More than 200 insurance claims for hail damage have been registered in Westman so far this year after recent thunderstorms rolled through the region.
A total of 118 claims were registered with Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation’s Neepawa office since July 14, said chief client officer David Van Deynze. An additional 94 have been registered in the Boissevain-Killarney area.
While those numbers are not overly concerning, they’re a significant jump over 2020’s claims, which Van Deynze said was a light year for hail. In 2020, only 15 hail claims were registered at the Neepawa office.
In an average year, approximately 2,000 hail claims are filed in the province, he said, but in 2020 only approximately half of that were registered.
"Provincially we’re probably down a little bit in hail claim numbers, although lots of (farming) season left. It could hail like crazy tomorrow for all we know," he said.
"So far to this point in the season, it would probably be a below-average year for hail claims as well."
Both areas of the province saw storms bring thunder, lightning and hail. Photos posted by storm chasers to Twitter show golf ball-sized hail fell near Neepawa on Monday, and small hail pellets fall near Killarney.
The agricultural insurer doesn’t know the extent of the damage from hail yet, Van Deynze said, but adjustors are in the field inspecting crops.
A spokesperson for Keystone Agricultural Producers said Tuesday the group had heard hail fell in Westman, but it wasn’t a significant concern raised to them.
Producers should notify Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation of hail claims within three days of the damage or loss occurring, Van Deynze said.
Hail is estimated to fall an average of three days per year in Manitoba, according to the organization’s website.
It’s another blow to some producers in a year where drought has already hit many hard. Van Deynze said later-seeded canola can likely recover from the impact of hail, but for crops like cereals, it’s too late.
"At the end of the day, again not anywhere near enough assessments done to get a good handle on the full impacts of the drought. Certainly what we’re seeing, lower yields and we’re going to have a more significant claim year than we’ve had in a long time, but the full extent we don’t really have a handle on yet," he said.
According to the province, between 100 and 160 mm of precipitation fell across Westman between May 1 and July 18.
Producers should also contact Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation if they plan to change intentions with their crops so insurance plans can be adjusted accordingly.
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