Make Hay While the Sun Shines…But Do It Safely!

— Written By and last updated by JoAnne Gryder

Hay season is just around the corner. Cattlemen and women will be 43077149-round-baler-hay-harvestout in full force, mowing, raking and baling. Unfortunately, there will be accidents that could be avoided by following a few simple rules

  • If you have new operators, make sure they are adequately trained on the piece of equipment that will be used. Even older equipment has safety guidelines that can be found online. Youtube has videos galore on safety tips for tractor operators.
  • Roll Over Protection (ROPS) can save your life. Always wear a seatbelt if the tractor is equipped with ROPS. Older model tractors can be retrofitted with ROPS.
  • Know your terrain and limitations. Holes and washed out areas can occur in fields where there haven’t been previously. Scout fields before hand for hazards.
  • Never start an engine in a shed or closed space. All internal combustion engines, diesel or gasoline generate carbon monoxide – a colorless, odorless gas
  • Always keep PTO properly shielded. PTO accidents can cause serious injuries or death. Human reflexes cannot compete with the speed and power of a rotating PTO shaft. Once caught, a victim has no time to escape.
  • Keep Your Hitches Low and Always on the Draw Bar. This prevents the tractor from flipping over backwards. Rear overturns are less frequent than sideways rollovers, but are just as likely to be fatal.
  • Never get off a moving tractor or leave the engine running. Shut the tractor off, set the parking brake, then dismount.
  • Never refuel while the engine is running or hot. Always shut the tractor down when adding fluids, fuels, and performing maintenance. A spark from the ignition system or hot exhaust could cause the fuel to ignite. Grounding out the tractor with a ground wire or by dropping mounted equipment so it touches the ground can reduce static electricity.
  • Keep Children Away! Don’t allow children to ride with you on the tractor. No exceptions, unless it’s an enclosed cab with a child seat. Some new, larger tractors come equipped with child seats.
  • Take your time. Remember, a tractor is a workhorse, not a racehorse. Tractors are designed for easy maneuverability at low speeds, not high speeds.

Written By

Photo of John CothrenJohn CothrenCounty Extension Director and Ext Agent, Agriculture - Livestock and Field Crops (336) 651-7348 john_cothren@ncsu.eduWilkes County, North Carolina
Posted on Apr 14, 2016
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