Hampshire farmer who lost 20 Jersey cows in Southern Water compensation fight after incidents

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's Mike Pearse

A dairy farmer says he still hasn't been fully compensated ten months after two major incidents affecting his water supply led to him losing 20 percent of his herd.

Oliver Neagle lost supply at Attwoods Farm near Winchester, Hampshire in December last year because of a burst main and then again in February this year.

The impact was the loss of at least 20 Jersey cows who need large amounts of water to survive with the farmer advised to go to a park and ride in Winchester Park to get bottled water.

He says the incidents cost him around £250,000.

Oliver fears his farm could close in two months if he doesn't receive adequate compensation and explains what happened when the water stopped at the end of 2022, "It was actually off for four days, but then took Southern Water, I think, 18 hours, 19 hours to get a first tank of water top begin with.

"Some of these caves are producing 40, 45 litres a day of milk. So 80% of that milk is water. So these cows are going to intake 250, 300 litres of water each day.

"When that all of a sudden stops, they get stressed and then that brings on mastitis which spreads throughout the cows."

Despite efforts from the fire brigade to help, it wasn't enough to save all of the Jersey heard who need large amounts of water.

The bottled water station where Oliver was told to go in December 2022 Credit: ITV News

Southern Water insist it has paid twice the usual level of compensation and gave Mr Neagle a direct payment of £15,000.

Oliver says it goes nowhere near meeting his losses and its now a fight for survival of the farm.

A spokesperson for Southern Water said: "We understand the enormous impact these incidents have had on the farm, and we have been touch with the family and have provided additional support to them in recognition of the issues they face.”

"Given February’s incident happened so soon after the interruption in December, we decided to double the amounts of money that would normally be awarded to everyone affected.

"We published the investigation report into why the incident in February took place. We are spending £350 million over eight years at the nearby Otterbourne Water Supply Works to reduce the likelihood of a similar supply outage in the future.”

A spokesperson for the insurance firm NFU Mutual said, “We were very sorry to learn of the loss of cattle at Mr Neagle’s farm and the distress this has caused. Mr Neagle became a customer of NFU Mutual in January this year.

"We appreciate that this is a difficult time for the farm and apologise for the delay taken investigating this complex case involving the water company.

"We are currently conducting an urgent review of Mr Neagle’s concerns to resolve this issue."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.