With the increase in prevented plant acres we have been fielding some questions in regard to cover crops requirements.  A cover crop is a crop that is generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement. Cover crops include grasses, legumes and forbs for seasonal cover and other conservation purposes.

Cover crops are not a required practice for crop insurance; however, if a cover crop is planted, it must be an approved cover crop.  In the past, FSA has required a cover crop or adequate crop residue to be in place for erosion protection as part of the farm program compliance.  Since the 2019 farm program signup will not take place till this fall, FSA is recommending a cover crop but technically cannot require it.  Please check with your local FSA office to see what the requirements are for your area.



As of yesterday, RMA has changed the date that a cover crop may be hayed or grazed for 2019 from November 1st to September 1st due to historic flooding and excessive rainfall throughout much of the county. This includes cutting for silage, haylage, and baleage. You may use this forage personally or sell it.  If you graze or hay your cover crops before the September 1st date, your prevented plant payment will be subject to a 65% reduction as well as an APH penalty.


Cover Crop Programs
The Minnesota NRCS has recently allocated some additional EQIP funds dedicated to cover crops on acreage that was prevented from being planted. From the sounds of it, funding was initially very limited but additional funding has been requested. High priority will be given to acreage in which fertilizer has already been applied.  You may want to contact your local NRCS office for more details and help with the application.

In talking to NRCS office they have no restriction on harvest/cutting the cover crop – you only have to remain in compliance with RMA guidelines for crop insurance. Thus if you were to qualify for NRCS assistance you would be able to also harvest that cover crop after September 1st due to the rule changes this year.


Cover Crop Haying/grazing and your Prevent Plant Payment
See the chart below as to how the timing and disposition of a cover crop can affect your prevent plant payment:

Prevent Plant Payment is:
Cover Crop PlantedDisposition100%35%0%
During Late Planting Period (LPP)*** of the Prevented CropHayed/Grazed/Cut for Silage before Sept 1X
Hayed/Grazed/Cut for silage on or after Sept 1X
Harvested for grain or seed at any timeX
After Late Planting Period of the Prevented CropHayed/Grazed/Cut for silage before Sept 1X
Hayed/Grazed/Cut for silage on or after Sept 1X
Harvested for grain or seed at any timeX*
*Provided the crop claimed as a cover crop is not the prevented crop and all other policy provisions are met.
**Example: Fall-Planted Cover Crop; Spring PP Crop
***The late planting period (LPP) begins the day after the final planting date of a crop and ends 25 days after the final planting date unless otherwise specified in the Crop Provisions.


Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions regarding the above or your crop insurance coverage.

ProAg Service & Insurance
2417 US Hwy 59
Mahnomen, MN  56557
218.935.2700 (office)