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Safety Still Counts Once Weather Breaks

Safety Still Counts Once Weather Breaks
Make it a fast-paced planting season and a safe one at the same time.

Once the skies clear up and the soil dries up long enough for equipment to begin to work in the fields, the mad dash will be on to get as many acres planted as soon as possible. With GPS technology, some people who have those systems in place will be able to literally work around the clock if they have the manpower to keep their equipment moving. Guidance will keep you on track even when it's too dark to see traditional marker lines

The temptation will be to push too hard and ignore your personal needs, experts say. Your body doesn't know that you want to get twice as much work done in the same period you normally devote to planting. Finding time to rest and relax will still be crucial.

GPS auto-guidance systems help in some ways in that most report feeling more relaxed and less drained after running with auto-guidance compared to steering and concentrating on marker lines all day,. It typically shows up as a big plus in later afternoon, when otherwise fatigue would set in.

Fatigue could still be an issue if you're planning on running extra hours. Plan meal breaks and rest breaks to makes sure you stay alert. Line up help so that each person can get some time to rest in a 24-hour period. At the same time make sure someone you put on a highly technical tractor and planter setup, especially at night, knows how to run it and how to recognize if something goes wrong. Also avoid putting someone in a field, especially at night, which may have blowholes or sandbars or other rough spots if they're not familiar with the field. You can easily lose more time fixing things than you gain keeping them going if accidents occur because someone isn't trained. Plus you've got the extra expense of fixing the implement.

A high school principal recently told his wife on Monday of the first school week in May, "See you in June." May is hectic around schools, with graduation and end-of-year activities. If you use the same attitude with your wife and family, "See you after planting season" it may get to be a long, boring stretch. The more bored and tired you are, the more prone you will be to make a mistake.

A mistake may result in an accident, but it could also lead to errors such as planting the wrong seed in the wrong place, or spraying the wrong herbicide on the wrong field. Even though time will be of the essence, remember that safety is job one. Getting the job done right would surely rank as job #2.

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