NDSU Extension - Grand Forks County


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Due to the ongoing saturated soil conditions, there will be considerable number of acres, which will be prevented planting in 2020. Overall, 2020 projection for North Dakota is about one million acres. If producers are not able to plant their regular crops by the final planting dates, they will have the following four options. The Prevented Planting Analysis Tool can help with these decisions.

Planting Insured Crops after the Final Planting Date

Producers can still plant regular insured crops during the late planting period, which is generally 25 days after the final planting date. However, after the final planting date, crop insurance yield or revenue protection guarantees will be reduced one percent for each day. If we use spring wheat as an example and our “Proven Yield History” is 60 bushels per acre, at 70% crop insurance coverage, there will be a yield guarantee of 42 bushels per acre. That will mean losing one-percent of 42 bushels per day, if wheat is planted after the final planting date and during the late planting period. In addition, planting after the final planting dates may result in reduced actual yield and quality and higher expenses for controlling disease or weed pressure. There will be no coverage if regular crops are planted after the late planting period. 

Leave the Prevented Plant Acres Bare and Get Full Prevented Plant Payments

Producers can leave their prevent plant acres bare in 2020 and get full prevented plant payments. Generally, prevented plant guarantee is 50-60% of the crop insurance yield or revenue guarantees with an option of increasing it 5% more by paying a higher premium. That will mean that if crop insurance guaranteed yield for spring wheat is 42 bushels per acre if planted before the “Final Planting Date”, full prevented plant yield guarantee at 60% coverage will be just over 25 bushels per acre. Prevent plant coverage is reduced compared to regular crop insurance coverage as there will be savings for not buying seed, fertilizer and fuel etc. Overall, prevented plant payments do provide producers some revenue during hard times, however, in most years, planting and harvesting regular crops is more profitable. So the strategy should be to take advantage of the prevented plant program and adopt practices which reduce the chances of prevented plant acres in 2021. If left bare, chances of 2020 prevent plant acres going into prevent planting again in 2021 are much greater compared to planting an affordable cover crop mix that not only uses the excess moisture in 2020 and improve soil health but can also generate some much needed revenue in the future.

Plant a Cover Crop and Get Full Prevented Plant Payments

If the idea is to reduce chances of 2020 prevented plant acres going into prevented planting again in 2021, improve soil health and potentially generate some income by harvesting the cover crop mix on or after November 1st, producers can spend $15-20 (or less) for a cover crop mix while still benefiting from the full prevented plant payment. Seeding a cover crop may help reduce the amount spent on weed control through time, tillage and chemical. Producers do not have to spend money for planting cover crops, however, planting an affordable and simple cover crop mix can prove essential for improving long-term soil health and farm profitability. Sometimes it may not even cost anything as some producers may have some spare barley/oats and field pea seed in their bins. Planting 30 pounds each of barley and peas per acre will provide a nice mix of a high carbon crop with a legume. Below are some general mixes for reducing erosion and improving soil health on non-saline-sodic and saline-sodic areas.  Full Season CC for full PP Payment


Plant a Cover Crop to Hay or Graze and Get Reduced Prevented Plant Payments

If there is an opportunity to generate decent revenue by haying and/or grazing the cover crop, producers can legally harvest the cover crops before November 1st and still get 35% of the “Guaranteed Prevent Plant Coverage”. That will mean that if full prevented plant coverage was 25.2 bushels per acre and cover crop was harvested before November 1st, producers are still guaranteed 8.82 bushels of spring wheat per acre. So it is a matter of deciding how much revenue could be generated by harvesting the cover crop to make up for losing 16.38 bushels of wheat per acre. Please note: in order to harvest cover crops before November 1st and still get the 35% pp payment, cover crops need to be planted after the late planting period (typically 25 days after final planting date). In Grand Forks, the final planting date for planting wheat is June 5th. If we add 25 days of late planting period, producers can plant cover crops on July 1st on the acres where they could not plant their wheat and claim 35% of the pp payment. If planted this early during the growing-season, one can hay/graze that cover crop in mid-August and can hay/graze the regrowth again in late-September or early-October. If producers can make up for losing 65% of the prevented plant coverage and make some additional profits along with still getting 35% of the prevented plant payments, haying/grazing twice in one-season can do wonders for soil health. Below are some of the general cover crop mixes for haying and grazing.

CC mix for grazing on PP before Nov. 1st


For other cover crop mixes to meet your objectives, contact

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