CLA South East is advising farmers and rural communities to “winter proof” their businesses as snow and ice arrive across the region.

The organisation, which represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses in Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight, has issued some basic advice to those living and working in the countryside.

Tips include making sure vehicle and machinery tyres have sufficient tread, work with neighbours, and ensure there are adequate livestock feed supplies if deliveries are affected.

Regional director Robin Edwards said: “Some parts of the region will be affected more than others, but none of us can afford to be complacent, especially with current warnings of snow and ice.

“Farmers and landowners with livestock and buildings, especially those in more isolated areas or away from main roads, should be prepared for what severe weather could bring.”

The CLA’s advice includes:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Make a plan if existing water supplies are affected. If it includes the use of bowsers, make sure they can get to outlying stock and they will be frost proofed.
  • Ensure that fuel tanks and stores are secure in extreme conditions. Consider emergency generators if necessary.
  • Speak to your neighbours about joint contingency plans.
  • Check your insurance is up to date and adequate.