This year could demonstrate importance of crop insurance

Replanting-20170613_00072017 demonstrates how important crop insurance is, noted Bob White, Indiana Farm Bureau national government relations director.

“When you need it, you really need it,” White said.

news release from DTN/The Progressive Farmer said 2017 could be a “historic” year in terms of replanting corn. Interviews with multiple seed companies indicated that this year ranked first or second in company history for replant demand. The worst problems have been reported in the Eastern Corn Belt.

Replanting and what’s going to happen as the season progresses were on the minds of INFB’s officers in mid-June.

“We had an eight-day window in April and got all our corn planted,” said INFB Vice President Kendell Culp, who farms near Rensselaer. “Then we got rain and we got rain and we got rain.”

While none of his fields reached the replanting threshold that would have triggered a payment, every field required at least some replanting, Culp said.

INFB President Randy Kron, who farms near Evansville, also has had a bad spring. The Krons got about 40 percent of their corn in the ground in April before it started raining and then continued to rain throughout the month. The remainder was planted in May, but they didn’t finish beans until June. About a third of that early corn had to be replanted.

“We went from extra wet to extra dry,” he said.

The big question is what Mother Nature will do now.

"None of our corn fields is what I’d call a ‘normal’ field,” said INFB 2nd Vice President Isabella Chism, who farms near Kokomo. They started planting corn April 19 – they’ve replanted around 200 acres, she said – and didn’t finish beans until June 6.

“While the beans are coming up nicely the corn varies greatly,” she added. “You can find quite a bit of variation in size and color all in the same row.”

“Agriculture today is all about risk management,” White said, “whether it’s financial, markets, weather or market deviation. And the hardest to control is Mother Nature. That’s exactly why crop insurance is needed.”

You don’t have to travel very far in Indiana to find fields with foot-high corn that was probably planted in April or early May, slightly stunted corn damaged by standing water, and inch-high corn that’s the result of replanting. The above field was found in mid-June near the Madison-Hancock county line. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro