Harvest season tips to keep farmers safe

Harvest season brings a higher risk of injuries for farmers
Harvest season brings a higher risk of injuries for farmers
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 6:54 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Summer will soon be coming to an end, but harvest season is just beginning. That means farmers are headed to the fields ready to collect their crops. But the busier season can also be more dangerous.

“Tractors and machinery are the number 1 cause of injury and fatality on farms,” said Melissa Ploeckelman, an outreach specialist for the National Farm Safety Center.

Harvest season means farmers are bringing out their tractors and equipment now that harvest season is here.

“When they’re using that machinery, it becomes more dangerous,” said Ploeckelman.

Ploeckelman said farms in central Wisconsin are getting bigger and fields are getting more spread out.

“And what that means is that farmers sometimes need to use public roadways to be able to get to their field and farm their land,” said Ploeckelman.

Meaning drivers need to pay more attention to tractors and machinery on the roads.

“When they see that slow-moving vehicle emblem or that orange triangle, they need to start to slow down as soon as they see that,” said Ploeckelman.

It’s not just drivers that need to be more aware. Farmers should make sure their equipment has the correct safety features.

“Tractors by law have to have flashing lights on all of their machinery when they’re on the public roadways,” said Ploeckelman.

Ploeckelman said when drivers see those flashing lights they need to slow their roll.

“A tractor only moves 25 to sometimes 40 miles per hour, but a car traveling 55 to 65 miles an hour comes up upon that slow-moving vehicle so fast,” said Ploeckelman.

Agriculture agent for UW-Extension Marathon County, Heather Schlesser said drivers need to be more alert.

“So having everybody be more eyes open and be aware and realizing that farmers have the right of way on Wisconsin roads,” said Schlesser.

It’s not just roadways that pose a threat to farmers. The agriculture experts said tractor rollovers, PTO entanglements, and grain fires can be a danger to those working in the fields.