As silage season draws ever closer, it’s time to turn our attention to one of the most dangerous parts of farming – using machinery.

Changing habits to avoid risky shortcuts with machinery could be a life saver this silage season.

If a machine becomes blocked while cutting grass, or baling silage, disengage the PTO and turn off the tractor before attempting to clear the blockage.

When working on a silage clamp, it’s best to work slowly in order to avoid a tip. Always check trailer lights before towing on the road and take care to maintain a safe speed especially on narrow road.

Tractors and machinery are the main causes of farm accidents in Ireland, so with silage season beginning it’s important to be safety conscious.

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Before cutting, ensure that all tractors and machinery are in good working order:

  • Make sure that the machine is in a safe operating condition. All guards and safety devices must be in place and functioning correctly.
  • Make sure that machines and trailed equipment are correctly attached to the tractor or vehicle.
  • When attaching a machine, take the correct position in order to avoid getting crushed.
  • Always stop the machine and the tractor before attempting to carry out maintenance work or to free a blockage.
  • Make sure that the machine is adequately supported before working underneath.
  • Always turn off the PTO (Power Take Off) and the tractor before attempting to free a blockage or adjust a machine.

With cutting often going on long into the night, it’s important to ensure that all lights, mirrors and wipers are functioning correctly.

It’s also important to ensure that the brakes on the tractor are in good working order and that the handbrake is fully operational.

Farmers should take care when working with overhead power lines and take precautions to ensure that machinery doesn’t come into contact with the power lines.