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Tractor destroyed by fire with planter in background.

‘He called 911 while he grabbed what he could out of the cab’

Two fire extinguishers couldn’t stop flames from destroying his tractor.

‘Bet your day wasn’t as bad as mine…’

That’s how Tuesday’s phone call started. It came from a friend in west central Indiana. I replied, ‘try me’, as planting corn still has not been running smoothly.

I lamented to him that some of the technology on the planter wasn’t working correctly. I explained that even though the planter was in the dealer’s shop for improvements and dad attended the ‘required’ pre-season clinic, the dealer didn’t have the planter ready to go. In fact, three of the four preseason checks had not been done.

He had no sympathy for me. He went on to explain that while he was folding up his planter, he saw ‘dust’ coming from underneath the tractor. Dust was odd because he wasn’t moving. Upon further inspection, the dust was smoke. Where there is smoke, there’s fire!

All the liquids he could find in the tractor, plus spraying two fire extinguishers, were little help. He called 911 while he grabbed what he could out of the cab. Of course, when you’re out of sight on the back forty down by the river bottom, that phone call gets a little more difficult. The fire department made quick work of it, but not before the tractor and planter were a total loss.

Tractor shopping

After a little sprinkle last night I was able to slip away and look at a tractor he is considering. (A 40-minute drive for me was better than a 3-hour drive for him.) Not completely sure what the insurance company is going to do, he has had to move forward with decisions in order to get back to planting. He told me this morning that a planter should arrive at his place by noon.

Finding a field-ready planter is not an easy task anytime of the year, much less while planting is ongoing. The tractor passed my inspection but he is waiting for final word from the insurance company on how they are going to value his machine before he pulls the trigger. Fortunately, he does have a limited amount of rental coverage on his policy.

I guess my day wasn’t all that bad. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Check your insurance policy and be safe!

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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