As Alberta’s growing season moves into stage 2, AFSC clients need to be aware that preharvest inspections are required prior to putting a crop to another use.

Alberta producers may experience a variety of weather conditions from late frost to prolonged periods of heat with little moisture throughout the growing season, both of which take a toll on crops. If severe growing conditions occur, some producers may put their crops to alternate uses rather than waiting for them to mature.

AFSC clients with Crop Insurance, Processing Vegetable, Hay or Export Timothy Hay insurance can choose to put their insured crop to an alternate use including pasturing, ploughing down, spraying out, silaging, stacking or any other type of immeasurable state, such as large square bales.

Clients who choose to put their crop to an alternate use need to contact AFSC to obtain approval to release the acres. Putting an insured crop to an alternate use before the acres are released by AFSC may impact the estimated yield, potential claim and future coverage.

To help ensure a smoother process, clients should contact AFSC at least five days in advance of starting the work. They will need to provide the crop type, number of acres and estimated yield on the acres that will be put to an alternate use. Depending on the estimate of yield, branch team members may be able to release the acres from the office, or, when the yield potential is lower than the selected coverage, an adjuster will need to complete a field inspection to determine the potential yield before releasing the acres.


Important: Clients must not dispose of or put an insured annual crop to a use other than combining, or for insured hay crops, putting up in dry measurable bales, without AFSC first releasing the acres. Putting an insured crop to an alternate use before the acres are released by AFSC may impact the estimated yield, potential claim and future coverage.


AFSC will work with clients to complete the field inspection as soon as possible. If an adjuster is not able to inspect the field before work is scheduled to start, clients can, once authorized by AFSC, leave standing inspection strips or exclosures on the acres being put to an alternate use. AFSC will complete the inspection and determine a yield appraisal as soon as possible.

For more information on Inspection Strips, please see the Inspection Strips resource. Information on exclosures can be found in the 2024 Hay Insuring Agreement. Clients are responsible for the maintenance of all inspection strips, swaths and exclosures.

Perennial crops must be left standing for AFSC to assess a yield potential; annual crops can be standing or can be swathed.

Frequently asked questions

Q: If I experience a combination of extreme heat and dry conditions that severely impacts my insured crop, how will insurance help me with that?

Drought is a recognized insurable peril on dryland crops, as is hail, fire by lightning and insect infestation. AFSC crop insurance covers clients at a selected bushel / kilogram amount on each individual crop. When your reported production for the total acres of the insured crop is below your selected coverage, AFSC will compensate you for production lost due to insurable perils on the difference between selected coverage less production, at the crop’s kilogram price.

Q: How does an early or late frost affect my crop?

Frost can be extremely variable; fields with heavy straw residue will likely show more damage than fields with less straw residue.  For canola, research shows that a normal crop can be attained from a plant stand ranging from one to four plants per square foot, the lower number particularly for herbicide-tolerant varieties or when seeded into dry conditions.

There are a variety of resources available for producers online. Below are two links from the Canola Council that address many of the questions regarding frost on canola and reseeding.

It is important to check fields after a frost event and to monitor the crop for three to four days to see if there is any recovery. In most cases, it is important to wait for the plant to have time to regrow to make an accurate decision.

One way to assess recovery is to mark individual plants that could recover and recheck these plants over the following days.

Q: Do I need to wait until fall to harvest it or can I take steps now?

Yes, if you have production-based insurance, contact AFSC if you decide to put your crop to alternate use. Production-based insurance includes Crop Insurance, Processing Vegetable, Hay, and Export Timothy Hay Insurance.

Q: What does ‘alternative use’ mean?

An ‘alternate use’ or ‘put to another use’ is anything other than combining your annual crop acres (e.g. pasturing, silaging, ploughing down), or putting your hay crop up in anything other dry, measurable bales (e.g. large square bales, spraying out, loose stacks)

Q: Why doesn’t AFSC just write off my crop?

Under production-based insurance, payments are calculated on the total acres of the crop, not just the acres combined. Therefore, it is necessary for AFSC to determine the estimated yield potential for all acres that are put to an alternate use.

Q: As my crop matures, I’m concerned there isn’t enough time for it to recover even if it starts to rain?

Depending on the type of crop and its development stage, some crops can recover and produce a reasonable yield. AFSC recognizes the more advanced crops are, the less time and potential they have to recover from stressors including lack of precipitation and extreme heat.

Q: Do I need to contact AFSC if I decide to silage some of my acres?

Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have on those acres, you may need to contact AFSC first. Fields intended for silage can be insured under either production-based insurance or area-based insurance.

  • Acres insured under an area-based program such as Silage Greenfeed or Corn Heat Unit Insurance can be put to an alternate use without first contacting AFSC.
  • Acres insured under production-based insurance need to have a yield appraisal conducted and the acres released before doing any work.

Clients who have both production-based and area-based insurances should review their billings to ensure which program each field is insured under. If you are unsure, contact AFSC before proceeding with any work on an insured crop.

Q: What is the process if I am going to pasture or silage my crop?

Clients are asked to contact AFSC at least five days before putting acres to another use. You will need to provide the crop, number of acres and estimated yield on the acres that will be put to an alternate use, the intended use (e.g. pasturing, silage, abandoned) and the date you are intending to start the work.

