On-Farm Resilience

What are the factors that will impact your business in the coming years and decades and can they be mitigated?

The climate is changing and with that will come changes to temperatures, sea levels and rainfall. This will impact everything from building materials to road design.

For example future new-build farm tracks may have to be raised higher from the ground than at present to counter increased rainfall and possible flash floods, with engineering improvements such as drainage channels alongside each track to accommodate storm run-off.

Greater consideration should be given to flooding and water management – for example willow coppices absorb large amounts of water and could be worth growing in wetter areas – they can use so much water that neighbouring fields also avoid reaching saturation.

We could see changes to our climate which mean both wetter winters and hotter summers, which will pose further problems for farmers meaning soil structure especially will need to be sufficiently robust to cope with climate fluctuations.

See the Soil section for more details and East Hendred case study for a practical approach to soil improvement.

Power supply problems and blackouts are forecast to become a real problem within the next 5 years in the UK. This creates considerations for businesses with machinery and processing operations.

To counter supply problems, does your farm have some form of on-site energy generation, such as solar panels, in the event of power cuts (which Ofgem predict under current scenarios by 2016-2017). Government incentives for electricity (FiTs) and heat (RHI) offer added bonuses to generate your own power.

See the Energy Generation section for more detail.

Key resilience planning considerations

The key to farm resilience planning is to assess the impact that the climate change predictions and extreme weather scenarios have on the farm enterprises in their current management, which will help to highlight the level of vulnerability for that farm.