Spring means long hours in the tractor, keeping a wary eye on the weather and making important management decisions that will impact your crop’s entire season. It’s easy to feel rushed to get fields prepared, planted and sprayed, but despite the urgency and excitement of spring, it’s important farmers, farm families and employees stay safe. Here are some important reminders for keeping safe throughout this busy spring season on the farm.
Check your equipment
Before heading to the field or on the road, conduct a thorough equipment inspection. Check safety guards, headlights, taillights and Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs. Be sure you’ve got the appropriate operator and safety gear in the cab too, like goggles and gloves, tools, and water to stay hydrated. Don’t forget to fold equipment into transport position, even when moving between fields and make sure all exposed PTO units are properly guarded.
Remember road safety
Spring and fall are the busiest times for farm equipment traveling the roadways. Remember, while your tractor and equipment may be larger than anyone else, everyone needs to safely share the road. Before heading out on the roadways, make sure everything is operating properly, all lights work and proper lighting is on to alert drivers. Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs must be visible and be sure to use signals whenever you turn or change lanes. Know the width and height of your equipment and adjust mirrors as needed. This will help to ensure safe travel and clearance with potential obstructions such as road signs, overhead lines, and bridges. Keep in mind that anyone operating agricultural machinery on public roadways must comply with traffic laws. And remember, we all share the same public roadways and a responsibility to help ensure everyone makes it home safely.
Working safely with chemicals
Every chemical safety reminder starts with: always read and follow the product label. And if you have questions, ask a trusted agronomic advisor, retailer or local Corteva Agriscience™ Territory Manager.
Before the spring season starts, inspect goggles and gloves for wear and tear and replace as necessary. This way, you’ll be ready and properly protected for the spring rush. Even though it can be a hassle and sometimes uncomfortable, protective clothing is important. Always wear eye protection, gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and close-toed shoes when working with chemicals.
Always mix products in a well-ventilated area and measure carefully. Don’t rush. Working with chemicals can be hazardous, and getting the proper measurements is essential for effective product rates and application. Remember to take your time to be safe and to avoid accidents, including spills. If a product spill occurs, be prepared with supplies on hand to safely clean up.
As a farmer, your farm is your priority. But you also owe it to your family and employees to stay healthy and prioritize yourself too. Remember to take breaks and allow yourself to re-energize. Without an adequate amount of sleep and proper nutrition, you risk operating at a reduced level in the fields. Mistakes and injuries are most likely to happen when fatigue sets in.
Spring is stressful on the farm, and while a healthy amount of stress can keep everyone on their toes, too much stress can be unhealthy. For more tips on managing stress, here’s a great blog from The Do More Ag Foundation: Minding Your Mental Health During the Busy Seasons.
Staying and feeling connected can help everyone through the busy spring season. Today’s technology makes it easy to check in on a friend or neighbour from the tractor cab. If you’re working with family or employees, make sure everyone can reach each other in the event of an equipment breakdown or emergency. If you’re heading to the field, write down and post a daily schedule of the fields you plan to visit, including the farm or field address and emergency 911 number for each field gateway in case first responders need to find you. Don’t have an emergency 911 sign at your field gate? Check out Farm 911 The Emily Project for more information about how to keep Ontario farms and equipment operators safe.
Visit the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association for more spring farm safety tips.