By WA Risk Specialist Steve Field.
The first week in June saw our first proper cold fronts hitting Western Australia. While for the great majority it brought some needed rainfall to start the season it was also a sharp reminder of what comes with the rain. Strong winds were experienced across the state with each of the three fronts that hit. Wind speeds of well over 100km/hr were recorded.
Damage was sustained to houses and other farm buildings. The cold and windy conditions are a timely reminder for farmers to plan ahead by reducing on-farm risks.
- Cast your eye over the buildings on farm and keep up the required maintenance. Just because it’s not the newest shed does not mean it is not important enough to deserve some basic maintenance and refurbishment.
- Replace old nails in the roof and walls of old sheds with tech screws.
- Fix and secure loose sheets of tin on shed roofs and walls. One loose sheet could take the whole lot like peeling open a can.
- Make sure loose lightweight materials which are stored outside are weighed down. The most common and deadly projectile caused by a wind storm are sharp edged sheets of tin.
- Silos should be securely fastened down to their concrete footing using quality dyna bolts and overlocking fasteners. If the silo is not locked down, don’t delay but do it today. A well-aimed wind squall will still cause damage to the roof of a well tied down silo.
- Windmills can be at risk but you can minimise the damage by making sure the footings are strong and the weakest point is the fan blades. It’s lot quicker and easier to replace the fan than the whole tower and windmill head.
- Get freshly shorn sheep into paddocks with some protection. A long wet, cold wind night on sheep with no wool cover often leads to hypothermia.
- Finally, take notice of the advice warnings that are published by the Bureau of Meteorology. Knowing the risk is coming is often the best preparation.
Fingers crossed we still have plenty of winter cold fronts to come and that rain is widespread without the winds.
At Achmea, we’re proud to be different from every other farm insurer in the country. We believe not every risk needs to be covered by insurance. For more than two centuries, our unique approach has been to work together to keep farmers farming. Protecting livelihoods through proactive risk mitigation is at the heart of our approach.