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Crop insurance deadlines extended

The cold, wet spring has forced Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) officials to extend seeding deadlines this spring.

The cold, wet spring has forced Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) officials to extend seeding deadlines this spring.

Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud says SCIC decided to push back seeding deadlines for crops to be covered by insurance at about two weeks.

"We recognize seeding is well behind average across the province with excess moisture preventing producers from getting into the fields," Bjornerud states in a press release issued last Thursday. "While I hope this extension will help producers get their seed in the ground and still be insured, we all realize the best solution to this situation would be some warm, dry weather."

Although they vary from one region of Saskatchewan to another, the new deadlines have been pushed back to June 15 or 20. SCIC customers missing the deadlines aren't necessarily out of luck Bjornerud says. Those unable to seed by the new deadlines can access the Unseeded Acreage benefit after June 20. That benefit provides $50 per eligible claim acre to Crop Insurance customers on land too wet to seed.

Although it's unusual for seeding across the province to be delayed as late as it has this year, Bjornerud says it isn't unprecedented. However, he says the problem isn't usually this wide spread.

"Every once in awhile we've had to (extend deadlines)," Bjornerud told says. "I think this year it's more important than in the past because the whole province is affected.

"This year almost everything is wet. Most guys would say it's nice to have the rain but it can stop so we can get crops in the ground."

Bjornerud admits the staggered deadlines are a

bit confusing for producers, who may be wondering how late is too late to seed and still be covered by Crop Insurance. He also suggests farmers in such hard-hit areas as Foam Lake and Kelvington are starting to worry they won't get a crop in this year at all.

"We're telling producers 'please talk to your local Crop Insurance office so you'll know what the local (deadline) date is'. I think there's quite a bit of concern out there."

The last available crop report released Thursday

shows why some producers are concerned they may not get into the sometimes soupy fields to seed this year.

For the week ending May 31, Saskatchewan Agriculture reports 59 per cent of the total crop was in the ground. However, the five-year average for the end of May is 86 per cent.

"The majority of the province is dealing with very wet soil conditions, making seeding operations difficult at best," the report states. "Sincethe beginning of April, many areas in the province have received more than six inches of total precipitation, and some areas have received in excess of eight inches of precipitation."