Road Safety during Harvest

            When tractors, combines and other large machinery begin to use public roads during harvest season, it is important for both farmers and passenger vehicle operators to use extra caution and respect each other.
            The greatest threat raised between farm equipment and passenger vehicles is the difference in speed. Farm equipment runs at an average speed of 20 miles per hour while passenger vehicles average 60 miles per hour. If the motor vehicle overtakes a tractor, the impact is comparable to a passenger vehicle hitting a brick wall at 40 miles per hour. If the tractor and a car, mini-van or pickup collides head on, the impact is the same as hitting a brick wall at 60 miles per hour.
            Farmers can reduce the chances of an accident by using warning lights, reflectors and reflective tape on their machinery to keep passenger vehicle operators aware of their presence on roads. Some farmers may choose to install supplemental lights to increase visibility. It also is a good idea for producers to keep off heavily traveled roads as much as possible and avoid moving equipment during the busiest part of the day.
            However, other drivers also need to take responsibility. Passenger vehicle operators need to think about what they are doing at all times and should not talk on cell phones while driving. A large number of roads traveled by farmers have loose gravel and soft shoulders or no shoulders at all. Therefore, passenger vehicle operators need to slow down and avoid quick turns or fast breaking that could cause them to loose control of the vehicle.
            Some farm equipment, such as combines, can take up more than half of the road. Even so, it is up to both drivers to be aware of their own limitations and adjust accordingly. Farmers should not take up more space than is needed, but other drivers should try to provide as much room as possible. It is a good idea for passenger vehicles to turn off onto side or field roads until larger machinery has passed. Whenever possible, farmers should use an escort vehicle such as a pickup to precede or follow large machinery and equipment on public roads. More than one escort may be necessary. Ideally, the escort vehicle would have extra warning lights and a sign indicating oversized or slow equipment ahead or following.
            Have a safe harvest!

 Fall Lawn Seeding

            Good turfgrass advice from UNL horticulturist, Kelly Feehan: Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass lawns with thin or bare areas are best overseeded now; and the earlier cool season, the better. For each day earlier grass is seeded, two days of growth are gained. August 15 to September 15 is the optimum window to seed cool-season grasses. Winterkill and/or poor establishment could result when seeding earlier or later than this. Try to seed turfgrass by September 15. If not possible, try and seed tall fescue before September 20 and bluegrass before September 30 to reduce the risk of winter injury. When seeding, good seed to soil contact is vital for success. To achieve thisw, gradually lower the mowing height to one and a half to two inches and remove clippings. If thatch exceeds one-fourth inch, power rake to reduce it. Before overseeding, core aerate or plug the area two to three times, then overseed and provide adequate moisture throughout fall.

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