Sask. improves corn coverage, introduces bee loss insurance

Saskatchewan’s crop insurance program for 2014 will include improvements for grain corn coverage.


Corn acres grew 46 percent last year compared to the previous year, rising to 20,000 acres from 9,000.


Farmers and ranchers have been asking for production insurance, said agriculture minister Lyle Stewart.


“As a result of the high demand, we are introducing a pilot insurance program for yield loss coverage for corn in 2014 for southeastern Saskatchewan,” said Stewart as he announced the 2014 program Feb. 10 in Melville.


The program will be available in east-central and southeastern re-gions. In addition, the establishment benefit feature will be available for corn at $65 per acre.


Durum and barley have been added to the yield trending feature, which improves coverage based on agronomic advancements and individual historic yields.


Average durum yields will increase 8.6 percent, while barley will go up 3.5 percent.


Yield trending, which was introduced in 2009, continues for other major crops.


Stewart said the feature has resulted in average canola coverage in-creasing by almost 20 percent, oats by 15 percent and hard red spring wheat by 10 percent.


“Commercial field peas will be added to the contract price option and the base grade for flax will improve from No. 2 to No. 1,” Stewart added.


Stewart said insurance coverage for 2014 is $162 per acre, on average, or the fourth highest in history. Premiums will average $7.47 per acre, about 25 percent lower than they were in 2013.


Both drops are a result of lower forecasted crop prices.


Stewart addressed last year’s complaints from producers who said they were being denied unseeded acreage benefits they believed they should receive. He said the program is not designed to pay out on permanent or semi-permanent water bodies.


“We are going to make sure producers fully understand the program in 2014,” he said.


That benefit has paid $740 million since 2010, including $75 million last year.


Another pilot to be introduced this year is a bee mortality insurance program, which will cover bees lost over the winter from natural causes outside producers’ control.


Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp.chief executive officer Shaun Jaques said the program will pay after a deductible of 19.5 percent. The insured value of the hives is $155 each.


The deadline to apply for, cancel or make changes to contracts is March 31.


Last year, 77 percent of seeded acres, or 27 million of 35 million acres, were insured.

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