Welsh waterways are at risk of severe pollution from toxic farm run-off this summer, an agricultural expert has warned.

Freddie Hamilton-Russell, at agricultural insurance broker Lycetts urged farmers to immediately inspect their silage clamps following a series of substantial fines for silage pollution.

Across the UK, farmers have been forced to pay penalties ranging from £5,000 to £20,000 due to silage clamp leaks contaminating local water bodies.

Mr Hamilton-Russell said: "With the silage season upon us, it is vital that Welsh farmers check their silage clamps now - before the first cut - to prevent highly-toxic run-off from entering nearby waterways.

"Silage effluent, which can be up to 200 times more toxic than untreated sewage, poses a significant threat to aquatic life, wildlife, and broader ecosystems."

Rivers campaign group Afonydd Cymru identified the agricultural sector as the cause of 82 per cent of pollution in Wales' rivers.

Mr Hamilton-Russell stressed the importance of well-maintained silage storage systems, advising as he said: "Silage clamps and all drainage systems should be carefully inspected checked to make sure they are airtight and leak-free."

A thorough clean will detect leaks while avoiding damaging the protective lining of surfaces.

Mr Hamilton-Russell also advised on further maintenance procedures as he said: "Farmers should check that the floor is sound, that cracks are properly repaired and that wall coatings and overlapping protective films are intact.

"Collection channels and drains should be regularly cleaned out to ensure they are watertight and drains flushed with water before filling the clamp, to ensure they are free from leaks or blockages."

Mr Hamilton-Russell also said: "Farmers must be proactive in their approach to managing silage storage.

"The consequences of negligence are not only environmentally disastrous but also financially very damaging, as the substantial fines for pollution incidents are not covered by insurance."

He added that Lycetts offers comprehensive insurance and risk management services tailored to the agricultural sector, to aid farmers in upholding health, safety, and environmental standards.