Insurance against Mother Nature: the idea has been dangled in front of Australian farmers for years, without much response. But, after a second horror season in the Wimmera Mallee grain belt, the subject is the talk of the farming community. Warracknabeal producer became the poster boy for multi-peril crop insurance in Victoria last year, after paying the $33,000 premium and receiving a pay-out.
In a devastating blow to Victorian pear growers, another hail storm hit the Goulburn Valley on 12 November 2015, further damaging orchards. Fruit Growers Victoria (FGV) ran a meeting following the previous hailstorm to share useful information on how to manage affected orchards. For more information on this and on APAL’s planned ‘Hailstorm Heroes’ marketing campaign see Hope and help for growers affected by hail.
It will take farming families hit by the fires around Esperance years to get back on their feet and some may never recover, according to industry experts. Farmers were forced to flee as homes, machinery, infrastructure, crops and livestock worth millions of dollars was consumed by blazes started by lightning strikes on Sunday. Insurance is expected to cover some but nowhere near all the losses that will run into tens of millions of dollars. The fire is estimated to have devastated more than 155ha of farm land in some of WA’s most productive districts.
Some Mid North croppers may have lost nearly all their harvest, after rain and hail pelted the region last week. A severe thunderstorm passed through the region, dumping falls as high as 107 millimetres at Jamestown, 90mm at Redhill, 78mm at Georgetown and 92mm at Port Pirie. Elders Burra agronomist said he heard of 30-130mm in the district which also had significant crop damage from hail.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water this week announced a further $14.25 million would be made available for irrigation infrastructure upgrades under Round Two of the Victorian Farm Modernisation Project (VFMP). Minister said the new round of funding would be used to upgrade irrigation infrastructure on approximately 60 farms in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District—increasing efficiency and flexibility in water use on-farm, and delivering environmental benefits.
Storms that hammered much of South Australia's grain-growing regions yesterday could potentially cost farmers millions of dollars. The true extent of grain downgrades will not be known until paddocks dry out and the grain starts to flow into the silos once again. But some farmers near Redhill in the Mid North are already counting the cost of hail damage after a storm pelted the area on Wednesday afternoon.
Queensland MP believes multi-peril crop insurance could be the saviour of the Australian rural industry. The Australia Party state leader returned from a multi-peril crop insurance summit hosted by the NSW Government in Sydney enthusiastic about a scheme he said would keep families on farms. Multi-peril crop insurance protects crops against natural perils including adverse weather, fire, insects, disease, and failure of irrigation water.
Up to 10% of the Goulburn Valley's pear crop may have been lost in the hail storm last week that tore through Ardoma and north Shepparton. It is estimated that around 16,000 tonnes of pears could be lost. One of the hardest hit areas was in North Shepparton where 53% of pears were lost and 49% of apricots. Fruit Growers Victoria statistics revealed that from 8 affected growers, about 76% of stone fruit were damaged and 65% of pears.
Up to 90% of Australia’s Goulburn Valley pear crop, and 40% of the apple crop may have been affected by this week’s highly localized hail event in Victoria, but more assessment will be carried out in the next five weeks to determine how much of the budding fruit, due to hit stores in January, might be affected. We need to wait to see the full extent of the damage, - says Industry Development Officer for Fruit Growers Victoria, who chaired the meeting, which included state parliamentarians, and representatives from peak industry bodies.
Major players in the agricultural supply chain have longstanding experience in managing risk, ranging from currency and price risk hedging to insuring against property and liability claims. Despite these efforts, earnings in some segments are still subject to substantial volatility, making it difficult to produce a steady return on equity, to create steady cash flows and to be able to invest in new ventures.
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