It may be of little consolation to farmers whose crops have been hit by recent severe weather, but hail claims in Alberta are down this year.
As of Wednesday, Agriculture Financial Services Corp. had processed 4,077 claims under straight hail policies and hail endorsements on crop insurance policies this year, said Lorelei Hulston, AFSC’s provincial and central region insurance manager. That’s 100 fewer than for the same period last year and well below the five-year average of 4,807 claims.
“The highest in the last 10 years was in 2008,” said Hulston. “There were 7,600 claims at that time.”
Much of the local damage this year was done late last month, with a hailstorm running from Red Deer to Delburne on July 29, and another passing from Rimbey to north of Lacombe two days later. The Alix area was also hit on July 19.
Other, localized storms resulted in light to medium damage across the province. Producers who have so far escaped the big white combine aren’t out of the woods. “There are still storm cells all over the place, so you never know what’s gong to happen,” said Hulston. And as time passes, the vulnerability of crops can increase, she added. “The more mature the crop is the less opportunity it’s going to have to recover.”