Hot topics & tips on the ever changing business of farming

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ACR-CO vs PLC Payments for 2014 Farm Bill

Farmers made a one-time program election for the 2014 Farm Bill. Many farmers in our area selected ACR-CO knowing large payments would be received the first few years. PLC was unknown due to the unknown of the marketing year average price. Would corn fall below $3.70 and soybeans under $8.40?

Now we can look back and see how ARC-CO and PLC worked. Here is a chart showing Hardin County, IA’s ARC-CO payments from 2014 to (estimated) 2018.

ARC-CO Payments

You can see that payments were high in the first couple years, then dropped off to zero in the last couple years. Total dollars received per acre was $122.39. This data is provided by ISU Decision Maker. You can select any county you would like to review. You can also input projections for the 2019-2023 crop years.

PLC coverage triggers when the marketing year average price falls below $3.70 for corn and $8.40 for soybeans. In the chart, you can see that corn fell below $3.70 in 2015-2018. PLC Payments

2014 Farm Bill PLC payments are based upon 90% of average farm yields from 2008-2012. The farm yield is different for each farm. I input an above average 170 bu. per acre farm yield in this scenario to see the payout potential, $117.17 over the 5 year span. In 2020, farmers will be able to update farm yields to reflect the 2013-2017 crop years.

Farmers will be able to elect ARC-CO or PLC for the 2019 and 2020 crop years when they certify their acres this year. In 2021-2023 farmers can change their program selection every year. These charts are helpful in running scenarios to make farm bill program decisions, ISU Decision Marker


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SCO Coverage

Let’s refresh our memory about SCO that was first introduced with the 2014 Farm Bill.  What is SCO and how does it fit into crop insurance and Farm Bill Program decisions?

SCO, Supplemental Coverage Option, is a crop insurance product. This means SCO is purchased from a crop insurance agent and a premium is charged for coverage. 65% of the premium cost is subsidized by the federal government. The coverage provided is county level revenue protection. Payment triggers below 86% of county revenue down to the federal crop insurance level carried on the policy.

Here are 4 factors when considering SCO:

#1 – SCO is only available for farms that have elected PLC, Price Loss Coverage, for their Farm Bill Program. Many farmers in Central Iowa elected ARC-CO for the 2014 Farm Bill. This made them ineligible to elect SCO coverage. With the new farm bill, farmers will be able to re-elect ARC-CO or PLC for the 2019 and 2020 crop years. The FSA office has indicated that the 2019 & 2020 election will happen when certifying acres this spring/summer. Then from 2021-2023 farmers can change their program election each year.

#2 – SCO provides coverage from 86% of county revenue down to your crop insurance level. For example: If you carry 75% Revenue Protection Coverage, SCO will cover from 75% to 86% of county revenue. In Central Iowa, most farmers carry 80-85% Revenue Protection. Therefore, SCO coverage would be minimal, 1-6% coverage.

#3 – SCO is county level protection, therefore there is not protection for individual losses. Prevent Plant and Replant Coverage is not provided. When considering the farm programs, PLC payments are based on individual farm yields and ARC-CO is based on county yields. In 2020, you will be able to update your yields to reflect the 2013-2017 crop years. If you have high yields in comparison to the county and price falls below the reference price ($3.70 corn and $8.40 beans), your PLC payment would potentially be attractive compared to county coverage.

#4 – Since SCO provides a 65% premium subsidy, you might wonder if scaling back your individual coverage would cheapen your crop insurance cost. For Optional Unit coverage, you will see a premium decrease per acre.  Is the rate savings attractive enough to  give up individual coverage? For the higher subsidized Enterprise Unit coverage, the scenario is less likely.

SCO has nice advantages for farmers who elect PLC for their farm program, don’t carry a high level of individual crop insurance, or don’t qualify for Farm Bill Program payments.

If you want more information regarding SCO and your operation, please contact me at or 641-847-3555.

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2018 Revenue Protection Prices and Triggers

The 2018 Harvest Prices were calculated in the month of October. Corn came in at $3.68 and soybeans at $8.60. Both prices were down from the spring Projected Prices: 7% decline on corn and 15% on soybeans. At 85% coverage, soybean trigger yields are at the APH level.

Keep reading for 2018 Prices and Trigger Yields…

2018 MPCI Prices 

Corn Projected Price $3.96

Corn Harvest Price $3.68

Soybean Projected Price $10.16

Soybean Harvest Price $8.60

Let’s take a quick glance at Revenue Protection bushel triggers at the 85% coverage level for both corn and soybeans.

Corn APH: Trigger Yield 

180 APH: 164

190 APH: 173

200 APH: 182

210 APH: 192

220 APH: 201

Soybean APH: Trigger Yield

40 APH: 40

50 APH: 50

60 APH: 60

70 APH: 70

Claims might be spotty in our area. The chances are greater with optional unit structure (by section) than with enterprise units (by county). Review your actual harvest revenue against your guarantee. Claims need to be filed by 15 days after you’re done harvesting or by December 10th; whichever comes first.

