After suffering considerable crop losses during the last harvest, farmers in Alberta may soon be turning to crop insurance once more as difficult weather rocks the region.
Last year, there were insurance claims for 960,000 unharvested acres – a figure significantly higher than the annual average of 23,000 during the three years prior. Rain and hail in September hit Alberta at the height of the harvest period, followed by wet snow in early October, preventing farmers from properly harvesting their crop.
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A recent report by the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation found that of the 2,124 claims made in 2016, 1,184 were in central Alberta alone.
With current weather conditions still preventing farmers from salvaging what is left of their crop and planting new produce, some are worried that this year’s yields will be of even lower quality.
“With this snow the last couple days, I think the quality will be downgraded pretty significantly, but we’ll just sort of have to wait and see if it starts to dry up a bit,” farmer Graham Jesperson told CBC. “We can take a closer look at what it looks like and we can make a decision from there.”
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Jesperson plans to combine the new crops with what he can salvage from the previous batch once it is all dry, but said that he would use it all as feed if the quality of the harvest is not up to standard.
Agrologist Paul Muyres told CBC that the seeding process typically takes place during the first week of May, but it cannot begin until the fields are clear and dry.
“People get excited about the date on the calendar,” Muyres explained. “We’re still in the middle of April. We have a long season to plant. No-one needs to panic just yet.”
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