Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Prevented Planting: Wheat 2019

Sunset - October 25, 2018
This sunset sky photo is undeniably pretty.

But the reflection of that sunset sky in mud puddles reveals a big problem for us this fall. For the first time ever, we weren't able to plant almost one-third of our 2019 wheat crop - about 385 acres. This has never happened since Randy began planting wheat in 1974 as a senior in high school.

The ground was too wet to plant after 14-plus inches in October and 2.5 inches more in November, along with three snows.
To receive full crop insurance coverage on wheat, we needed to plant the 2019 wheat crop by October 31. That simply wasn't possible on low-lying areas. It was either under water or too muddy to drive a drill through. 
The sunset over the Zenith branch of the Kanza Co-op revealed another storm system on the way.
If we had been able to plant by November 15, we could have done so and received reduced insurance coverage. However, with the additional rain and snow, it wasn't possible.

We have elected to take a prevented planting option in our crop insurance policy. It will pay a percentage of our revenue guarantee. Part will be paid now and more could be paid later, if we don't collect crop insurance on the next crop.
The "other side" of the sunset, October 25, 2018
To qualify for prevented planting coverage, "the insurable cause of loss must be weather related and must be common to the area. The cause of loss must have prevented other producers in similar situations from planting the intended crop. ... The prevented planting acreage must have been planted and harvested at least once in the previous three years."

Next spring, we plan to plant dryland corn (and a little milo) on the acres we couldn't plant to wheat. The cost of planting corn is appreciably higher than the cost of planting wheat due to seed costs, fertilizer and herbicide. Because we are a totally dryland farm, wheat typically performs better than corn on our acreage. 
October 3, 2018
In addition to not being able to plant some acres, Randy also had to replant most of our seed wheat and some of our other fields, totaling about 300 acres. This was an additional expense with seed cost, labor, fuel and equipment usage.

At this point, none of the wheat looks very good. That's because of too much rain, not enough sunshine, poor germination and emergence.

We'll hope conditions improve before we truck our Harvest 2019 to Zenith next June!
October 29, 2018


  1. Wow, that’s tough. I hope conditions improve.

    1. Thanks so much! Farming definitely requires some faith.

  2. Lovely images but so sorry the story isn't a happy one. Best wishes for 2019 to be a better outcome.

    1. Thanks, Helen! Optimism is one of my farmer's best traits. I think it must be built in for farmers.