Watch out for winter

Cattle in the snow. Picture  by Margaret Whittaker
Cattle in the snow. Picture by Margaret Whittaker

The CLA in the North is advising its farming and rural landowning members to winter-proof their businesses as freezing conditions set in.

The organisation, which represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural business in the region, has produced a 10-point guide to help members make their farm businesses more resilient.

CLA North director of policy and public affairs Douglas Chalmers said: “Even though we’re over half way through January, there is still a long way to go before we are out of the woods in terms of bad weather.

“Farmers and landowners with livestock and buildings – especially those in more isolated areas or away from main roads – should be looking at what threats severe weather brings.”

The CLA is advising members to consider the following points:

1. Identify vulnerable buildings in exposed areas and carry out maintenance work such as roof repairs to ensure they can withstand heavy gales or snowfall.

2. Winter-proof machines. Make sure tyres have sufficient tread, that there is plenty of fuel in the tanks and that they are topped up with antifreeze as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

3. Ensure all necessary access points can be kept open. Not just on to the road but also to stock buildings and where essential machinery is kept.

4. Identify locations where out-wintered stock will try to shelter in bad weather, and ensure they are safe. Consider if there is somewhere safer or more accessible to move them and put weather-proof stores of feed in appropriate places.

5. Ensure there are adequate livestock feed supplies if deliveries are affected, or stock has to be brought inside. This also applies to supplies of bedding.

6. Make a plan if existing water supplies are affected. If it includes the use of boswers, make sure they can get to outlying stock and they will be frost proofed.

7. Ensure that fuel tanks and stores are secure in extreme conditions. Consider emergency generators if necessary.

8. Make sure there is sufficient space in your slurry stores should bad weather prevent spreading.

9. Speak to your neighbours about joint contingency plans.

10. Check your insurance is up to date and adequate.