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19 Dec 2016

Lessening the blow to crops with hail research

Author: Alberta Innovates Staff  /  Categories: Food and Fibre, Applied Research  / 
 
 Rod Werezuk and his hail simulator.

The Canadian Crop Hail Association has reported higher than normal levels of hail storm activity in a number of regions across the country this year. While we can’t control the weather, researchers are looking into ways we can better control the aftermath of hail-related crop damage.

Rod Werezuk, research technologist at InnoTech Alberta, has teamed up with hail insurance adjusters at Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) to look at how hail simulation research can improve hail damage assessments.

“We’ve been working with AFSC for the last five years on more of a demonstration/education project for their hail adjusters, but in the process, we’ve come up with a fairly accurate way to simulate hail damage mechanically on canola,” Werezuk says. “Our objective with this hail simulation research is to help the hail adjusters continue to be accurate in their assessments of hail damage, but in a more timely manner. When we can help them understand the yield response to the different levels of damage, it will hopefully result in them not having to come back to the same field in the future for another assessment.”

Werezuk simulates hail damage by using a machine that was developed for just that purpose. The machine has a rotating drum which is driven by a hydraulic motor. Chains with golf balls attached to them are fastened to the rotating drum, and these chains are used to damage the research crops.

Read the full story from the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers (CAAR).

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