Texas: Cotton Growers Weigh Planting Options after Final Date – Updated
UPDATE: Many growers this year have found that the ACRE program works well for their operation and have signed into the program. However, growers in the ACRE program should keep in mind that if you have failed cotton acreage planted back to cotton that is uninsured, cotton will remain your ACRE crop, regardless of any initial insurance claim. Whatever you produce will determine whether there is an ACRE trigger on your farm, in addition to the necessary state trigger.
The information stated in our article is correct, but we did want to make this notation to ensure that we address as many potential replant situations as possible.
It seems that even in the midst of a drought, the High Plains can be counted on to inject some weather-related uncertainty for growers and crop insurance providers trying to figure out what path this year’s crop will take.
This year’s wild card was a fairly widespread rain event the night of June 5 that brought beneficial rainfall to many areas, but also dealt devastating blows to some crops thanks to hail, high winds and blowing sand.
Despite a mixed bag of impact, the storms certainly were not enough to break the ongoing drought, although many fields did receive timely and beneficial moisture. The reality of the situation is that the storms were at best a temporary respite and additional rainfall will need to come soon for any dryland cotton to get to harvest.
It happens that June 5 is also the Federal Crop Insurance program’s final planting date for the central tier of High Plains counties. Counties to the north and northwest of Lubbock have a cotton final planting date of May 31, while the southern part of the PCG service area above the Caprock escarpment that borders the region on the east has a June 10 final planting date.
The June 5 storm delivered rain, hail and wind in all of the areas noted above and has created a muddled situation for both growers and crop insurance providers that is just now beginning to be worked out.
All of the acres that are ultimately failed as a result of these storms, or that are failed later on due to non-emergence will have multiple options moving forward, including the planting of uninsured secondary crops.
Once acreage is released for another use, growers can choose to keep their full insurance indemnity on the failed primary crop and then plant an uninsured secondary crop under the insurance program’s first-crop/second-crop provisions.
This uninsured secondary crop can be either the same crop as the failed initial crop (i.e.- cotton) or another crop. Producers in many areas south of Lubbock may choose to take a chance on a late planted, and uninsured, cotton or grain crop instead of leaving the ground fallow or planting a cover crop.
For producers who opt to plant cotton a change in summer rainfall patterns and an open fall would give them an opportunity to produce some cotton and also provide much needed support to the region’s ginning, warehousing and agribusiness infrastructure.
A review of the federal crop insurance program’s Upland Cotton Loss Adjustment Manual shows that the rules haven’t changed when it comes to the timing of appraisals on damaged cotton. The current upland cotton loss adjustment procedure requires appraisals be delayed seven days when the damage is caused by hail or blowing sand. This happens to be the most predominant type of damage incurred on June 5.
In general terms, on established crops that sustain sufficient damage, producers have two options.
If the damage occurs prior to the final planting date and the insurance provider determines that it is still practical to replant the crop, growers are expected to attempt to replant the crop up to the established final planting date in their area. If the insurance provider determines that it is not practical to replant before the final planting date an appraisal will be scheduled (usually after the seven-day deferral period) and the status of the crop determined according to established procedures. Released acreage would be able to be planted to a secondary crop.
If crop damage occurs on or after the final planting date, as was the case for many of the High Plains counties impacted on June 5, the decision tree is a little more definitive.
Most of this cotton was up and growing and therefore eligible for an appraisal on June 13. Many of these acres are now in the process of being evaluated.
For most of the non-irrigated acreage across the High Plains the jury is still out in regard to the impact of the June 5 storms Due to the lack of rainfall over the past six to eight weeks, very little of the non-irrigated crop had achieved a stand.
Most growers with non-irrigated acreage can do little more than try to keep fields from blowing with rotary hoes or sandfighters as they wait to see if the seed they planted will emerge. Appraisals for non-emerged dryland acreage must be delayed until fifteen days after the final planting date.
In counties with a final plant date of May 31, fields that fail to establish a stand due to non-emergence will be able to have acreage evaluated and released after June 15, which is 15 days after the final planting date.
The 15-day waiting period is composed of two parts: the seven-day late planting period for cotton and a mandatory eight-day deferred appraisal period. Together these two periods provide a window during which non-irrigated cotton planted in dry conditions is given an opportunity to establish a stand.
In counties with a final plant date of June 5 or June 10, the same 15-day period will be enforced, making non-emerged cotton acres eligible for release on June 20 and 25, respectively.
As always, non-irrigated crops that emerge prior to evaluation and release by the insurance provider are insured, and are to be managed appropriately.