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Wet field

More than 19m acres went unplanted

Wet spring leads to record-breaking unplanted acres, predominantly in 12 Midwestern states.

Agricultural producers reported they were not able to plant crops on more than 19.4 million acres in 2019, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday. This marks the most "prevented plant" acres reported since USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began releasing the data in 2007 and is 17.49 million acres more than reported at this time last year.

Of those prevented plant acres, more than 73% were in 12 Midwestern states, where heavy rainfall and flooding this year prevented many producers from planting mostly corn, soybeans and wheat.

“Agricultural producers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches,” USDA undersecretary for farm production and conservation Bill Northey said. “We know these are challenging times for farmers, and we have worked to improve flexibility of our programs to assist producers prevented from planting.”

USDA supported planting of cover crops on fields where farmers were not able to plant because of their benefits in preventing soil erosion, protecting water quality and boosting soil health. The report showed that producers planted 2.71 million acres of cover crops so far in 2019, compared with 2.14 million acres at this time in 2018 and 1.88 million at this time in 2017.

To help make cover crops a more viable option, USDA’s Risk Management Agency adjusted the haying and grazing date of cover crops, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service held signups in selected states that offered producers assistance in planting cover crops. Meanwhile, USDA added other flexibilities to help affected producers, including adjusting the deadline to file acreage reports in certain states.

The data report aggregated information from crop acreage reports as of Aug. 1, 2019, which producers file with FSA to maintain program eligibility and to calculate losses for various disaster assistance programs. The crop acreage data report outlines the number of acres planted, prevented from planting and failed by crop, county and state. To find more information, view the Aug. 12 report.

Because some producers have not completed their filing and data are still being processed, FSA will make available subsequent data reports in September, October, November, December and January. Find reports from 2007 to the present on FSA’s Crop Acreage Data webpage.

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