Inspect the tractor before it leaves the yard, a crop innovation specialist said
By Diego Flammini
More farm equipment will be sharing the roads with passenger vehicles as producers gear up for the 2019 planting season.
With that season at top of mind, farmers are being reminded to check that safety features on tractors and other self-propelled pieces of equipment are working and visible.
“It’s absolutely a good idea for farmers to walk around the equipment before hitting the road to make sure the lights work and that the slow-moving vehicle sign is visible,” Ian McDonald, a crop innovation specialist with OMAFRA, told Farms.com. “Even if they just do it once at the beginning of the season, they’ll be saving themselves a lot of headaches.”
Mirrors should be included in any inspections, McDonald said. The mirrors on most equipment can be adjusted from the cab, but farmers can buy additional mirrors to place on a piece of machinery for added safety, he said.
Once a farmer brings a piece of machinery onto the road, he or she must adhere to even more safety requirements.
Farm implements are exempt from height, width, length and weight restrictions, but the Highway Traffic Act requires operators to yield about half of the entire road to passenger vehicles.
“Farmers really need to take that into account,” McDonald said. “If you get into an accident and you were found not to be giving the oncoming vehicle room to pass, you could be in a lot of trouble. A farmer cannot force a car off a lane. The onus is on the farmer.”
Speed is another factor to consider when operating farm equipment on the road.
Some tractors, like the Fendt 800 Vario, can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph).
But farmers should remember the speed limitations in their communities, McDonald said.
“Implements of husbandry are restricted to 40 km/h (31 mph),” he said. “It’s no different than going out and buying a Lamborghini. There’s no road in North America that’s going to let you drive the car at its full speed, so you drive it to what the speed limit is.”