Crop Insurance Payments in 2013 for Corn and Soybeans

October 03, 2013

Prices set this month in Chicago will have a direct affect on the indemnity payouts for the crop insurance farmers purchased last March from the federal government. The early October price of December corn futures in Chicago suggest crop insurance policies will make payments. At least on some farms, particularly those farms covered by revenue policies at high coverage levels. There is not much chance for crop insurance payments on soybeans

Let’s do the numbers for corn. The 2013 projected price for corn is $5.65 per bushel. The projected price is used to set crop insurance guarantees. The harvest price is used to calculate revenue on which crop insurance payments are based. The harvest price for corn equals the average of settlement prices of the December Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) corn contract during the month of October. Settlement prices during the first two days of October suggest a harvest price of $4.40 per bushel. Obviously, the final harvest price can vary from $4.40. However, $4.40 provides a good starting point for evaluating corn payments.

The Harvest price option crop insurance at the 75% level does not make a payment at $4.40 if the guarantteed yield is 180 bushels to the acre; the 80 percent coverage level pays out $22 under that yield and price; and 85% pays $72 an acre. It is unlikely crop insurance for soybeans will make a payment.

On-the-other-hand GRIP, or the Group Risk Income Plan (GRIP) a different type of crop insurance, is likely to pay.

Most farmers who purchase GRIP do so at a 90% coverage level. To illustrate the size of payments, take a McLean County Illinois GRIP policy with an actual yield equal to the expected yield of 183.3 bushels per acre. A $4.40 harvest price results in a $209 payment given that the highest protection level was chosen. The lowest protection level results in a $126 per acre payment. The 90% coverage level for GRIP causes the larger payments for GRIP compared to the RP or Revenue Protection policy discussed at the beginning of this story.

Summary - Crop insurance payments for corn will occur on some farms, particularly on those who purchased RP policies at higher coverage levels. GRIP at the 90% coverage level likely will make payments. Soybean payments are less likely.