How wide can you go on the public road? See what the law says…

The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) has issued a circular to contractors, regarding the pressing issue of permissible vehicle widths on public roads.

This is especially timely, given that combine harvesters are now busy tackling cereal crops – up and down the country.

According to the FCI, current legislation indicates that the “maximum width of interchangeable, towed machines behind a tractor is 3m”.

However, it also says that the “maximum width of self-propelled agricultural machines (combine harvesters, foragers, etc) is 3.5m”.

Image source: Shane Casey

The FCI is advising contractors that if their equipment is wider than stipulated above, then they are required to have an escort vehicle in front (with dipped headlights and flashing amber beacons) displaying a ‘Caution: Wide Load Following’ sign.

The association says that, in the case of a combine harvester, the escort vehicle can be a tractor towing a combine header (with the above signage in place).

The FCI says that it has received some reports of the Garda Road Traffic Corp stopping contractors in cases where their vehicles or equipment exceeds a width of just 2.55m. This, contends the association, is ill-founded and “incorrect” in the case of self-propelled agricultural machinery.

Image source: Shane Casey

Such equipment, says the FCI, can be up to 3.5m wide; it cites the ‘Revised Standards for Agricultural Vehicles‘ (Road Safety Authority Ireland and SI 354 of 2015) to back up this assertion.

Charge-out rates

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the FCI compiled an ‘agricultural contracting charges (prices) guide’ – detailing rates for a whole plethora of on-farm (machinery) services.

Also Read: Table: Contractor association releases full 2018 ‘guide rates’

The association stressed that these charge-out rates should be treated as a “guide” and not a recommended price listing.

Image source: Shane Casey

Figures are included for a range of contractor services, including: baling and bale handling; cultivations; drilling/sowing operations; seed cleaning; complete cultivation work; fertiliser application; spraying; combine harvesting; beet harvesting; hedge-cutting; silage and willow harvesting; zero-grazing; slurry and muck spreading; as well as plant and tractor hire.

Below is an excerpt showing the rates for cereal and beet harvesting.

These ‘prices’ are based on a (green) diesel price of 70c/L. VAT (13.5%) must also be added.