Canada-Farm Flooding Seen Increasing Claims for Crop Insurance

Jul 02, 2014 4:15 pm ET

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Saskatchewan, Canada’s biggest producer of wheat and canola, expects insurance payouts on crops to increase after floods wiped out acreage.

“It’s a very large area that’s impacted, so we expect to get a number of claims,” said Shawn Jaques, the chief executive officer of Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp., a government-owned company based in Melville, Saskatchewan. “There will be a large number of producers that had their crops seeded, and it’ll be flooded out.”

It’s too early to estimate the extent of the damage as producers are just starting to call in with flooding reports, Jaques said today on a call with reporters. Parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are experiencing severe flooding after as much as 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rain fell last weekend. Fifty-four municipalities in Saskatchewan have declared a state of emergency, Colin King, the province’s deputy commissioner of emergency management and fire safety, said on the call.

Wheat sowing in Saskatchewan may decline as much as 15 percent after excessively wet weather, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin- based Martell Crop Projections said in report today. Four million acres in the Canadian prairies may be too wet to plant, according to LeftField Commodity Research.

Manitoba Fields

The extent of damage in Manitoba is still being assessed and will depend on whether crops were completely washed out or fields can recover as water recedes, said David Koroscil, the manager of insurance projects for Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp., a government-owned company that provides risk-management and financial services to farmers. Growers in the province may file the largest number of claims for acres too wet to plant since 2011, he said.

Symptoms of excess moisture stress, including yellowing and slowed crop development, are evident in Manitoba fields, and plants have been wiped out in some areas, the province said in a report on June 30. Further damage will probably occur because of flooding and saturated soils, according to the report.

About half of the 600 acres Glen Franklin rents out to wheat and canola producers in southwestern Manitoba will not produce any crop this year because the seeded area is underwater and the rest was too wet to sow, he said.

“There’s a lot of water around, a lot of crop lost,” Franklin, 70, said today in a telephone interview from Whitewater Lake, Manitoba.