Que. crop insurance claims, payouts up: FAQ

Too much rain and too little heat in the growing season led to more crop insurance claims and higher payouts in Quebec in 2008 compared to the previous year, the provincial ag lending and insurance agency reported Tuesday.

As of Feb. 2, la Financiere agricole du Quebec (FAQ) reported payouts on 2008 crops worth $71.12 million, of which $32.47 million were for hay crops, $13.43 million for corn, $9.15 million for market garden crops and $7.3 million for cereal crops.

FAQ’s total payout so far for the year is below its anticipated payout of $76.8 million, but well above the final 2007 total of $46.08 million.

Over 13,600 farms and farm businesses registered for crop yield insurance on a total of 3.4 million acres, for a total insured value of $1.027 billion, the agency said in its annual report on the state of the harvest.

In all, 7,976 separate damage claims were filed with FAQ during 2008, well up from its five-year (2003-07) average of about 7,300.

Hail, crop diseases and insects were seen as equal among causes of crop damage in 2008, FAQ said. The harvest was made easier by generally good weather, the agency added.

The 2008 growing season had started out well enough, FAQ said, with little winterkill, quick seeding and good establishment in most cases. But frequent to excessive rainfall between June and mid-August and generally cool temperatures hindered crop development and interfered with summer harvests, especially in hay crops.

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