We’ve all seen the headlines: the UK to face the coldest winter in 100 years. Whether or not this is true, if you run a farm, you need to be prepared for every eventuality: whether that’s snow, howling winds, or even floods. Here, security fencing experts at First Fence share their tips on how you can keep your farm safe and secure this winter.
Get your machinery checked
Before the cold weather truly strikes, bring in a professional to check that all of your farming equipment – including any tractors and trucks – are running as they should. After all, the last thing you want is them breaking down, unable to be repaired before the busy spring season.
If you have any equipment such as snow plows or blowers, then make sure you get them inspected too, so they don’t break down when you need them the most. Where possible, store all of your equipment indoors to protect them from the weather.
We’d also recommend investing in a portable generator, so that should a power outage occur, you can still carry out your farming duties.
Always have a Plan B in place
It’s pretty common for your water supply to freeze over when the temperature drops; but if you don’t have a plan in place, then it can be very damaging for both your crops and your animals.
Purchasing a water pump or other insulating products can help to keep your water flowing through the frost, but you shouldn’t rely on that alone. You always need to have a Plan B up your sleeve, should the worst-case scenario happen.
If you live near any neighbouring farms, then why not speak to them beforehand to see if there is any way you can help each other out over the next few months?
Clear your access points
Sure, we don’t tend to suffer from extreme winter weather in the UK, yet the country always seems to hit a standstill when the first snowflakes fall!
If you know it’s going to be a cold night, then grit all paths and access points to your farm – including areas where build-up of ice is probable, such as outside barns and other animal shelters. Ice can be very dangerous for animals, and especially horses, whose cupped hooves can cause them to easily trip and fall.
If it does snow, then clear paths first thing in the morning, to prevent any build-up from stopping you leaving your farm. You should also regularly check your fences and gates, as strong winds can easily knock them down or break them. If they do need to be repaired, then get them fixed sooner rather than later, so the weather doesn’t make them any worse.
Provide proper shelter for animals
While most animals can handle mild winter weather, when the temperature drops and it starts to rain, you need to make sure they can take refuge somewhere warm and dry.
A roofed shelter that protects them from the winds will be fine. It’s also a good idea to stock up on extra food and water, as animals need to eat and drink more during the colder months, due to the drier air.
If you herd your animals outside during the day, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get them back indoors safely, before it starts getting dark.
Protect yourself from the elements
While cold weather can make your animals and crops suffer, it can also make you ill if you’re not prepared! When you head out to perform your farming duties, make sure you’re wearing several layers, including thermal underwear, wool socks, gloves, insulated bib overalls, a hat, and a winter coat.
Where possible, try to limit any outdoor work to the warmest hours of the day, and make sure you take regular breaks. Bring a thermal mug with you, so you can enjoy a hot drink when you need to.
You should also always let someone know when you’re heading out, including where you’re going and when you’ll be back. It may sound cliché, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Bitter winds, rain, and snow can bring about all kinds of issues when you’re managing and working on a farm; but a bit of preparation can make the winter months much more bearable.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to continue to run your farm so smoothly, it’ll feel like spring in no time.
Article compliments of First Fence