IRETON, Iowa (KCAU)–Farmers around Siouxland are fast at work harvesting their fields. This year, farmers are harvesting about a month earlier than last year and while they may not be in as big a rush, the dry conditions come with a different set of risks.
“There have been several friends I would call them friends or clients that I have worked with over the years that have been a victim of farm accidents. Some have lost their life others have just been injured others very permanently injured,” said DeJong.
Joel DeJong is an Iowa State University field agronomist. He said harvest season is a dangerous time for farmers.
“I want to encourage everyone to think about a safety plan for safety. Make sure you are ready to go, and as one farmer told me this morning when I said have a safe harvest, he said safety is my middle name, and I certainly hope it is,” said DeJong.
Chris Ten Napel has been fast at work harvesting his fields and said he takes many precautions.
“Some of the things we do are have flashing lights, we have slow-moving vehicle signs and if we have some extra wide equipment, we might send a pickup ahead of us with flashers on just to kinda warn oncoming motors that something large is coming,” said Ten Napel.
According to the CDC, transportation incidents are the leading cause of death for farmers. Ten Napel said caution around farm equipment is everyone’s responsibility.
“I urge all motorists in the road to just kinda slow down, watch for oncoming machinery and stuff, and everybody has a safe and happy harvest,” said Ten Napel.
This year’s dry growing season poses a new risk this harvest, like a fire started by an equipment issue on Sunday.
“We have a lot of moving equipment and sooner or later we have some equipment problems and sometimes bearings go out or a belt gets hot and with dry material, it can start on fire. We have some major concerns right now because everything is so incredibly dry particularly on windy days that if we get a fire started it can spread and cover a field or two pretty rapidly,” said DeJong.
To prevent fires from growing, DeJong says it’s important to have a tractor with a disk nearby.
When out on gravel roads, DeJong says it’s important to remember farm equipment will be turning into field driveways, and the more space and caution took when passing farm equipment, the safer for everyone.