Humphrey Banack is pictured with a flooded pea field in Round Hill, Alta., on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Prairie farmers are in a bind after bad weather forced them to leave a lot of crops on their fields last fall, and now the problem is being magnified by a cold, wet spring that has delayed seeding. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

Mother Nature proves less troublesome for Prairie farmers in 2017: report

REGINA — A report from the Canadian Crop Hail Association says a reduction in potentially damaging storm activity on much of the Prairies this past summer led to one of the lightest hail-claim seasons in eight years.

The 2017 report from the Regina-based association shows there were just over 8,600 claims in Western Canada that generated $96 million in insurance payouts.

The report says there was a decrease in storm frequency from the five-year average, while damage claim frequency was down about 30 per cent for the same period of time.

Manitoba farmers suffered the most losses, followed by Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The association says the lack of moisture was widespread this year with record to near-record dry conditions throughout much of Saskatchewan and parts of Alberta.

The organization also says farmers continue to insure their crops for hail damage at near record levels.

The report said there was more timely precipitation in Manitoba where producers enjoyed good yield and quality, despite dry conditions. The province’s loss ratio of 45.9 per cent was well below 2016’s record loss ratio of 158.9 per cent.

Alberta followed at 33.7 per cent, compared to 83.6 per cent in 2016. Saskatchewan reported a 30-per-cent loss ratio compared to 73 per cent in 2016.

The report said producer premiums totalled just over $286 million for an industry loss ratio of 33.8 per cent.

A dry spring combined with 2016 unharvested acres and some continued industry rate declines resulted in a five-per-cent decrease in producer-paid premiums this year.

The Canadian Crop Hail Association is a member-driven organization that represents the interests of the Canadian crop hail managing general agencies and insurance companies. It’s been serving the crop insurance industry since 1915.

Association member companies write crop-hail insurance products totalling more than $250 million in premiums, and liability totalling about $6 billion.

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