In the wake of the effects of the 2012 drought on corn and soybeans, crop insurance agents and claims adjusters are asking clients to be extra careful about the timing and procedures needed to validate yield loss claims.
Among its clients who are concentrated in the southern half of Wisconsin and parts of adjacent states, Premier Insurance Solutions LLC is seeing corn with stunted stalks and no ears.
The company is also seeing stressed stalks with small ears, fields in which the outside rows are in much better condition than those in the middle, and corn with ears but little or no pollination.
During August and early September, many soybean fields were showing vigorous growth with good green color, the firm noted in its autumn newsletter to clients.
Despite such appearances, adjusters are nonetheless finding pods with few seeds, aborted pods, and re-flowering after the rains during the past two months.
Growers who are chopping corn need to leave check strips, preferably 10 feet wide for the entire length of the field for every 20 acres, Premier advises.
Those who believe they qualify for a yield loss need to contact their agent immediately to arrange for an appraisal, which the firm indicates should not be conducted until the corn is close to maturity.
Written permission is needed for destroying a crop rather than harvesting it, any remaining stored grain needs to be measured before newly harvested crop is put into the storage unit, and arrangements can be made with the adjuster to address such variables as moisture, test weight, and quality, Premier points out.
The company notes that aflatoxin has not been identified as a concern so far but adds that growers can have the adjuster take and submit a sample for testing at their expense.
In all cases, Premier reminds growers that they should not sign the paperwork if they disagree with the appraisal made by the assigned adjuster. This would entitle them to a re-appraisal.
Premier indicates that any grower client having a loss of more $200,000 on any crop within a county will have to complete a three-year actual production history review overseen by the firm's compliance department.
For any claim topping $500,000, the federal Risk Management Agent (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) could be invited to help in the review.
Premier reminds growers of winter wheat and forages that the deadline for starting a new policy or making any changes in their current policy is Sept. 30.
In addition, Nov. 15 is the deadline for reporting the acreage of the fall-seeded crops to the county Farm Service Agency office.