Soybeans have cleared another hurdle in the crop’s quest for more acres in Western Canada as Alberta’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation has decided to start offering crop insurance coverage for soybeans this year.
Both dryland and irrigated soybeans will be insurable in certain areas under an AFSC program called the “New Crops Insurance Initiative.”
“The idea is to offer a base level of coverage while we gain more information about the commodity,” explains Ken Handford, program development analyst with AFSC, noting that includes information on yield, perils and adjustment procedures. “The idea is we can potentially move them under the regular production insurance program.”
While Statistics Canada doesn’t post any data on soybean acres in Alberta, Patrick Fabian, a seedgrower in the Tilley area, estimates around 12 thousand acres were grown in 2014.
“This not only validates the viability of this crop, but more importantly it will allow producers to have the assurance of protection as this crop expands throughout the suitable regions of this province,” he says. “I applaud AFSC’s forward thinking to include soybean coverage for 2015.”
There will be two insurable areas for soybeans through AFSC this year: area 1 covers the southwest corner from the province, from Township 50 south and in the Fourth Meridian; area 2 is in the southern part of the Peace Region (risk areas 17, 18 and 19.) Irrigation coverage is available in risk areas 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9.
Coverage will be available on a flat dollar per acre basis, with the amount depending on whether soybeans are grown under irrigation or not. For dryland soybeans, coverage has been set at $225 per acre with a premium of $8.89 per acre. Irrigated soybeans can receive coverage up to $310 per acre for a premium of $5.36 per acre.
Handford notes the New Crops Insurance Initiative will also offer coverage for dryland hemp for seed production, caraway, coriander and perennials currently not insurable under AFSC’s regular production insurance program.
More information on the new program is expected to be available from AFSC branch offices by the end of this week.
According to Statistics Canada, more than 1.5 million acres of soybeans were planted in Western Canada last year, with nearly 1.3 million in Manitoba and around 270 thousand acres in Saskatchewan.