A Wet Spring Means a Late Start to Northeast Agriculture: Other Areas Suffer from Drought

Above-normal rainfall across much of the Northeast region has meant a delayed start to the season for some farmers. The prolonged wet and cool weather pattern across much of New York and parts of New England has consumed most of the spring crop planting season, causing delays in planting, washouts and, in some cases, prevented planting entirely. From a crop insurance perspective, final planting dates vary by crop and location, but ends for most areas on June 10, and late planting typically ends in early July. Producers have several options, and they will have to evaluate those based on their individual situation.

For those Northeast growers who managed to get corn in the ground, crop conditions lag behind national averages. As of July 2 in New York, 53 percent of the corn crop was rated “good” or “excellent” by the USDA, compared to 68 percent similarly rated nationally.

Elsewhere in the U.S., the story is not enough rain. The Dakotas and Montana are facing worsening drought conditions. 56 percent of South Dakota is experiencing “severe drought”, nearly half of North Dakota is experiencing “severe” or “extreme” drought, and six percent of Montana is similarly rated.

Some Northeast grain producers will put the planter in the barn for the season due to the wet weather. However, many dairy producers will consult with their nutritionist to evaluate their feed needs and decide if they need to continue to plant. Crop insurance teams in the region will be working closely with producers to conduct planting progress calls, submit prevented planting notice of loss for producers that have acreage they couldn’t plant, and assist with completing crop insurance acreage reports. An increase in prevented planting claims are expected for this season.

In addition to the wet weather, over the past three weeks there have been more than eight hail events in Northeast fruit growing areas that have caused varying degrees of damage. This widespread damage will create a challenge for fruit producers as they decide how to manage and market their crop. Lighter damaged fruit crops can be hand thinned and remain fresh fruit, whereas heavier damaged crops will most likely be redirected to the processing or juice market.

For those with crop insurance, policy terms and conditions vary, contact your Crop Growers agent to discuss your individual circumstances. Visit CropGrowers.com for more details.


"It's better to make mistakes while trying something new than not try anything at all." -Alexandra Friedman

Editor: Chris Laughton
Contributors: Tom Cosgrove, Bill Drake and Bob Smith

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