Why does my telescopic handler require an inspection and what’s involved?

TelehandlerIn line with HSE regulations that came into force on 5 December 1998 and applicable to all agricultural and plant industrial equipment, your telescopic handler should be tested to conform to the requirements of both Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER).

Agricultural lifting equipment includes tractor front-loaders, fork lift trucks, telehandlers and all associated lifting attachments and accessories, such as workshop hoists and cranes attached to lorries or fertiliser spreaders. In fact the only lifting implement exemption is a 3-point linkage on a tractor.

Therefore, at a relatively low cost, the inspection is an MOT and health check for your lifting machinery providing peace of mind from possible prosecution and a duty of care for your own personal safety and that of your employees.

Written by: Keith Short, Farmer & Mercantile

Power Harrow Drill

Are Your Implements Comprehensively Insured?

Power Harrow DrillThe cost and complexity of farm machinery has increased dramatically over the last decade. Many items such as large drills, trailed sprayers, big square balers, trailed potato harvesters and many other items cost well in excess of £50,000 new. Most farmers won’t hesitate to ring their broker in order to insure a new tractor or combine, but will often forget to enquire what insurance cover they have for a new, expensive implement.

Implements are automatically insured as part of your tractor insurance policy with most comprehensive tractor policies BUT there are a number of limitations to the cover dependent upon your tractor insurers. The main points to be aware of are as follows:-

  1. Cover on the implement generally follows that of the tractor pulling the implement, so if the tractor is comprehensively insured a good tractor policy will give comprehensive cover on the implement.
  2. Most insurers will have a limit on comprehensive policies for the value of the implement. This will vary depending on the insurer: it can be as low as £5,000 or as high as £50,000. Find out what your insurer’s limit is and if you need more cover you will need to specify the implement. A good tractor policy will provide comprehensive cover for the implement both whilst attached to and detached from the tractor.
  3. Depending on the insurer, certain items such as horse trailers, Ifor Williams trailers and fuel bowsers may need specifying.
  4. Accidental damage to implements is generally covered on a comprehensive policy – this means that damage caused by ingress of a foreign object into a machine is covered. For instance, a lump of concrete damaging a mower bed would be covered.
  5. If you only have third party, fire and theft insurance on the tractor towing the implement, cover for the implement will be third party only. So no cover for fire, theft or accidental damage.

As a general rule it is worthwhile paying the small extra premium for having comprehensive cover on your tractor policy to ensure that implements are comprehensively covered but ensure you discuss with your broker the cover required on higher value implements.

Written by: Nigel Wellings, Farmers & Mercantile

Pheasant Shoot


With the shooting season fast approaching I thought this would be a very appropriate topic!

A driven shoot will normally have between 8-10 Guns (some with dogs), together with beaters/picking up team, a Shoot Captain and a Gamekeeper.

A peg number for each of the day’s drives will be allocated to the Guns.  On some shoots the number allocated will be for the first drive and the Guns will then automatically move to the next peg for the second drive, i.e. those allocated number 1 will go to peg 1 on the first drive and peg 2 on the second drive, and so on.   The shoot will have a number of drives some larger than others.

Pheasant ShootBest Practice Shoot Management

The Shoot Managers will have overall responsibility for ensuring that their shoot, their employees and Guns all meet the standards as set out in the following code:-

  • Shoot Managers should always conduct a health and safety briefing with the Guns at the start of the day’s shoot.
  • Shoot Managers must ensure that they comply with all relevant legal requirements.
  • Shoot Managers should prepare a complete shoot management plan to ensure that their activities result in a positive environmental benefit and avoid excessive frequency of shooting over the same drives.
  • Shoot Managers must endeavour to deliver a measurable improvement to the overall habitat and wildlife on their shoots and should avoid releasing birds into sensitive habitats or locations.
  • Shoot Managers should be aware of SSSIs and other sensitive habitats on the land used by the shoot and should liaise with the landowner and the relevant statutory authorities to ensure that potentially damaging activities are avoided.
  • Wild grey partridges should only be shot where they are actively conserved and where Autumn stocks are above 20 birds per 100 hectares.
  • Shoot Managers must ensure that Guns comply with the relevant regulations restricting the use of lead shot.
  • Shoot Managers must ensure that suitable public liability insurance is in place.

Shooting Dates

CootSept 1st – Jan 31st
MoorhenSept 1st – Jan 31st
Common SnipeAug 12th – Jan 31st
Red GrouseAug 12th – Dec 10th
DuckSep 1st – Jan 31st
GooseSep 1st – Jan 31st
Grey PartridgeSep 1st – Feb 1st
Golden PloverSep 1st – Jan 31st
PheasantOct 1st – Feb 1st

What type of Shoot

There are two different types of shoots: a family-run shoot by invitation only and not for profit; a commercial shoot for which days or pegs are sold.

