Australian farmers are all too familiar with the risks dry weather can bring, and with El Nino upon us, those risks have increased drastically.
Unfortunately, the dry, hot weather associated with El Nino weather patterns can increase the severity of bushfires. And the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20 reminded us of just how devastating bushfires can be for farmers.
So, what can farmers and primary producers do to help mitigate bushfire risks over summer?
ARGIS Farm Underwriting Manager, Peter Morsley shares a few simple yet important ways farmers and primary producers can get ready.
“We’ve seen that once fires are up and going, there’s limited opportunity to do much as the fires can move so quickly,” Mr Morsley says. “Prevention is always better than cure, so your best chance of defending your property starts now.”
“We’ve seen that once fires are up and going, there’s limited opportunity to do much as fires can move so quickly. Prevention is always better than cure, so your best chance of defending your property starts now, Mr Morsley said.”
Have an emergency plan
Mr Morsley says that while farm insurance can help replace assets, it can’t replace lives.
“The most important thing farmers can do is have a bushfire plan in place to ensure the safety of themselves and their family,” he says.
He suggests working with your family and employees on an action plan. It is also worth agreeing on a way to communicate or meet if your Wi-Fi and phone service are limited.
Keep grass short and land clear around buildings
Mr Morsley suggests keeping grass short and keeping areas around the home and farm buildings clear to maintain an uncluttered space.
“Trees and branches surrounding power lines should be trimmed and flammable materials should be stored away from high-value assets,” Mr Morsley says.
“Trees and branches surrounding power lines should be trimmed and flammable materials should be stored away from high-value assets, Mr Morsley says.”
Keep equipment ready and maintained
Farmers should also ensure that fire suppression equipment, such as fire extinguishers, are well maintained.
Farm machinery should also be well maintained to prevent the risk of sparking.
Using common sense around operating machinery on hot or windy days is important too, even if they’ve not been designated as total fire ban days.
Develop a plan for your livestock
If you have livestock, consider what you can do with them if bushfires strike your area, Mr Morsley says.
Perhaps if you have multiple properties or a large enough property, you may be able to move animals safely to avoid the threat of fire.
Know the right advice to follow
Make sure you have the details of your local fire brigade and local government authority on hand.
“I recommend farmers refer to information available online from their local rural fire authority for advice specific to their local area.”
Speak with your broker or adviser today
Reducing your insurance costs with rising costs can be tempting, but it’s a trap you should avoid.
It’s a more important time than ever to focus on the right protection. Speak with your broker or adviser today about your needs and whether you have the right cover.
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This general information does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. It is also not financial advice, nor complete, so please discuss the full details with your insurance broker or adviser as to whether these types of insurance are appropriate for you. Deductibles, exclusions and limits apply. These insurances are issued by various insurers and can differ.