Make sure you’re covered on the ‘long acre’

Grazing “the long acre”, or grass on the road margins, has often provided a treat for hungry livestock.

Grazing “the long acre”, or grass on the road margins, has often provided a treat for hungry livestock.

Of course, some cattle are not content with grazing “the long acre”, preferring instead take a bite and leave a mark on a neighbour’s lovely garden. Lawns recently reseeded at considerable expense seem particularly attractive to wandering cattle and sheep!

Wandering bulls can also test neighbourly relations by initiating illicit encounters with female bovines, often of an inappropriate age.

However, given the speed and frequency of modern traffic, livestock on the road are a serious safety hazard and annually cause a number of serious accidents. At FBD, we find that a significant proportion of Public Liability claims are related to road incidents after the escape of livestock.

This year the concern is heightened because of weather conditions:

• The shortage of grass can lead to a higher risk of cattle breaking out.

• Livestock may be moved on the road more than normal this summer as farmers manage their grass supply.

• Silage or grain harvesting can leave muck on the road and so cause motor accidents with consequent liability on the farmer.

Farmers need to have Public Liability insurance to cover them in the event of accidents caused by any of the above.

Public liability insurance is also a requirement for farm owners as they can be responsible for land related causes of accidents - for example, rotten trees that fall onto the road causing damage during storms, or substances carried onto the road from the farm such as muck or slurry.

.”Public liability insurance provides cover for legal liability for bodily injury, disease or third party property damage caused to a member of the public by your farming activities or land ownership,” according to Bill Meaney of FBD Tullamore. “FBD offer a limit of indemnity of €2.6million as standard”.

Farmers should minimise the risk of problems by carrying out stock movement in a safe manner, maintain stockproof fencing, ensure livestock have sufficient water and grass and always clean the road after heavy farming traffic.

To deal with the accidents that can arise, make that you have Public Liability insurance in place. Your local FBD office will be happy to assist you so that, when your neighbour comes calling after an incident, you have the correct insurance protection in place.

After all, good fences - plus proper insurance cover - make for good neighbours!