Family Shoot/Non Profit Shoot

The shoot run by my family comprises 9 days’ shooting with around 10 Guns per shoot and includes a team of beaters, some of whom have been beating for us for over 20 years and therefore know the lay of the land extremely well.   We meet in our Shoot Room at 0830 and my brother begins by going through all of the health and safety checks, ensures that all Guns have a shotgun licence and allocates the peg numbers.    Our Gamekeeper informs the beaters as to the route they will be taking and by 0900 everyone is ready for the off.

Your insurance adviser will require the following information in order to ensure that you are fully covered under your liability section:

  • Number of shoot days
  • Number of Guns
  • Beaters’ wages and number of beaters
  • Shoot trailer information
Commercial Shoots

On a commercial shoot, attendees will often be required to sign a disclaimer confirming that the shoot organiser has taken them through the health and safety checks, safe shooting guides, ensuring that all Guns comply with legal requirements (e.g. have a shotgun licence), and public liability insurance is in place.   Commercial shoots are generally sold on bird numbers, e.g. 500-bird day, and you would expect Yorkshire shoots to have higher bird numbers than those in Norfolk.

Your insurance adviser will require the following information in order to ensure that you are fully covered under your liability section:

  • Number of shoot days
  • Number of Guns
  • Beaters’ wages and number of beaters
  • Shoot trailer information

Shoot Trailer Insurance

My family’s shoot has a shoot trailer for transporting the beaters and dogs.   It is a converted trailer with seating down both sides and a door at the rear.   In order to insure a shoot trailer most motor insurers will need to know its construction, seating type (bales or fitted seats), how many people it holds, how many times it is used and whether it is for a private or commercial shoot.    This is because over the last few years there have been several incidents involving shoot trailers resulting in large personal injury claims from some of the trailer passengers.

Shoot and Shooting Syndicate Insurance

Farmers & Mercantile offer a bespoke stand-alone policy to cover commercial shoots and syndicates.   We can provide insurance cover for all of your requirements – employer’s liability, public liability and property damage.   Cover may be extended to include member to member liability insurance, buildings, contents, tools, equipment, stock and other property used in association with your business.

Shoot Cancellation Insurance

We recommend a bespoke policy which covers grouse, pheasant and partridge shoots for the season.  It has a sliding scale of benefits depending on the time at which the decision is taken to cancel and whether any shooting at all was possible.   The cover in brief is as follows:-

  • the cancellation of a shoot following adverse weather
  • inability to attend due to travel conditions
  • the death of a close relative
  • the shoot being cancelled following the insolvency or other financial failure of the estate where the event was due to take place
  • your injury or illness that prevents you from travelling to, or participating in the shoot
  • your required attendance for jury service
  • irrecoverable pre-booked travel costs by air or rail
  • irrecoverable pre-booked hotel accommodation costs up to £300 per person per night
  • additional costs and expenses incurred in mitigating your loss

Liability Insurance for Guns

Membership of BASC and Countryside Alliance offers public liability for shooting as standard within their memberships.


Written by: Georgie Spencer, Farmers & Mercantile

Cereals 2014

Cereals 2014 – 2 dry days

I can’t remember the last time that we had 2 dry days at a show (and for set-up!).

We had an unprecedented number of clients visit the stand from our Shropshire branch due to their land being wet during show time. It was nice to meet some new faces as well as have a chat with our valued clients.

As always it’s wonderful when people travel so far to the big shows, and our Scottish clients were particularly gracious about our hospitality. We chatted with many clients who sang the praises of our offices in Scotland, Yorkshire and Northamptonshire.


Cereals 2014

Yorkshire Farmers & Mercantile Office

Internal Account Handler Vacancy – North Yorkshire

F&M Group, The Old Smithy, Heaton House, BOROUGHBRIDGE, North Yorkshire. Y051 9HE 01423 326363

Selection process to be based on candidates that;

  • Are looking for Full time hours 8:30am -5:30pm.
  • Have experience in a broad spectrum of classes of business which must include farm and motor insurance.
  • Experience within the insurance sector – suitable candidates most likely will have a broking background.
  • Provide a high level of administrative skills.
  • Possess a clear and confident telephone manner.Links to agriculture are beneficial. Initial training (length of time dependent on experience) will be conducted at our head office in Northamptonshire; this requires that some weeknights are spent away; the company covers the expense in these instances.

