Be prepared for snow

With weather forecasters already predicting another severe winter, we look at ways in which your farming business can prepare for the severe weather, and identify any risks:

Access to Livestock

  1. With remote areas at risk of being cut off by heavy snow fall or flooding, identify safer areas to locate stock in the event of a bad forecast.
  2. Prepare contingencies to clear snow with machinery or local equipment sharing.
  3. Ensure stocks of salt and grit are sufficient to keep vital access points clear.

Flooding sheep

Feed and Bedding

  1. Ensure you have adequate feed supplies in stock, or considered how you will maintain stocks during severe weather and possible transport disruption.
  2. Consider keeping feed stocks in strategic locations for outlying land.
  3. Keep sufficient stocks of bedding, with as much straw under cover.

Machinery and Power

  1. Keep all machinery servicing up to date, including feeding machinery.
  2. Make plans for a backup feeding system.
  3. Protect tractor fuel from frost or snow protection.
  4. Keep adequate stocks of fuel oil and heating oil – do you have sufficient storage capacity?
  5. Make plans for emergency fuel stocks if bad weather is forecast.
  6. Locate and service generators in preparation for emergencies.

Livestock Housing

  1. Identify alternative or additional housing options to house stock in severe weather.
  2. Identify buildings which may be vulnerable from heavy snow fall or storms – beware of roof collapse if deep snow falls on farm buildings.
  3. If clearing snow from buildings, beware of the danger of creating unequal loading of the roof structure and risks of collapse.
  4. Prevent water supplies from freezing.
  5. Plan arrangements for alternative water sources, such as water bowsers.


  1. Empty slurry stores in preparation for winter and ensure sufficient storage capacity is on the farm.
  2. Prevent all surface water or rainwater from entering slurry tanks or stores.

Plan Ahead

  1. Review your insurance and ensure adequate cover is in place for severe weather or storm damage.
  2. Plan with your neighbouring farmers – share snow clearing machinery or spare empty buildings.