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Ont. forage growers offered pilot excess-rain coverage

A handful of Ontario’s forage growers will be able to insure their first cut of hay or haylage against excess rainfall starting in the 2011 season.

Agricorp, the province’s farm program delivery agency, has added a pilot excess rainfall coverage option to its Forage Rainfall plan for 2011, on top of the insufficient-rain coverage already available.

The pilot offering of excess rainfall coverage will be available only to the first 500 customers who apply by the Forage Rainfall plan’s application deadline of May 1, Agricorp said.

An applicant will be asked to select a third-party rainfall collection station close to the forage stand in question, where the third party will collect rainfall data in increments of 0.2 millimetres.

Data will be used for both the insufficient- and excess-rainfall options if a successful applicant enrolls for both, Agricorp said.

The applicant must also choose a rainfall threshold of five or seven millimetres, and if he or she does not see any consecutive five-day window during the period when he or she had planned a first cut, a claim would be paid.

Growers would also have to choose, from five available 10-day harvest periods, the period when they typically harvest first-cut hay or haylage. The available options are May 22-31, June 1-10, 11-20 or 21-30, or July 1-10.

For coverage purposes, hay or haylage can be valued between $100 and $300 per acre. A grower could choose to insure from a minimum of $2,000 up to the total value of a hay/haylage crop.

A grower’s chosen coverage amount for the hay or haylage in question would also need to be

the same for the insufficient-rainfall and excess-rainfall options he or she is enrolled in both.

Grower premium rates would depend on the applicant’s rainfall threshold choice, Agricorp said. A grower’s individual premium would be calculated as the premium rate multiplied by the grower’s chosen coverage amount.

A claim on the coverage would equal 35 per cent multiplied by the chosen coverage amount; for example, a forage stand is covered for a value of $10,000, the claim payable would be $3,500.

The claim rate was set at 35 per cent, Agricorp said, because first cut is usually 70 per cent of a forage crop’s total value and, on average, half a crop can be salvaged when significant rain falls during harvest.

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