MASC flexibility will speed up canola re-seeding in hardest hit areas

Some farmers won’t have to wait for an adjuster or leave a check strip before re-seeding, but farmers must check first with their local MASC office to see if the policy applies to them

Some Manitoba farmers re-seeding canola after widespread frost May 30 can move a little faster thanks to changes from the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC).

Normally farmers have to get an MASC adjuster to inspect a field before they re-seed or leave a check strip, but farmers in certain areas won’t have to do that, David Van Deynze, Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation’s (MASC) claim services manager, said in an interview June 1.

However, the change only applies to certain areas of the province and farmers must contact their local MASC first to find out if they qualify for the shortcut.

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“We haven’t done this in the 15 years that I’ve been here,” Van Deynze said. “We want to avoid situations where we’re holding up farmers. There are a lot of details so contact your MASC local office. It doesn’t necessarily apply to every farmer because certain areas have had less frost.

“They need to still register the claim to get the ball rolling, but the local office might tell him to go ahead and re-seed without waiting for an adjuster. It’s because of the volume (of claims) and the calendar date basically.”

The full crop insurance coverage deadlines for canola in areas 1 and 2 are June 15 and 10, respectively; the reduced coverage deadlines are June 20 and 15.

When required to leave a check it needs to be at least 10 feet wide for the full length of the field and there must be one for every 40 acres, Van Deynze said.

Farmers are scrambling to find canola and flax seed to re-seed.

“It’s as widespread as we’ve seen for frost for quite awhile,” Van Deynze said Western Manitoba was hardest hit, followed by the central region, he said. Far fewer claims were coming from eastern Manitoba, he added.

For many farmers, including pedigreed seed grower Warren Ellis at Wawanesa, this latest frost was the last straw. Ellis said he expects to have to re-seed 30 per cent of his crops. The canola he planted May 5 was frozen and cut down by sleet May 17 during a storm that hit most of the rest of southern Manitoba. It recovered but then was damaged by flea beetles.

“I just don’t think it was meant to be,” Ellis said in an interview Monday. “We had a faint hope that maybe the canola was hardened off and maybe would survive the frost, but no, we went out this morning and it’s not coming back.”

Ellis’ story is typical, said Anastasia Kubinec, oilseed specialist with Manitoba, Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. A lot of canola fields were borderline due to the last storm, flea beetles and soil crusting, she said. That’s probably why so few farmers were waiting a few days to see how their crop might recover. Other factors included rain in the forecast and approaching seeding deadlines.

Farmers should increase their canola seeding rate to aid earlier maturity, Kubinec said. It’s just three months until September 1 and the risk of a fall frost.

According to a Facebook post one seed grower said farmers in the Somerset area were re-seeding 15,000 acres of canola and 10,000 of flax.

“Every half ton I saw yesterday (May 31) had canola seed in the back of it,” said Kubinec. “Monsanto and Bayer, their reps are running around with canola seed, so is Canterra, and Brett Young Seeds was taking seed orders this morning.”

While having to seed canola fields again will eat up some of the farmers’ time, it won’t be much of an additional cost, she added.

“Some of the companies, if they’re reseeding back to the same variety, they are giving them a heavy discount on the seed, and they will get a re-seed benefit from MASC.”

WeatherFarm data shows the temperature hit -2 C 5:00 A.M. May 30 in Fannystelle. Areas around Elm Creek and Elie fell to -1 around the same time. In Brandon, temperatures dropped to -3.

Bill Craddock, who farms is near Fannystelle, said many of the fields in the region were “wiped out” by the frost.

“From Starbuck east we have been more fortunate, but west of Starbuck has been less fortunate,” said Ed Rempel, president of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.

The frost compounded worries about the size of the crop in Canada, the biggest producer and exporter of canola, a futures trader said. Some crops on Western Canada’s Prairies have struggled with too little moisture, and the number of acres planted was already smaller than expected.

ICE Canada November canola futures jumped 3.7 per cent on Monday.

MASC still hadn’t caught up to all the re-seeding claims from the Victoria Day long weekend storm. By May 28 MASC had received around 750 — not far off the average of 800. But as of June first the number was 1,250 and expected to keep rising this week, Van Deynze said.

Some crop insurance seeding deadlines have already passed and more are approaching.

For example, the deadline for seeding soybeans and getting full crop insurance coverage in soybean areas 2 and 3 was May 31. The reduced coverage deadline for soybean areas 2 and 3 is June 6.

The full and reduced coverage deadlines in soybean area 1 is June 6 and June 11, respectively.

The deadline for seeding grain corn and getting full coverage in grain corn areas 2, 3 and 4 was May 30; the deadline for reduced coverage is June 4.

The deadlines for full and reduced coverage in grain corn area 1 is June 6 and June 11, respectively.

Get the full list of crop insurance seeding deadlines on the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation website.

[email protected] with files from Reuters

About the author

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Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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