How Crop Insurance Works when a Wet Spring Prevents Planting

When a wet spring prevents planting how does crop insurance work?

To say the least, this spring has been a wet one which means fields may be too wet to till and plant on time.  Those with crop insurance might find some comfort knowing that their coverage can also help manage risk at planting time, in addition to helping with recovery from crop failure. This is because most crop insurance policies include provisions that provide compensation if weather-related issues prevent planting or cause losses that warrant replanting.

Prevented Planting (you cannot plant on time):

What type of insurance coverage do you have?
Most crop insurance policies include a provision for prevented planting, some exceptions include fresh market sweet corn.  Check your policy with your agent to see if the crop you’re insuring is eligible for prevented planting provisions.

Did you miss the final planting date?
This is the last date to insure the crop at the full insurance guarantee.  This date is determined for each crop and county by the USDA Risk Management Agency and is listed in the crop insurance policy.  See Table 1 for an example of final planting dates for Maine crops.

Why weren’t you able to plant on time?

Insured Crop Final Planting Date
Oats 5/30 – 6/10*
Barley 5/31
Spring wheat 5/31
Potato 6/10
Grain & Silage Corn 6/15
Green Peas 6/30

If you and your neighbors experienced excessively wet conditions during the season that prevented planting or if a specific event, like flooding, impacted your field you may be eligible to file a prevented planting claim.  The farm is only eligible for coverage on the total acres that are typically planted to that   crop and the crop acreage needs to have been planted in 1 of the last 4 years. Being physically unavailable, having broken machinery or other human error does not qualify for a prevented planting claim.

So you were prevented from planting due to the weather, now what?
For prevented planting claims, notice must be provided to your agent within 72 hours after the final planting date, or, after the determination is made that you will not be able to plant during the late planting period.  Good documentation is the key to receiving prevented planting payments.  Keep detailed records of the dates different acres or fields were planted.

Once the claim is in, you have a few different options:

  • Leave the acreage idle or plant a cover crop (and receive a full prevented planting payment as long as you do not hay or graze the cover crop before November 1st, or harvest it at any time);
  • Plant a cover crop and hay or graze it before November 1st (and receive 35% of a prevented planting payment);
  • Plant the insured crop during the late planting period, if applicable. The late planting period is generally 25 days after the final planting date but this varies by crop and area.  For most crops, the timely planted production guarantee is reduced 1% per day for each day planting is delayed after the final planting date; or
  • Plant a second crop after the late planting period if you are also prevented from planting through the late planting period (you may receive a prevented planting payment equal to 35% of the prevented planting guarantee).

What is a prevented planting payment?
The “prevented planting coverage factor” will be used to calculate the prevented planting payment and this factor changes depending on the crop.  For instance, with small grains the prevented planting coverage factor is 60% of the production guarantee for timely planted acreage, whereas it is 55% for corn.  If the producer’s insurance guarantee for timely planting is $100/acre, and the prevented planting coverage factor is 60%, the prevented planting payment would be $60/acre (or 60% of the guarantee).  Some policies have additional coverage options available for prevented planting.  As well, if you have revenue protection, the projected price will be used to calculate the insurance guarantee.

Replanting the crop (you planted on time but lose the crop)

The weather destroyed the planting, am I eligible for the replant provision?
Check your policy or with your agent to see if the crop you’re insuring is eligible for replant provisions.  If so, in order to be eligible for replant provisions the acres to be replanted must be:

  • Originally planted on or after the earliest planting date;
  • The lesser of either at least 20 acres total or 20% of the insured planted acreage (whichever is less);
  • Affected by an insured cause of loss such as a late frost;
  • Appraised as having an expected yield below 90% of the guaranteed yield in your policy;
  • Determined to be “practical to replant” by an Authorized Crop Insurance Adjuster; and
  • Replanted with the original crop.

What steps of action do I take?
Notify your crop insurance agent within 72 hours upon discovering the loss.  An adjustor will appraise your expected yield and determine whether it is practical to replant.  Replant with the original crop if applicable.  Your original planting guarantee will continue as if nothing happened (as long as you plant before the final planting date).

What is a replant payment?
The replant payment is typically equal to the lesser of either your actual costs of replanting or a formula provided in your crop insurance policy provisions (i.e. for corn, the per-acre replant payment equals the projected price/bushel x 8 bushels).

Take Away
Communicate regularly with your agent about any issues with your crop, especially before planting deadlines! This is essential for receiving prevented planting or replanting payments.

More Information

Visit the UMaine Crop Insurance website.

A list of agents serving Maine can be found online using the Agent Locator tool. This article has material from the University of Vermont’s Crop Insurance Outreach Education Program.

Contact Crop Insurance Education Program Manager Erin Roche ( or 207.949.2490) for more information.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is in partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency to deliver crop insurance education in Maine.