Pennsylvania Corn: What to Do If You Insured Your Crop for Grain and Your Harvest Plans Change

    Corn silage harvest. Photo: Penn State Extension

    With the dry conditions that are widespread through the Commonwealth, many farmers who insured their corn for grain and now considering chopping it for silage. Before you do anything, contact your crop insurance agent, and explain what you would like to do. If you harvest your corn as silage without approval from your agent, you will probably lose any insurance payments you would have received.

    A crop insurance adjustor will need to visit your fields to assess the situation before you begin harvest. The adjustor will assess your yields and explain your options (certain insured crops can also be used for grazing). If it is too early for the adjuster to estimate the grain yield, you will likely need to leave representative strips of standing corn in the field.

    They will later be used to estimate your grain yield to determine if you should receive a crop insurance payment. Make sure you understand the necessary procedures so that you remain eligible for any crop insurance payments that you may be due.

    Maybe you do not have crop insurance. It is too late this year to sign up, but you can sign up next season, deadline is March 15.

    If you raise hay and forage, there is crop insurance for you as well. Consider looking into Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF), coverage is available for hay and forage in all counties in Pennsylvania under the Rainfall Index (RI) plan of insurance.

    Unlike traditional county-based Area Yield Protection insurance, RI is based on where your farm is located in grids that measure 0.25 degrees of longitude and latitude (approximately 13.2 x 17.2 miles in Pennsylvania). The RI policy protects you against yield losses related to lack of precipitation and uses a rainfall index as a measure of crop productivity.

    The rainfall index is based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (NOAA CPC) data. You have the flexibility of insuring all or part of your acreage for all or part of the year, but you must choose at least two, 2-month time periods during a calendar year.

    You also select a productivity factor of between 60 and 150 percent of the county base value to match the amount of your protection to the value of the forages you grow. Loss payments are made under this insurance plan for every two-month period you insured where the rainfall index for your grid is less than the coverage level you selected.

    Deadline to sign up for PRF is November 15. Contact a crop insurance agent for more information. You also can visit this webpage for more details on crop insurance for Pennsylvania Field Crops.

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