in late May in many portions of southern and western Minnesota, together with some above-normal temperatures, allowed both corn and soybean planting to be nearly completed by the end of May. The warmer temperatures and adequate moisture allowed for rapid germination of the later planted crops, and some very good growing conditions. Some later-planted corn and soybeans, which had adequate soil moisture, emerged 5-7 days after planting, as a result of the ideal conditions.
As of May 28, a total of 237 growing degree units (GDUs) had been accumulated at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca. The 2014 GDU accumulation at Waseca is about 18% below normal, but is slightly ahead of the 2013 GDU accumulation. The good news was that the GDU accumulation from May 22-28 was 26% above normal, which allowed for the excellent late-May growing conditions in many areas.
Even though Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota have been dealing with delayed planting and slow early season crop growth, other primary corn and soybean production areas have had much more favorable early season conditions. The overall condition of the U.S. corn and soybean crop at the end of May in 2014 appears to significantly more favorable than in 2013.
Crop insurance considerations
The final planting date for corn in the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, as well as in all of Iowa and Wisconsin, was May 31, in order to receive full crop insurance coverage for 2014. The late planting period for corn is June 1-25, with a reduction in the insurance coverage level of 1% for each day that corn planting is delayed past May 31. In northern Minnesota, the final date for corn planting with full insurance coverage was May 25. For soybeans, the final planting date is June 10 in Minnesota and the northern two-thirds of Wisconsin, and June 15 in Iowa and the southern one-third of Wisconsin, with the final planting date extending for 25 days until July 5 in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, and until July 10 in Iowa and southern Wisconsin. For crops planted after the final dates for the late planting period, crop insurance coverage is set at a maximum of 60 percent of the original insurance guarantee, which is the same as the prevented planting insurance coverage.
Producers who are facing either prevented planting situations, or must replant some corn and soybean acres following the heavy rains, should contact their crop insurance agent for more details on the prevented planting and replant options with various crop insurance policies. There are also some good fact sheets available on the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) website. Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst, has prepared an informationsheet, “Prevented Planting Options For 2014,” which contains details on prevented planting requirements and considerations, as well as tables comparing the options of late planting or prevented planting with normal production for corn and soybeans. To receive a copy of the prevented planting information sheet, please send an e-mail.