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If you're pulling a big load it's no place for a cheap, undersized hitch pin.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

April 29, 2015

2 Min Read

Update, April 28, 2015: New hitch pin standard was three years in the making

The hitch pin in the photo, connecting the grain cart to the tractor, was being used on a farm we visited some time ago. It's not the newest pin in the world.

The question is: Is it strong enough and still in good shape to hold up and not break?

A safety specialist at a meeting once held up a hitch pin snapped in two. In his case it was attaching an anhydrous wagon to a pickup truck. The wagon went careening into the ditch. No serious damage or injuries resulted, but it wasn't due to anything except luck!

Related: Spring Farm Safety Could Hinge on a Hitch Pin!


Bill Field, the Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist, almost turns green with frustration when you bring up the subject of using cheap tractor discount supply hitch pins, sometimes made in China, to pull implements, even hay wagons, let alone grain carts.

Field is aware of one incident where a hitch pin snapped going downhill and a wagon full of people on a hay ride sped off the road. The results were more serious than when the anhydrous tank headed for the ditch.

Is a 'cheapo' hitch pin the right choice?
Field is a firm believer in safety standards for hitch pins. He works toward that as a member of the American Society of Ag Engineers committee that helps set safety standards for various pieces of equipment and things related to operating or pulling farm implements and equipment.

Related: Take Time to Maintain Safety Devices on Farm Equipment

Field simply doesn't see the wisdom in hitching a $100,000 grain cart which may pull 1,200 bushels of grain or more to a $200,000 tractor with a $5 "cheapo" hitch pin.

Don't even mention homemade hitch pins or bolts doing double duty as hitch pins in his presence. Just because you get by with it once doesn't mean you will again, or even the next time you try it. That's one of the nicer comments he might make to you in this situation.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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