Crop insurance deadline nears

Alberta farmers have until Feb. 28 to insure pasture and hay land for the 2013 growing season.

Alberta farmers have until Feb. 28 to insure pasture and hay land for the 2013 growing season.

Last year, more than $3.7 million was paid out through Agriculture Financial Services Corp. (AFSC) perennial crop insurance on hay and pasture claims across the province. Most claims related to a lack of moisture, but other causes of loss included hailstorms, pasture fires, frost, flooding, heat stress, wind and winterkill. AFSC is the Crown corporation that provides crop insurance to Alberta farmers on behalf of the provincial and federal governments.

David Maddox, manager of insurance operations with AFSC, said hay and pasture claims have been much lower than average in recent years, compared with drought years like 2009 and 2002, when about $56 million and $89 million were paid out respectively.

Managing risk on hay and pasture has become more important with rising feed costs that cause producers to graze cattle earlier in the spring and later into the winter, said Grant Lastiwka, a forage, grazing and beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. He added that it’s also important to fertilize and reseed old depleted stands.