Are you ready for winter?

Are you ready for winter?

by Dave Bates, Business Development Manager, FUW Insurance Services Ltd

Preparing your farm for the winter season

Now that the nights are drawing in and the winter months are fast approaching, it’s time for farmers up and down Wales and the rest of the UK to get ready for the harsher months ahead. With unpredictable weather conditions on the way, we take a look at what steps you can take to prepare against most eventualities.

Keep your water moving

Every farm needs a reliable supply of water, particularly if you home livestock and equine. Yet, when the weather drops below 0 degrees, your pipes are at risk of freezing and blocking that supply. To prevent this, consider fitting insulating products or using a water pump to keep water moving. Thawing a frozen pipe can be a lot more time consuming and costly, than taking these preventative steps in advance.

In the event of escape of water in areas that are less frequently used over the winter months, ensure you know where each of your stop valves are located.

If you are faced with an emergency, it helps to have the number of a reliable plumber on hand and ensure you have a contingency plan in place. Do you have a neighbouring farm that can help if your supply runs dry? You may be able to agree to help each other in advance. 

Service your machinery and vehicles

Many insurers notice a significant risk in insurance claims in spring, due to damage caused by poorly maintained farm machinery over winter. This can stem from lack of servicing and cleaning vehicles, resulting in fires, weather damage and more.

That’s why it’s important to fully service your vehicles and machinery before the winter season begins and ensure they are properly stored to avoid weather damage. If you have any tools or machinery that will not be used over this period, ensure they are properly and safely locked away to not only keep them dry, but also to keep them protected against opportunistic thieves and vandals.

Assess your outbuildings

It’s also a good idea to check the condition of your outbuildings and whether they are still fit to withstand harsher weather conditions. Having secure shelter in place will ensure that your livestock and equipment stay protected over these colder months.

Consider areas like your roofing and the stability of the interiors, as well as the types of locks and security measures you will be using to protect them. If you’re not already part of a community watch scheme, now could be the time to get involved to help keep criminals at bay. 

Stock up on food and bedding

During winter, farmers will need to provide more food for livestock as there will be less quality grass for them to graze on and they will likely be spending more time indoors under shelter. Ensure that your livestock have sufficient food over the winter months and plan for times where food and water provisions aren’t immediately available.

You will need to check that these are kept in a safe place, away from the elements and somewhere that is immediately accessible whatever the weather.

Get your insurance in order

It’s important to ensure that when you’re operating in a period of heightened risk, your current Farm Insurance is still up to date. If you have made any changes to your operation over 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis or otherwise, you may well be due a review.

To speak to a member of the team about your Farm Insurance and whether it’s still up to the job, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today. Contact your local Farmers’ Union of Wales Account Executive on the numbers below or call 0344 800 3110 or visit www.fuwinsurance.co.uk