Crop Insurance Payments Less Likely in 2015

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As the 2015 corn and soybean harvest season is wrapping up, some producers have wondered if there will be any 2015 crop insurance payments, given the decline in crop prices. In 2014, many farm operators in Minnesota and Northern Iowa had crop yields that were well below average, along with lower crop prices, resulting in some fairly large 2014 crop insurance indemnity payments on corn and soybeans. Most crop producers in the Upper Midwest had above average yields in 2015, and crop prices have not dropped as dramatically, which will make 2015 crop insurance payments less likely.

Many crop producers in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and other States are realizing final 2015 corn and soybean yields that are below their crop insurance actual production history (APH) crop yields. Many of those producers that have a revenue protection (RP) crop insurance policy in place in 2015, may be able to collect a crop insurance indemnity payment on the crop losses incurred this year. The situation in the Eastern and Southern Corn Belt in 2015 is very similar to crop insurance scenario that existed in the Upper Midwest in the 2014 crop year, though the payment potential is somewhat less.

As of November 1st, the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) finalized the 2015 crop insurance harvest prices at $3.83 per bushel for corn, and $8.91 per bushel for soybeans. The harvest prices for Revenue Protection (RP) insurance policies are based on the average CBOT December corn futures price, and the average CBOT November soybean futures price, during the month of October. The harvest prices will be used to calculate the value of the 2015 harvested crops. The established base (Spring) prices for 2015 RP and Yield Protection (YP) crop insurance policies were $4.15 per bushel for corn and $9.73 per bushel for soybeans. The base price will be used to calculate RP crop insurance revenue guarantees for corn and soybeans.

Many crop producers carried 75%, 80%, or 85% RP crop insurance coverage on their 2015 corn and soybean crops. The level of insurance coverage will be a big factor in determining the amount of insurance indemnity payment that is received for crop revenue reductions this year. For example, a producer with a corn APH yield of 190 bushels per acre, carrying a 75% RP insurance policy in 2015, would have a revenue guarantee of $591.38 per acre. By comparison a producer with the same APH yield, and an 80% RP policy, would a 2015 revenue guarantee of $630.80 per acre, and a producer with an 85% RP policy would have a revenue guarantee of $670.23 per acre.

If the actual farm yield for 2015 is 160 bushels per acre, which will be common in some areas of the Eastern Corn Belt, the producer with a 75% RP policy would not receive a 2015 crop insurance indemnity payment for corn revenue losses. By comparison, the producer with an 80% RP policy in 2015 would receive a gross crop insurance indemnity payment of $18.00 per acre, and the producer with an 85% RP policy would receive a gross indemnity payment of $57.43 per acre. Farm operators that incurred yield losses, and had an 80% or 85% RP crop insurance policy in place on their 2015 corn and soybean crops are more likely to receive a 2015 crop insurance indemnity payment.

The 2015 RP crop insurance harvest price of $3.83 per bushel for corn is a decline of 8 percent from the RP price guarantee of $4.15 per bushel. Similarly, the 2015 soybean RP harvest price of $8.91 per bushel is also about 8 percent below the RP price guarantee of $9.73 per bushel. The reduction of crop prices from the RP price guarantees to the final harvest prices will result in crop insurance indemnity payments being initiated at higher final yield levels. The drop from the Spring prices to the harvest prices in 2015 were not nearly as large as the percentage price drops in 2014.

A producer with an APH corn yield of 190 bushels per acre would have crop insurance indemnity payments initiated at a final 2015 corn yield of 174 bushels per acre with an 85% RP policy, 164 bushels per acre with an 80% RP policy, and 154 bushels per acre with a 75% RP policy. A producer with an APH soybean yield of 50 bushels per acre would have 2015 crop insurance indemnity payments initiated at a final soybean yield of 46 bushels per acre with an 85% RP policy, 43 bushels per acre with an 80% RP policy, and 40 bushels per acre with a 75% RP policy.

A reputable crop insurance agent is the best source of information to make estimates for potential 2015 crop insurance indemnity payments, and to find out about documentation requirements for crop insurance losses. It is important for producers who are facing crop revenue losses in 2015 to understand their crop insurance coverage, and the calculations used to determine crop insurance indemnity payments. When utilizing RP crop insurance coverage, every year is different, due to the interaction between yield reductions and crop price changes from the base price to the harvest price.

Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, Minnesota. Phone: (507) 381-7960); Email: kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com; Web Site: www.minnstarbank.com

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