By Kent Thiesse
The USDA Risk Management Agency announced that haying and grazing of cover crops on prevented planted acres will now be allowed on September 1. This is two months earlier than the traditional November 1 date, a move made due to the unprecedented flooding and excessive rain this spring.
This change will make it easier for good stewardship on prevented planted acres and provides an opportunity for higher quality forage for livestock producers. The date will revert to November 1 next year.
Farmers that plant a cover crop on the prevent plant acres will be able to harvest the cover crop beginning on September 1 without losing any of their crop insurance prevented planted payment. Federal crop insurance prevented planting payments are 55 percent of the original crop insurance guarantee for corn and 60 percent of the original guarantee for soybeans.
Based on an earlier USDA announcement, farmers who plant eligible cover crops on prevented planted acres could also be eligible to receive potential market facilitation program payments on the prevented planted acres. The unplanted acres that are left bare, with no cover crop, will not be eligible for MFP payments. Farmers should check with their local Farm Service Agency office for further details.
Due to late planting and poor early season growing conditions, many livestock producers have been concerned with meeting their feed needs later this year and into early 2020. Moving the haying and grazing date from November 1 to September 1 gives dairy and beef producers more viable options to harvest quality forage from cover crops on the prevent plant acres.
USDA also indicated that putting up the forage on prevent plant acres as haylage of silage would be acceptable, which gives farmers some additional options to consider.
Here are some things for farmers to consider for cover crops on prevented planted acres:
This move should be a big plus for dairy and beef producers. It should also be a benefit for soil stewardship due to better timing and management of cover crops on the prevented planted acres. However, it is important for farmers to check with their crop insurance agent, NRCS office and other appropriate professionals before finalizing their cover crop decisions.
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