Crop insurance deadlines coming

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Last month Cindy and I were talking about the upcoming solar eclipse as Ohio will be one of several states to experience the event. I mentioned to the need for some type of eye protection, more than sunglasses, perhaps even a welding helmet would be needed. She asked, “What’s a “Wally Helmet?” I slowly spelled, “w-e-l-d-i-n-g helmet.” I guess I talk too fast. The partial or total eclipse will traverse Ohio in a line from west of Cleveland and southwest to Greenville beginning at 1:59 pm that afternoon. Just like the proper equipment will be essential, it will be necessary to relay exact information at precise times in preparation for the spring planting season to be termed a success. At any rate, she’s still teasing me about my Wally helmet.

Ohio’s producers have until March 15 to make their final decisions on their crop insurance coverages for 2024 corn and soybeans. Revenue protection coverages for corn and soybeans using the December 2024 CBOT corn and November 2024 CBOT again followed the pattern of years past, to average those closing prices during February. As of February 16, the December corn price average in the month of February was $4.70. The February average for November soybeans was $11.66. Unless the last weeks in February can pinpoint a sharp rally, the final prices are likely to be several cents below those earlier detailed. Those prices are below the revenue protection (RP) prices in 2023 which had corn at $5.91 and soybeans at $13.76. Providing some comfort to producers, with the decline in commodity prices, this year’s per acre premiums will be reduced 15-20% compared to last year.

Ohio producers will have the opportunity to buy additional replant coverage with their crop insurance policy. The cost will be roughly $1/acre for corn and about $1.50/acre for soybeans. Consult your crop insurance agent as coverages vary from company to company. You will need to clearly understand these additional benefits and their related deadlines. This additional pickup will provide two benefits. First, depending on your carrier it can provide up to $50 in additional replant coverage which would apply to the first acre which needs to be replanted and not the 20 acres or 20% of the unit which needs to be replanted with the standard policy.

Second, it allows additional days to plant both soybeans and corn at an earlier date. For example, it provides the opportunity to plant soybeans 15-20 days earlier than in past years and still have crop insurance coverage along with replant coverages. Coverages and dates vary among crop insurance companies. Check with your crop insurance agent.  Additional days, especially for soybeans, are expected to stimulate lots of interest in Ohio. Likely, corn will see fewer takers compared to soybeans. Ohio’s producers in recent years have seen a huge reversal of past historic trends as they are planting soybeans earlier and earlier. Often, that has resulted in planting soybeans before corn. This is information of coverages that are available as you choose what will work best for your operation. Don’t simply do whatever your neighbor decides to do. The time is short until March 15 arrives.

Grain prices have seen a huge break the last several months with price activity following the December 8 WASDE (supply and demand) report resulting in even steeper declines in a short window of time for corn, soybeans, and wheat. March 2024 corn was $4.85 ½ on December 8, falling to $4.15 on February 16, a decline of 70 ½ cents or 14%. March 2024 CBOT soybeans on December 8 $13.23, falling to $11.60 on February 16, a decline of $1.63 or 12%. Likewise, March 2024 CBOT wheat was $6.32 on December 8, falling to $5.57 on February 16, a decline 75 cents, or 12%.

Bullish news for grains the last 3 months has been tough to materialize. Producers are anxious for the lows to finally take place. Here’s something to remember. A review of price activity for December CBOT corn since 1990 reveals that for 32 out of 34 years the January high was exceeded by year’s end. The 2024 January high was $5.02 ¼. Likewise, November CBOT soybeans exceeded the January high 33 out of 34 years later in the year. The January high was $12.37. January highs are benchmarks which could be exceeded.

Thought for the day. “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” – Elvis Presley.

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