Farmer Dog GRAPHIC (2)Position: Internal Account Handler

Department: Underwriting

Reporting to: Office manager, Branch Manager

Location: Boroughbridge, North Yorks

Start date: May/June 2014

Main purpose of job
  • Point of contact for clients
  • Customer service
  • Insurance documentation delivery as per clients demands and needs
  • Full support to account executive
  • Liaise with Insurers
  • Liaise with colleagues
  • Provide high quality advice to clients
  • Process and underwrite renewals and MTAs
  • Be a team player contributing to other office duties
  • Work to a high standard with attention to accuracy and detail.

Farmers & Mercantile Insurance Brokers Ltd was established in 1996 and has a proven record for success. We are part of the Lycetts Group employing approx 250 staff looking after premium income circa £100 million.

Our company has experienced steady growth over the last 18 years; therefore we are well practiced at managing a sustainable pace of expansion.

The day-to-day life of a Farmers & Mercantile employee is busy; we look after clients throughout England, Scotland and Wales from our 4 branches in Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Yorkshire and Ayrshire. Customer service is paramount; we make sure that our clients are provided with excellent service – relationships must be strong.

If you are interested in applying for this position please send a CV along with a covering letter to: Mrs A Wellings, F&M Group Head Office, Thistledown Barn, 204 Holcot Lane, Sywell, Northamptonshire. NN6 0BG. Alternatively, applications will be accepted via email to

Should you require more information please telephone 01604 782782 asking to speak to Alexandra Wellings or 01423 326363 asking to speak to Tony Allanson, Branch Manager.

Ayr View

Worcester Team Chase

F&M Sponsors Worcestershire Team ChaseCaroline Startin attended The Worcester Team Chase held on the 23rd March 2014.

Caroline said

We had a really good day – the usual thrills and spills you would expect when horses are jumping a cross country course, but no major dramas, thank goodness.

Entries were a record at approaching 100 teams and the weather was fairly kind, apart from a storm just as the first team were about to set off – and another just as the main class of the day, The Open was setting off.

The Worcestershire Awesome Foursome, our local team, were one of the two teams that qualified for the National Championships to be held in April at the Heythrop Team Chase.

Farmers & Mercantile sponsor THE WORCESTERSHIRE HUNT TEAM CHASE, held at Abbeylands, Berry Lane, Upton Warren, Bromsgrove, Worcs (By kind permission of the Shaw Family)

Caroline works in the Ludlow branch of F&M.

Horsch Pronto DC

Spring Barley – Royston, Herts

Out and about in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire today (Friday 14 March) it was interesting to see that a lot of the lighter land has started to dry out well and indeed drilling of Spring cereals had commenced. I did note however that there was still plenty of water lying on heavier land.

It was interesting to talk to the client in the photographs who had just had a new Horsch Pronto Disc Drill delivered and was sowing Spring Barley along with applying fertiliser down the drill at the same time.

The client was impressed with the drill’s performance and had been drilling fertiliser into the seed bed for a number of years which he strongly felt aided rapid emergence.

Soils in this field had been mapped and the client was looking to increase seed rates on the chalkier areas.

This is the first time I have seen a cloud of dust behind a machine for a little while.


Spring Drilling - Horsch Pronto DCHorsch Pronto DC

Spring barley being drilled at Barley, nr Royston, Hertfordshire. The drill is a new Horsch Pronto DC which is also applying granular fertiliser.

Farmers & Mercantile – always on the move, keeping an eye on our farmland.
Photo taken by: Nigel Wellings


Environmental pollution fines are on the increase for farmers

Watercourse Pollution

The Polluter Pays. Negligent or not, you will be held responsible for damage to the environment.

After a 2 year prosecution the courts found 2 farmers in Madeley, Staffordshire guilty for allowing effluent to leak into a nearby pool. The pollution travelled more than 3 miles from their farm downriver and killed 3000 fish, consequently enraging locals.

The farmers were ordered to pay £20,198 (a fine of £10,000 and costs of £10,198).

The Environment Agency also presented the farmers with another bill for just under £15,000. The farmers had environmental insurance in place and so were insured for the environment clean-up costs.

The cause of the environmental damage was traced back to a contractor’s inability to attend and empty a silage tank on June 4th 2012. However, it appears that the farmers took insufficient steps to address the issue as a subsequent EA inspection in December 2012 found that, despite some improvements, effluent was still flowing onto a field.

Andrew Jobson, the Environment Agency’s investigating officer said: “This result is a message to those who could be putting the environment at risk through their farming activities, that we will investigate, and where appropriate prosecute those responsible.”

The law states that The Polluter Pays. Negligent or not, you will be held responsible for damage to the environment.