Corn, soybeans stage a comeback
Ill. farmers plant more than a quarter of crop in a week, but still face record for prevented-plant claims
By Ted Cox
Finally blessed with some decent weather, Illinois farmers staged a furious comeback last week, planting more than a quarter of their corn and soybean crops, but they still face a record number of insurance claims for prevented planting.
The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Crop Progress issued Monday found that 73 percent of the state corn crop was in the ground by the end of last week, up 28 percentage points from 45 percent the week before. That was still well behind the average, as over the last five years the entire corn crop has been planted by this time of the year.
More than half the corn crop had sprouted, 51 percent, but that was behind the 94 percent registered at this time last year, and the 96 percent average over the last five years.
Some 42 percent of the crop was rated “good” and another 41 percent “fair.”
Soybeans lagged behind, but also saw a jump of 28 percentage points in the crop planted: 49 percent at the end of last week, up from just 21 percent the week before. But 96 percent of the crop was in the ground at this time last year, and the five-year average was 91 percent.
A quarter of the crop had sprouted, almost doubling the 13 percent of the week before, but that was still well behind the 89 percent last year and 79 percent average over the last five years.
“The south part of the county got the corn wrapped up pretty much over the weekend, now everybody’s rattling in the beans,” said Mark Kerber, a Livingston County farmer, in a report from FarmWeekNow.com. “Everybody started back into the corn when the conditions weren’t perfect, but the beans are going in really good.”
Even so, Illinois farmers were facing a record number of so-called prevented-plant claims on crop insurance.
“This is an unprecedented event. We’ve been getting a lot of claims,” said Marty McDonald, a field claims adjuster for COUNTRY Financial, in an interview with the RFD Radio Network that was also published on FarmWeekNow.com. “I think this year we’ll have more (prevented-plant claims) than we’ve ever had before.
“We’re getting claims from the Wisconsin border to the Ohio River,” he added. “It’s not like a normal prevented-plant situation where it’s localized to maybe five or 10 counties. This is a statewide event.”
The final day corn could be planted and still be eligible for farmers’ full crop-insurance guarantee was May 31 in the state’s southernmost seven counties, June 5 in the rest of the state. McDonald advised corn growers to go ahead and file claims. “One thing to remember is there is no harm if you turn in a prevented-plant claim for corn,” he said. “If you get it planted or plant another crop, we can release the claim.”
Because soybeans typically lag behind corn in the planting schedule, it’s too early to file a similar claim, but McDonald expected a large number of farmers to file — if not a record. The last soybean planting date to be eligible for full crop insurance is June 16 in the northern third of the state, June 21 for downstate.
Farmers also got good news over the weekend when President Trump called off his threats to impose tariffs on Mexico over immigration at the southern border — even though The New York Times reported that many of the concessions he exacted from Mexico had been agreed to months before.