Agri Harvester Machine Harvesting Grain Combine Harvester Ripe Condition  002

With the UK recording its highest ever temperature (40.2C) on Tuesday and with many experiencing their hottest night’s sleep ever (25.8c), our farming community are facing their most challenging conditions as they prepare for this year’s harvest.

The one constant throughout a year of uncertainty is the demand for food production, and every year farmers face a frantic and frenzied period in the rush to harvest their crops in time, ready to stock up the shelves and feed a nation.

As we’ve learned from previous years though, the demands of harvest combined with this intense heat, can cause some challenging issues for our Farming communities from parched crops to trouble with their machinery

Fire risk to farmers

In Harvests previously, we saw some farmers trying to save vital time by leaving the chaff in their machines. This build-up of organic waste in a machine working often longer hours than usual, can get very hot and self-ignite.

Farmers lose money from lost crop processing due to these vehicles being out of use, but if the claim isn’t reported within 24 hours and the correct documentation provided, this can lead to a protracted claims process with some claims taking days or even weeks before they reach us. When time is money, it’s vital that insurers are made aware of the claim at the very earliest opportunity.

Consider that a John Deere X9 1100 has an approx value of £850,000 and it’s easy to see why this scenario can have a serious toll on farm finances. This is clearly a significant sum so reporting the claim and providing the right documentation as early as possible will put us in the best position to settle the claim and get these farmers back up and running within the best possible timescale

Another cause of Agri machinery fires is overheating, particularly if these trusted vehicles have been lying dormant for a while or not had the necessary checks before being put to work.

So, what are the lessons that we can share with our hero farmers to help prevent these machines going up in smoke this Summer?

The first is to follow the guidance of manufacturers to the letter when it comes to maintaining and cleaning vital machinery. This may seem like simple advice, but one that can be brushed aside particularly during busy periods. Ultimately, the benefits of clearing out the chaff daily as advised by the machine manufacturers is vital and will pay for itself in the long run.

We would also recommend regularly checking hydraulic hoses for signs of wear and tear. Hydraulic fluid is highly flammable and coming out of a split hose under pressure can be like a flame thrower.

Let’s get the message out there

Material damage to machinery is an unfortunate but inevitable aspect of farming life. Where there are preventative steps that farmers can take, it’s in all of our interests to keep pushing these messages out to market, particularly in the case of fires where a lack of evidence can slow down the claims process.

In other instances – such as where farmers are repairing machines themselves – we urge them to keep hold of the damaged parts and preserve the evidence trail. Ultimately, no one knows what the next few Summers will bring, but the general trend of severe weather seems to be increasing, which means we must up the ante when it comes to preserving delicate, high value machinery.

Find out more information about our agricultural motor insurance here

For any Agriculture enquiries, contact our team on 0345 600 2284 or

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