FARMERS SHOULD take stock of hay and straw stacks or risk their investment going up in smoke. Rupert Wailes-Fairbairn of rural insurance broker Lycetts is concerned that many farmers are unaware that farm insurance policies stipulate stack and distance limits for haystacks and so he is calling on farmers to check their policy for any restrictions.

Mr Wailes-Fairbairn has warned that if stack limits are contravened, such as being too close together, too high or undervalued, farmers face significant shortfalls in the event of loss, such as accidental fire or arson.

“With prices varying so much, it is important that farmers take stock and determine the value of each year’s yield to ensure that they are sufficiently covered in the event of a claim.” said Mr Wailes-Fairbairn. “It is also imperative that farmers find out if there is a haystack limit defined by value rather than volume.  If, for example, a stack with £60,000 worth of hay catches fire, there is a strong chance it exceeds the limit.  Often there are distance limits written into policies too, which is usually 20 metres, but this can vary.”

“Stack and distance limits don’t just apply to haystacks. Potato growing businesses often stack boxes adjacent to farm buildings as stores empty. However, many farmers are unaware of the required distance between a shed and the empty boxes to keep their policy valid. The best way to comply with the terms of a policy is to split stacks and keep them in different locations, but checking the policy wording should be the first port of call.”

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