Remember safety before entering fields To optimize a farmer's time in the field during harvest, Bill Campbell, Extension farm machinery and safety specialist, recommends a farmer think about machinery maintenance and safety before taking the combine, or any machine, out of the shed and into the field.
Preventative maintenance can result in a shorter, safer harvest, said Campbell.
He recommends running the machine to find any problems well ahead of harvest. Last year's maintenance concerns could resurface this year. If certain components of the machine are nearing the end of their life
expectancy, get the part on hand, he said.
"If every 500 or 600 hours you have a certain bearing on a machine go out and you're coming upon 475 hours on the last time you replaced it, you ought to at least get one of those bearings in stock so you don't have to worry about a 50 or 100 mile round trip to your nearest implement dealer," said Campbell.
When a piece of machinery is taken to the field before performing preventative maintenance, safety problems can occur. Downtime in the field can cause farmers to work faster to catch up once the machine is fixed.
"Many times, they'll end up having an accident because of this rush they put themselves into," he said.
Preventing accidents is similar all year long. Campbell urges farmers to stop to think about themselves; think about how their physical and mental shape is so they can take corrective measures before a situation becomes dangerous.
"There's only so many hours a day a person can sit in a combine cab and watch four, six or eight rows of a crop going into the front end of the combine before their mind starts to wander," he said.
Exhaustion is a warning sign to take a break. Get out of the cab and walk around or talk to someone.
"Companionship can help keep a person mentally alert and keep them from being quite as physically exhausted as they would be if they were setting there alone 12 or more hours a day," said Campbell.
He said a rider should be allowed in the combine cab only if the extra person can be accommodated with a rider seat.
"It's best if farmers can think of both maintenance and safety as they enter the harvest time," said Campbell. "If they're down or laid up for any length of time, a portion of the crop could be lost.