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Crop Insurance Coverage for Grain Quality

Worried about grain quality?

Here are some tips to help you if there is a crop insurance claim.

  1. First, take a sample to the elevator to test for grain quality.
  2. If the grain does not meet the grade requirements for U.S. No. 4, production will be eligible for a quality adjustment.
    1. Quality adjustments can be applied due to test weight or kernel damage, including having a musty, sour, or commercially objectionable foreign odor.
  3. If the grain qualifies for a quality adjustment, TAKE THE GRAIN DIRECTLY TO THE ELEVATOR. DO NOT STORE IN A BIN. If the grain is stored in a bin, the quality adjustment cannot be applied.
  4. If the elevator rejects the grain, the rejection is needed for crop insurance claim documentation.

If you have questions regarding crop quality talk to your crop insurance agent.

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Fieldview Plus User Updates for 2017 Season

It’s time to prepare for the 2017 growing season. Here are a few tips to enhance your Fieldview Plus experience.

  1. Update your iPad and Smart Phone
    1. Update Fieldview App (Black App) to version 4.3.0
      1. iPhone: Go to App Store and select update all on the bottom right.
      2. Android: Go to Play Store. Search for Climate Fieldview and select update.
    2. Update Fieldview Cab App (Grey App) to version 6.0.1
      1. iPad: Go to App Store and select update all on the bottom right.
    3. Update to iOS 10.2
      1. iPad: Go to Settings, General, Software Update
        1. Be connected to Wifi and it’s best to be plugged into power.
  2. Off load Fieldview Drive
    1. If you had iOS 10 issues this fall, make sure all the harvest data has been sent to the Fieldview Cab App.
    2. On the Fieldview Cab App, select Settings, Devices, Edit, and review Off Load Status. You want each field to be at 100%.
    3. If the data is not 100% off loaded, activate the Drive in the combine, connect Cab App to the Drive, and Cloud Sync.
  3. Upload Maps
    1. Planting Maps: Upload past planting maps
      1. Used to generate field region reports
    2. Harvest Maps: Upload past yield maps
      1. Used to generate field region reports
      2. Used to create management zones for the Nitrogen Advisor*
      3. Used to create Manual or Advanced Scripts*
        1. Advance Scripts require 2 years of yield history
    3. Soil Maps: Upload soil maps
      1. Used to create field region reports
      2. Used to create management zones for the Nitrogen Advisor*
      3. Used as layer to review Manual or Advanced Scripts*
  4. Create Manual Seeding Scripts
    1. Create seeding scripts utilizing yield maps, soil maps, and field health images
    2. Export seeding scripts to monitor

*Nitrogen Advisor and Advanced Scripts are available on the Pro platform. Pro can be purchased at any time for the 2017 season. Climate is also offering the opportunity to upgrade 2 fields to Pro this season for free.

Contact Betsy for guidance. To learn more about Nitrogen Advisor and Advance Scripts, read Fieldview Pro Overview for 2017.






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Fieldview Pro Overview for 2017


Fieldview Pro includes all features of the Prime and Plus tiers, plus it provides the Nitrogen Advisor and Advance Scripts. These tools have been enhanced for the 2017 season.

Here is a brief overview:

Advanced Scripts

The Advanced Scripts uses 2 years of yield history and Gen 5 data from Monsanto. There is a 3 part process in generating the automated scripts:

  1. Management zones are identified
  2. Population is assigned to the zones based on hybrid selection
  3. Economic factors are considered

Scripts can be altered to fit the planter’s technology ability by adjusting the number of population zones.

Nitrogen Advisor

The Nitrogen Advisor has been enhanced from the 2016 version to manage nitrogen on a sub-field level. Your soil maps will be used in replace of SURGO Maps to enhance accuracy. If you want to utilize the Nitrogen Advisor, update your nitrogen application plan for 2017. You will be able to monitor nitrogen status and review side dress application decisions instantly.


For more details, contact Betsy.

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Compare current precip to historical averages on Climate Fieldview’s App

Many farmers like to keep track of precipitation to project yield potential of their crop. I like to compare the current precipitation to historical averages. This helps me put a number the terms “dry”, “wet”, or “adequate”.

As we start the month of July, I wanted to give you an idea of how “dry” our area is. Here are local season to date precipitation compared to the 10 year average. The (-) represents short of the 10 year average.

Garden City -6.5″, Radcliffe -5.7″, Ackley -5.0″, Hubbard -4.7″, Austinville -4.3″, Eldora -3.7″, New Providence -3.4″, Geneva -2.9″, Wellsburg -2.7″, Iowa Falls -2.6″

I used to log on at and run a comparison on the past weather tab. It took time to do this on every field and I needed access to a computer.

Now it’s very easy to access this information on your fields. When you log on to the Climate Fieldview App on your smart phone, an Overview screen will appear. Tap on Rainfall.


It will default to the Last 24 Hours precipitation. To the right, tap on Season to Date. You will then see if precipitation is above or below normal compared to the 10 year average.