Drought is having a substantial effect on grain farming and ranching on the Prairies, and recently Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) made changes to how disaster-affected crops can be diverted to help ranchers with their grazing needs.

“The dry conditions are certainly having an impact, and I’d say it’s primarily on the west side of the province, is where it’s most impacted, but really the whole province is suffering a little bit from the dry conditions,” says Jeff Morrow, acting president and CEO of SCIC. “The changes that we made, that Minister [David] Marit announced here back in mid-July were to address what industry was telling us was the immediate need for the livestock feed side of the equation.”

Changes include doubling the low-yield appraisal for a disaster crop — the threshold at which SCIC would deem it a zero for the claim — though there may be enough there to use for baling, silage, or grazing.

Morrow gives the example of barley, where the old low-yield appraisal was seven bu/ac, now doubled to 14 bu/ac. “If a producer contacts us,  [and] we appraise that crop anywhere under 14 bushels per acre, and the producer wants to use that for grazing, baling or silage, we would count zero for that portion of their claim,” says Morrow.

The second part of the announcement includes using zero to calculate a claim, but the actual appraised yield to update coverage going forward, says Morrow.

The first and most important step, says Morrow, is to notify SCIC, who will then walk through the options of what can be done with the crop. An adjustor will put an appraisal on the crop, and there are options to be flexible about timing — decisions need to be made quickly, crop can deteriorate fast, so check-strips can be left on the day for baling, grazing, or silage.

“We want to stay out of the way as much as we can, we want to make sure our processes are flexible, so that producers can do whatever they need to do, with that crop that’s in the field,” says Morrow.

Listen to the full interview between Morrow and RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney for more information below:

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