Alberta hail claims are above average in 2013 but still far below those of 2012, which was a record year for hail damage.
“Last year was by far the worst. Just rough guessing, we’re probably 1,000 claims behind last year,” said Brian Tainsh of Alberta Financial Services Corp.
“It’s been very, very busy, needless to say, but last year was our record year.”
Tainsh said every available crop adjuster is working to inspect and process claims, and few problems are encountered if farmers leave a sufficient check strip when harvesting.
“At this time of year, because the fields are opened up, it actually speeds up the process. The inspectors have easier access to the fields and to get around them,” he said.
Hailstorms usually taper off toward fall, but a Sept. 8 storm damaged crops west of Carstairs and in the Lethbridge, Foremost, Taber and Medicine Hat regions.
Those were the same regions affected by severe hail earlier in the summer, said Tainsh, but after that, storms all over the province are keeping adjusters on the road.
The Canadian Crop Hail Association reported that overall claim activity in Alberta is 25 percent above the five-year average.
In Saskatchewan, hail claims remain slightly below the average. A storm Aug. 28 affected a large area, moving from southwest to northeast. It affected crops from Eastend and Swift Current to Southey and Cupar, with light to moderate damage reported.
Saskatchewan storms Aug. 23, 24 and 30 also produced numerous claims, according to the hail association’s Sept. 9 report.
August storms also factored into Manitoba’s total claims. Hail primarily along the province’s eastern border and throughout the south put the number of claims on par with the five-year average.
Storms Aug. 18 and 31 upped the total. Large hail Aug. 31 caused damage ranging from 20 to 100 percent, with swathed canola especially vulnerable.
Crops in a region stretching from Pierson in the west to Dufrost in the east were affected.
The crop hail association reminds farmers to contact their respective insurance providers for advice on adequate check strips or swaths before combining.