Mother Nature has not been kind to farmers this spring. Between a deluge of rain, followed by cool temperatures and flooding in many areas, thousands of producers are staring at crop insurance deadlines.

Prevented planting could be a real possibility this year for keeping those growers financially afloat.

When making the decision to prevent-plant, no-tillers must assess what course of action will be the most profitable.

While cover crops provide many soil health benefits, establishing a cover crop increases total costs at the farm level, after a producer has already purchased seed and inputs for the originally intended crop. Would it be more profitable to plant late soybeans rather than covers?

Each grower has to do the math for their own operation and determine what would be best to plant — and when.

For those farmers who are considering prevent-planting, covers might be a viable choice, especially for those no-tillers who also raise livestock, according to information from the University of Minnesota. Planting covers for hay or grazing could be a valuable source of forage for livestock but beware of any stipulations on harvest timing or restrictions due to herbicides previously used in a field.

Crop insurance also dictates when prevent planted cover crops can be grazed or harvested — usually not until after November 1, and those covers can’t be harvested for grain without reducing the prevent plant coverage payment, according to University of Minnesota experts. Your crop insurance provider can discuss more details about the timing of harvesting covers.

Seeding covers can cut fertilizer costs, reduce the need for herbicides and other pesticides, and improve yields by enhancing soil health while preventing soil erosion and conserving soil moisture, among other benefits, according to the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program. Many covers work well in tandem with more traditional crops like corn and soybeans.

Are you considering prevent-planting this year? What cover crop(s) are you planning to seed? Share your comments with me at or in the comments section.