This advance notice helps AFSC assign adjusters to top priority claims; annual crop and hay fields that are being pastured. AFSC tries to inspect crops as close to the start of work as possible to ensure that the yield assessment is current.

As soon as the work is completed, contact your AFSC branch office to advise them the acres have been put to an alternate use.

Note: AFSC will not revisit the farm to complete a second yield appraisal, unless the work was delayed due to a weather event that would have a significant impact on the initial yield appraisal.

Q: What happens to the hail insurance coverage I have already purchased for these crops put to another use?

Straight Hail policies that are cancelled may be eligible for a percentage of premium refund, as per the Cancellation and Premium Refund Schedule in Straight Hail Contract of Insurance for either spring-seeded crops or fall-seeded crops posted on  AFSC must be notified or contacted when crop is put to another use.

Hail Endorsement may be cancelled on partial acres of an insured crop provided there has been no hail damage assessed and a preharvest inspection has been completed and the acres have been put to another use based on the Cancellation and Premium Refund Schedule in the 2024 Hail Endorsement Insuring Agreement. Producers must notify the branch when crop put to another use.

Q: How soon can I expect an adjuster to come out to my farm?

AFSC has a large team of adjusters and they are moving around as needed based on workload. Currently, there are adjusters in every AFSC branch office and how quickly they will come out to your farm is dependent on the number of claims and priority. Crops that are being pastured are AFSC’s first priority, followed by crops being put up for livestock feed (e.g. silage, baled) as well as hail damaged crops.

When an adjuster is unable to get out to your farm and assess a yield prior to the work beginning, clients can leave representative inspections strips or exclosures and AFSC will determine the yield appraisals of the acres put to an alternate use from the representative sites.

  • For pasture: If your crop is being used as pasture, an adjuster will try to assess a yield as soon as possible before the livestock are turned in. If the field has not been inspected when you are ready to begin pasturing, contact your AFSC branch office to obtain approval to leave representative exclosures. AFSC will use the exclosures to assess a yield appraisal. Exclosures are representative sites that are fenced off. A minimum of two sites for fields up to 40 acres, with a minimum of one additional site for every additional 40 acres in the field is required.
  • For feed: If your crop is being put up for feed and an inspection has not been completed when you are ready to begin, contact your AFSC branch office to obtain approval to leave representative inspection strips. Adjusters will use the strips to assess a yield appraisal. Information on the number and size of strips is available, please see the Inspection Strips resource.

Important: It is your responsibility to maintain the crop within the exclosures or inspection strips until AFSC has completed their assessment. Leaving representative sites allows you to continue working and timely managing your crops.

Q: Can I leave representative strips and then leave them until the crop is ready to harvest?

An AFSC adjuster will try to come out to the farm as soon as possible to assess a yield based on the condition of the crop at the time the inspection is completed. Depending on weather conditions and potential claim volumes many of the fields with strips may be left until the crop is nearly ready to harvest.

Q: Why are assessed yields on pre-harvest inspections based on the yield measured and not adjusted for the yield would have been if it were combined in the fall?

Pre-harvest appraisals are based on the condition of the crop on the day the adjuster is there. AFSC bases appraisals on the day of inspection due to the difficulty determining what future losses may be as the crop could receive rain, it could get hail, or it could be hot and dry. Adjusters will discount any parts of plants that are not able to recover.

Q: If I put my crop to use as cattle feed, will I receive my insurance payment right away?

If you are putting all your acres of the insured crop up for cattle feed, AFSC will process your claim as quickly as possible. It is important that you contact AFSC as soon as the work is finished to help speed up the payment process.

For situations where only part of the insured crop is being put to an alternate use and the balance of the acres combined, payments won’t be processed until after harvest. We encourage clients to file their Harvested Production Reports (HPR) as soon as harvest is complete to help AFSC process the claim as quickly as possible.

Q: What is the process for abandoned acres?

If the value of your crop is less than the cost of harvesting, you may be considering abandoning the crop.

  • If you are planning to do something to the crop (e.g. spray out or plough down), contact your AFSC branch office to request a preharvest inspection and report your intention for the field(s).
  • If you are simply doing nothing with it, you can report the acres as abandoned on your Harvested Production Report (HPR). An adjuster will confirm the lack of the crop when they complete the post-harvest inspection.

Q: What is the process for filing a Harvested Production Report?

If you are combining part of the acres of the insured crop, it is important you file your HPR as soon as you are done harvest. AFSC will add the yield appraisal on the acres put to an alternate use to the combined production and grade. If the total production is less than your elected coverage, you are in a production shortfall and eligible for a post-harvest claim.

Q: Can I get an advance on my insurance benefits if I think I am in a loss position?

Yes, AFSC offers advances on production shortfalls to provide clients with partial payments ahead of an on-farm inspection. You will need to complete harvest and file your HPR to know if you are eligible for an advance payment. Full or partial payment is made from the information on your HPR therefore, it is important that this information be as accurate as possible.

Full-time Alberta producers with concerns about their water supply for domestic and livestock use can rent pipe and pumping equipment as by Agriculture and Forestry from the department to fill dugouts or other suitable catch basins from nearby water sources. For more information on the Alberta Agriculture Water Pump Program, please see the Water Pumping Program or call 1-780-422-5000.

If you have additional questions or need assistance, please use Live Chat on our website or AFSC Connect, call our Client Care Centre at 1-877-899-2372 or contact your  preferred branch office.