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The Climate Corp. adapts 2013 wheat-crop coverage

The Climate Corp. is aware that the weather is increasingly extreme across the farm belt of the United States — particularly in wheat country, where rainfall has been largely nonexistent for close to three months. As a result, the company’s 2013 wheat-crop coverage is more adaptive than ever before.

The 2012 growing season was a roller coaster for many growers in key wheat-growing regions of the United States, says David Friedberg, founder and CEO of The Climate Corp.

“As a result of the drought and extreme heat that the winter wheat crop faced, 100% of all winter wheat TWI [Total Weather Insurance] policies sold in Nebraska, 78% of all winter wheat policies sold in Kansas and 62% of all winter wheat policies sold in Colorado resulted in payouts to policyholders to compensate them for weather-related yield shortfalls,” he says.

Key Points

• The Climate Corp. adapts its wheat coverage for 2013.

• One hundred percent of Nebraska policies, 78% of Kansas policies pay.

• Dighton producer says TWI was a “perfect fit.”

Growers get an average of 40 paychecks in their lifetime, and each one needs to count, Friedberg says.

“Growers with bad yields and good federal crop insurance can sometimes survive to farm another year, but with today’s commodity prices, low yields can cost growers an opportunity to really get ahead. Growers who bought TWI for their 2012 winter wheat crop locked in some of the profit potential they saw in a crop that, in many places, looked very good as it came out of dormancy last spring.”

Central and southern Kansas were among those places. Many growers saw potential for the best crop of their lifetime — that is until disease, insects and drought came into play.

Bryan Burnett was one of those farmers protected by TWI during the 2012 growing season. He grows winter wheat near Dighton and says that TWI was a perfect fit for his operation.

“Weather is the major factor that determines if I’m going to have a good or bad wheat crop, and it’s something I can’t control. Around here, most years we worry about drought, but other years we can be too wet, and TWI works because it provides coverage against bad weather in either direction,” says Burnett.

“This last year, it turned out that heat and drought in the spring were the problem, and when things go bad, federal crop insurance only provides so much coverage. My Total Weather Insurance policy provided me with additional payouts that came automatically, without the need for me to talk to an adjuster or file a claim.”

TWI for winter wheat gets more adaptive and precise for 2013

Total Weather Insurance 2013 for winter wheat lets growers protect their potential profits by insuring against post-jointing weather events that can cause yield shortfalls. TWI provides precision coverage based on field location, soil type and crop, and pays out automatically when bad weather happens.

The Climate Corp. has enhanced its 2013 winter wheat coverage in two key areas:

1. TWI 2013 for winter wheat features a more flexible coverage structure, further ensuring that winter wheat crops in the field are protected from adverse weather events during the right times throughout the post-jointing portion of the growing season.

2. The coverage has also been redesigned to allow growers to purchase coverage in the winter, once they can determine the number of acres of wheat that established good stands in the fall and therefore could benefit from additional insurance beyond what the grower has in place with the federal crop insurance program. These features are also new for 2013.

Growth Stage Tracker: New for the 2013 winter wheat season, Growth Stage Tracker calculates coverage dates for key weather perils by tracking the weather-driven progression of the crop in-season. With Growth Stage Tracker, TWI coverage is adaptive to a broader range of extreme weather scenarios.

Soil Moisture Tracker: New for the 2013 winter wheat season, Soil Moisture Tracker provides daily field-level assessments of soil moisture conditions for every TWI-insured field based on field-level soil type information, field-level evapotranspiration data, and local rainfall reports from the 2.5-mile square of land that encompasses the insured field.

Soil moisture values reported by Soil Moisture Tracker are designed to more accurately capture yield-limiting drought or excess moisture stress events that occur during the coverage periods.

More precise weather measurement: TWI 2013 features more exact measurements of daily precipitation and temperature at a grower’s location.

Precision Rainfall Grids: TWI 2013 tracks precipitation values based on 2.5-square-mile grids powered by radar-based National Weather Service data. Each grid provides more than 25 times the resolution of the reports that were used in TWI Winter Wheat 2012 policies, resulting in more exact precipitation measurement for the grower’s location.

Precision Temperature Grids: Where TWI Winter Wheat 2012 used a single temperature station per TWI policy, TWI 2013 tracks temperature values based on 2.5-square-mile Precision Temperature Grids. Each Precision Temperature Grid uses data from up to three nearby, on-the-ground weather stations — adjusted for grid-specific geographic characteristics such as elevation or proximity to bodies of water — to calculate daily temperature conditions.

Precision Temperature Grids are designed to provide more precise temperature values for a grower’s location than is possible with point-based temperature reporting.

“When modeling any system, more and better data will help you achieve better results” says Jeff Hamlin, The Climate Corp. director of agronomic research. “With our 2013 winter wheat TWI coverage, we have enhanced our ability to understand what is going on in any field on each day of the coverage period.

This has been accomplished through higher-resolution weather data, incorporation of field-level soil type and soil water-holding capacity information, and improvements to the agronomic model that allow us to track daily soil moisture values in any given field based on weather, latitude and crop growth stage. The end result is improved TWI coverage that is designed to more accurately captures field-level, weather-driven yield problems.”

2013 coverage for winter wheat weather perils

Using advanced research, historical yield and loss data, and weather history and forecasts, Total Weather Insurance Winter Wheat 2013 covers the major post-jointing weather perils growers may face.

• Drought — depleted soil moisture post-jointing that can cause wilting, low test weights and low yields

• Daytime Heat Stress — hot days that can cause reduced head size and low test weights

• Excess Moisture — excessive local precipitation, which can lead to standing water that starves the crop of oxygen and promotes disease

• Freeze — cold weather post-jointing that can damage or kill tillers and cause sterile heads and shriveled kernels, reducing yield potential

To find an independent crop insurance agent in your area certified to sell TWI, or to hear directly from growers about their experience with TWI, go to www.climate.com. TWI Winter Wheat 2013 is available to growers in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado, with availability pending in Texas. Growers must sign up by March 15 or 10 days before coverage starts — whichever is earlier.


This article published in the January, 2013 edition of KANSAS FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2013.