Rushed planting season risks farmers’ safety

Local News

LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) – Siouxland farmers this week have been spending every waking moment planting their crops before Friday’s expected rainfall. With many farmers constantly working safety is a big concern.

With spring showers popping-up around Siouxland at least once a week, now is an important time for farmers. 

“It’s probably the latest, wettest spring I can ever remember,” said John Ahlers, a farmer. 

Siouxland farmers, like John Ahlers, say better weather means harder, faster work for them. 

“When the windows of opportunity are short, the number of hours that are being worked are tremendous. We have people that are working well into the nights. We have some people that are almost working all night and of course the fatigue factor sets in and the more tired you are the more chances you have for accident problems,” said Joel DeJong, with Iowa State Extension.

Like most farmers, Ahlers has been keeping a close eye on the weather. 

“It’s been an awful slow season. We get one or two days to kind of run and then we get wet. We spend more time driving around to find a field that we can actually do something in than we have actually been able to work,” said Ahlers.

It’s not the constant work that Ahlers is worried about. It’s road safety that concerns him. 

“When we are traveling up and down the roads and cars crowd us or they pass us where they shouldn’t. They just don’t give us time to get off the road and into the side. So it’s not so much in the field where I’m worried about having an accident, it’s when we travel up and down the roads that’s what makes me scared,” said Ahlers.

“You’re using a piece of equipment that is going down a road to get to one field to the next it’s traveling at a different rate of speed than the normal traffic and of course that creates issues and traffic as you move down the road,” said DeJong.

Despite the dangers, Ahlers is just happy to be getting things done.

“We have a nice couple-day window now here. It would be nice if we could have seven days like this,” said Ahlers. 

With a short period for farmers to plant, you can expect to see farm equipment on the roads at all times of the day, for the next couple of days.  

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