The USDA Risk Management Agency has projected prices for the 2014 crop year. It’s $6.72 per bushel for winter wheat, $7.54 per bushel for spring wheat and $4.42 per bushel for winter barley.
Farmers can now go to their insurance agents and decide on crop insurance coverage, said Dave Paul, director of the agency’s Spokane office, which oversees Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
The projected price for spring barley will be announced about March 1.
“Utilizing this price, producers will make important decisions with regards to the coverage level they choose, whether they’re just going to insure for a yield-based program or revenue upside-downside price protection or just downside price protection,” Paul said.
Farmers consider their production history and the markets on making those decisions, he said.
The amount of coverage tracks the crop price, but the premium doesn’t increase, Paul said.
“The price can go up and raise the level of protection, but they’re only paying insurance based on $6.72,” he said.
The sales closing date for insurance is Sept. 30.
It’s the first time winter and spring wheats are using different markets to arrive at a projected price. The spring wheat price is decided using the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Previously growers had to buy their spring wheat insurance policy in the fall without knowing the price.
The prices have gone up and down during the last decade, but are currently close to average, Paul said.
“It seems like almost every other year, they’re either going up or down from the previous year, so it’s not like it’s been a steady trend one way or another,” he said, “which is why the price protection insurance is so important, because we’ve seen so much fluctuation in the marketplace.”