ABC Sheds Blog

Farm security and trespassers – protecting your farm machinery


For many farmers, farm security and the risk of theft are unwanted problems that are all too common. Most machinery items found on the farm are expensive so if stolen or damaged, can result in big financial losses. And that’s not just the losses counted from the stolen machinery, but potential losses in productivity and disruption to daily work that can arise from theft as well.

So what can be done to protect your farm and machinery from potential theft? While there are a few things that you can do yourself to ensure that your equipment is as safe and protected as possible, the New South Wales government has also passed the ‘Right to Farm Bill’. This provides NSW farmers with extra protection from illegal trespassers.

We’ve covered the basics of this new bill plus some simple things that you can do around the farm to ensure your machinery is protected. Find out more in the article below.

Right to Farm Bill

Illegal trespassing on NSW farms has been a long-standing problem faced by many farmers. As a way to mitigate this issue, the NSW government passed the ‘Right to Farm Bill’ in November 2019. This new bill aims to provide relief for farmers who’ve battled with illegal trespassers, theft and damage to property for years. Key points from the new bill include the increased penalties like higher fines and jail terms for people that commit farming offences under the new bill.

These penalties include:

  • Increased penalty for aggravated trespass from a maximum of $5,500 to $13,200, including a new 12-month imprisonment (or 3-years if committed in company).
  • Increased penalty for the aggravating trespass which causes a serious safety risk by introducing a 3 year maximum imprisonment term.

Trespass offences that the new bill recognises include:

  • Aggravating offence by damaging property in the process of the unlawful entry and wilfully or negligently releasing stock in the process of the unlawful entry.
  • Inciting, directing, counselling, inducing or procuring the commission of the offence of aggravated unlawful entry on enclosed lands by another person ($11,000 and/or a 12-month imprisonment).

While this bill is still relatively new it is being recognised and enforced by local authorities with people already charged for offences under the new bill.

Keeping your farm machinery safe

While the ‘Right to Farm Bill’ makes sure that people who commit farming offences can be held accountable, there are some things that you can do to avoid theft of your farm machinery before it happens. Research shows that farm crime in NSW is big business with 12% of crime reported being solely theft of farm machinery. Many farmers believe that a remote location and distance from public roads protect their assets from view, but this complacency also makes some farms an easy target for opportunistic thieves.

From basic protective measures, such as locking sheds and gates and GPS tracking, here are some things that can be done to increase the security of your machinery.

Basic security measures

There are some basic security measures that you can take, to prevent theft on your farm. Crime Stoppers recommends the following actions as good first steps in preventing theft. These include:

  • Knowing where your machinery is located on the farm at all times.
  • Don’t leave keys in machinery, and ensure you secure any vehicle cabs.
  • If machinery does break down, don’t leave it in a paddock. Move the machinery to a secure location like a shed.
  • If securing your vehicle or equipment is not possible, consider immobilising the machinery by removing the distributor cap or battery.
  • Machines that are rarely used or stored outside in remote areas should also be immobilised.
  • Use a chain to secure large machinery to each other or to a strong anchor point such as a tree.

Along with following these simple measures, there are also more proactive steps that you can take to ensure farm machinery safety.

Lockable gates

One of the most simple ways that you can deter thieves or trespassers from entering your farm and taking or damaging machinery, is by installing locked gates. Not only are locked gates a good way to keep not only your farm machinery and livestock secure, but they’re also a good deterrent to discourage any potential trespassers from entering your property.

Using weather-resistant padlocks that can’t easily be broken or removed with bolt cutters should do the trick. It’s also essential to consider the hinges that the gates sit on – it’s important that these can’t be easily removed, therefore making the use of padlocked gates redundant.

Lockable sheds

Most farmers will store their valuable machinery and farm equipment in a farm shed. A secure farm machinery shed that can be locked will make it that much harder for trespassers to access your farm machinery.

Farm sheds can be built with rolling or sliding doors to accommodate a padlock. For bigger sheds that may be accessed more frequently, and that also include something like a workshop, you may want to consider building in a lockable door. This will make coming and going easier, and also means that you won’t have to open a big shed door, every time you need to access something inside the shed.

A personal access door is also an important addition to any farm shed that has sliding doors, so that you can leave your shed. Farm sheds with sliding doors will generally lock on the inside for extra security so including a personal access door will ensure that you can easily venture in and out of your shed at any time.

ABC Sheds farm machinery shed with sliding doorsThis farm machinery shed from ABC Sheds features lockable sliding doors for extra security.

GPS tracking

With GPS tracking, it’s now easy to tell where your farm machinery is, should it be stolen. Many GPS tracking systems can also be connected to an app hosted on your mobile phone making it simple to keep track of your machinery while you’re out and about on the farm.

If you don’t already have GPS tracking installed on your farm machinery and vehicles, now’s a good time to get this underway.

Keep a record of your machinery

It’s important to keep a record of your farm machinery and equipment should anything be stolen. This is especially important for insurance purposes as your insurance provider will need specific details of any items that you need to make a claim for.

Most farm vehicles like tractors will have a VIN number or serial number. You should keep a record of these numbers for all current machinery that you have on the farm. It can also help to take photos of all machinery too.

The right machinery and equipment can be a big investment for any farmer so it’s important that you take the right steps to keep this protected from things like theft and damage. A farm machinery shed is a good way to keep your valuable assets protected all-year-round.

With an ABC Sheds farm machinery shed you’ll get a custom design that meets your needs – whether that be sliding doors for extra security, extra height for storage, or additional space for a workshop, we’ll design a shed that works for you!

Talk to our team today to enquire about a farm machinery shed for your property.

Learn more about our Farm Sheds