A field east of Delphos remains unplanted like most in Allen, Auglaize, Paulding, Putnam, Mercer and Van Wert counties. (DHI Media/Rebecca Violet)
A field east of Delphos remains unplanted like most in Allen, Auglaize, Paulding, Putnam, Mercer and Van Wert counties. (DHI Media/Rebecca Violet)
A very wet spring has kept farmers from their fields and with the June 5 corn crop insurance deadline looming, Dr. Curtis Young of the Van Wert County OSU-Extension fears some fields may stay empty or be used for cover crops this season.

“I don’t ever remember a spring like this in my 27 years at Extension,” Young said. “It would take two weeks of no rain before most fields can be walked on, let alone have equipment in them.”

Nothing has been planted in Auglaize, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam or Van Wert counties.

“I have seen one field planted with corn in Allen County east of Delphos on the south side of U.S. 30,” Young said. “You can drive by and see the rows. It looks to be a well-established field so far.”

Young said most farmers haven’t even had to a chance to perform the herbicide burn down to deal with winter and early spring weeds. However, there is still time for farmers to get beans in the ground, weather permitting.

“Farmers can plant soybeans well into late June, early July,” Young explained. “We’re going to see a lot more soybeans in fields than anticipated, which will drive the price down. It will be a double-whammy because the seed corn price for feed will go up at the same time farmers will get less for their beans.”

“Weather is farmer’s biggest ally or biggest enemy at the same time,” Young said. “Even planting cover crops will be a bit challenging this year.”

While farmers may not be able to get into the field in time for corn, Young said there is still plenty of work to be done.

“There is a lot of preparation in the fields that didn’t get done last year and there are still some beans standing in fields,” he said. “The tracks, ruts and ditches need smoothed out and the weeds will still need to be controlled.”

There is still a small window for farmers to plant corn. The Crop Insurance final plant date for corn is Wednesday. Farmers then have a 20-day window called late planting period. During that period, the insured is able to continue attempting to plant corn.

“The only negative to that is their coverage will decrease at a rate of 1 percent per day,” Jackie Seibert, president and CEO of United Equity said. “On June 26, this period is over and they lose any potential for insurance coverage, if they choose to plant corn. That date is, in reality, too late for Ohio to plant corn.”

Most farmers will choose to either plant soybeans or file for prevent plant, Seibert said. At that time, farmers will have 72 hours to contact their agents to file a prevent plant claim. So, there is no real rush to get a claim filed until the farmer is certain they will not be planting corn.

According to Seibert, prevent plant is part of nearly all crop insurance plans. It will pay the farmer 55 percent of their guarantee, if no crop is planted. This coverage rate fluctuates by the individual’s yield history.

“If they contact their agent, they can find out what the rate per acre would be for their personal prevent plant coverage. They can also obtain, from their agent, their eligible acres,” Seibert said. “There are stipulations to this coverage that must be met. For instance, the cause of loss must be general to the surrounding area, the acres have to have been planted and harvested in at least one of the last three years and the acreage that was prevented from being planted must constitute at least the lesser of 20 acres or 20 percent of the unit.”

This spring has been an anomaly for Siebert as well.

“We are experiencing a year that I have not seen before. Most local farmers find that it is not comparable to any other that they can remember either. If this extreme moisture continues, we may find it causing problems with the soybean planting, as well,” Seibert said. “We are already facing a year with shortages in some soybean varieties. If a lot of corn acres get moved to soybeans, will there be enough seed for this increase in acres? We could also take into account the carry out that we have with soybeans. The current figure has caused our markets to tumble. What price will there be on soybeans if that figure increases substantially? There are a lot of decisions that need to made. Crop insurance coverage is just a portion of the decision process, though it is a good coverage to have if the weather does not allow them to get in the fields.”