Farmers stock damaging fence.

Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby tarren » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:59 am

My sister's garden bounds a farmers field in which he grazes his cattle. Unfortunately on a regular basis they lean over her fence to munch her plants, damaging the fence in the process. This has happened on a couple of other occasions and she has asked my help in determining who is responsable for keeping the stock from causing the damage. She has paid to have it repaired on at least two occasions, he refuses even to consider he is responsable in any way.
I have searched but cannot locate any posts specific enough to help, so if I could have your opinions or pointed at any relevent posts I would be very grateful, or any law that might exist to clarify the situation.
Thank You.
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby stufe35 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:04 am

England , Scotland or other ?
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby tarren » Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:37 am

stufe35, Wales.
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby stufe35 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:49 am

What does the current boundary feature / fence consist of ?
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby mr sheen » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:38 pm

In theory the farmer is responsible for damages caused by his livestock.
Having got the theory out of the way, let's move on to reality.
You could consider making a claim in small claims court against the farmer but the burden of proof is yours to prove the damages ie PROOF the stock caused the specific damage, proof of the actual monetary losses ie receipts etc, photos of the plants before and after specific events etc etc.
the court may also find that you were also negligent in not securing your own property effectively and the percentage of this contributory negligence could be anything between 0-100% since in a rural area it is pretty likely that a field adjoining your land will house livestock.

So I personally would right off losses to date and put up a strong high fence to protect my property and keep all receipts and lots of photos and videos so that any future damages are easy to prove.

Farmers are trying to make a living in a very difficult industry and difficult environment and are often protected by the NFU or FUW who will fight legal cases for them, so if you choose to live in a rural environment side by side with the farming industry, it is useful to ensure that your property is protected since they are usually very reluctant to dip in their pockets without a heck of a fight....it is also useful if you have a rural attitude, understand the rural economy and take a pragmatic approach in relation to the needs of those involved in the rural economy.
Last edited by mr sheen on Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby Collaborate » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:40 pm

Small claims court is ideal for situations such as these.
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby dantheaxeman » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:09 pm

My initial advice would be to grow a holly hedge.
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby mr sheen » Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:12 pm

Yep...that's a good option Dan
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby stufe35 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:23 pm

Oh Mr Sheen poor farmers I will have to be careful my floods of tears don’t stain the leather seats in their Range Rovers or make their SFP cheques unreadable. …..however I largely speaking agree with you….
My selection of thoughts/observations follow..Tarren -only you and your sister can decide the most appropriate course of action:

Is the existing fence his or your sisters (out of interest as it does effect things)?

As far as I know the rule is quite simple. The owner of animals is responsible for keeping them under control. He should fence to keep them off your property. He will know his responsibilities (farmers do) he is just blagging you at present.

Next time the fence is damaged you could just ring him and tell him his cattle are close to escaping and he needs to attend to the situation. (cue a row of rusty old corrugated sheets as your sisters new view)

So now reality…lock horns with a farmer and you are almost certainly destined to loose in some way…..does your sister fancy a pile of round bales at the bottom of her garden blocking her view, stinking and attracting vermin…or a row of rusty silage trailers parked up for the winter, or a manure heap ?

So you need to tread carefully unfortunately. I believe the answer is a practical one rather than a legal one.

Often for cattle if the boundary feature is not suitable to fully restrain cattle farmers will put a single strand of barbed wire about 1 metre back from the boundary feature at about waist height. This is cheap and simple and keeps cattle back far enough so they cant reach over the boundary feature and don't rub against it. They still eat the grass up to the boundary because they can put their heads under it……this is the normal and most ideal solution and is really in my opinion what he should do. Getting him to do it especially as you’ve already had words is the issue.

You could ask him to do this or if he would mind you doing this to keep his stock off your sisters fence (as it will be in his land). Alternatively to stop them reaching over, extend what im assuming is your sisters fence upwards, or run a strand of barbed wire across the top…downside this is unsightly.
If cattle can reach over a fence to get at something tasty they will soon destroy whatever that fence is with their sheer weight and size. Stopping them reaching over (or being able to see anything that looks tasty) is the key.

You have a choice…a drawn out fewd which will blight your sisters life for years to come..an expensive court battle (which if your sister wins (or loses) will only be the beginning of true misery)…or half a dozen or so fence posts at £2.50 each and about £3.00 worth of barbed wire and a couple of hours work. (obviously depending on length of fence which is an unknown)

A farmer is far better as a friend than an enemy.

My choice would be a hawthorn hedge rather than holly…faster growing and after a few years can be laid to form an almost impenetrable barrier. Ideal time for planting come November.
Last edited by stufe35 on Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby dantheaxeman » Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:57 pm

I suspect part of the problem is that the sister enjoys the view over the countryside. There are a number of things the farmer could do to ruin this for her, so its probably best to come up with a solution under her own terms than force a solution from the farmer that she may not like.

Thanks, Dan
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby Clifford Pope » Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:26 pm

Mr Sheen speaks nothing more than the pragmatic truth. Farmers are a law unto themselves. If you chose to live in the countryside, just accept that, live with it, and take your own defensive measures against livestock etc.
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:34 pm

Hi tarren,

I suspect part of the problem is that the sister enjoys the view over the countryside.

me too.

what sort of fence are we talking about?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby tarren » Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:02 pm

My goodness, all I asked was, are farmers liable to contain their stock. Anyway, back at the range, he's accepted responsability and is going to rectify the problem.

Thanks to all constructive posters, much appreciate your replies.
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:57 pm

Hi tarren,

glad it's been sorted.

all I asked was, are farmers liable to contain their stock.

check back - I don't think you did...

All the best, Mac
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Re: Farmers stock damaging fence.

Postby stufe35 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:11 pm

stufe35 wrote:He will know his responsibilities (farmers do) he is just blagging you at present.



tarren wrote: Anyway, back at the range, he's accepted responsability and is going to rectify the problem.


It was a lucky guess
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