Rural experts said farmers should put themselves in the shoes of criminals to look out for obvious signs of lax security on their farm.
An early look at 2017 rural crime figures has suggested the cost of theft has jumped its highest percentage in more than seven years.
Levels similar to the 13 per cent increase had been off the radar since about 2010 but NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist Tim Price said the year had cost the industry about £44.5 million, with a rise in stolen quad bikes bumping up the figures.
“What we are seeing is increased thefts in just about every area, particularly tractors, 4x4s, pickups and gator type vehicles,” he said.
“But the really big one is quads which are still going in big numbers, particularly in livestock areas where they are so useful for farmers.”
While no one-size-fits-all solution is considered appropriate in the countryside, Mr Price said priority should instead be put on working up an outsider’s point of view to help pick up on obvious security downfalls.
Minor objectives should be considered, such as a site’s closeness to public roads, visibility to farm vehicles and the physical security of farmyards or gardens.
Public footpaths, isolation and the number of people on-farm during the day are other things to think about, alongside levels of local crime and the value of machinery and equipment left on-site.
Mr Price said: “To understand how thieves target farms, go to the nearest public road your farm can be seen from and see how tempting it looks through a criminal’s perspective.
“Are there obvious signs security is tight, such as yard gates, security lights and CCTV? Are buildings secured or are doors left open?
“The answers to these questions can help you decide whether better security is needed and what form it should take.”
When buying used machinery, Mr Price suggested authenticity was often blurred through misrepresentation and cloning which was easy to catch farmers out.
He urged rural workers to only buy road registered vehicles which have the correct DVLA registration document, with a safer route being to consider purchasing through auctions or machinery dealers.
“When buying do due diligence checks yourself,” Mr Price said. “Do not trust documents offered by the seller; they can be forged or doctored.”