Tillage Update- Be Harvest Ready
Harvest is the busiest time of year for tillage farmers but also poses the greatest health and safety risk. In this Tillage update, advice is given on carrying out maintenance on all machinery prior to harvesting and ensuring safe work practices are carried out on the farm.
The update also looks at the potato crop and the blight that the crop is susceptible to.
Harvest is the busiest time of year for tillage farmers but also poses the greatest health and safety risk. Now is the ideal time to get maintenance done on machines prior to the harvest. Ensure that all PTO shafts are covered and that all guards are in place, particularly on the combine and the baler.
The harvest is typically the time of year where there are casual staff on the farm and they may not be familiar with all the work practices on the farm. These staff are a high accident risk. Ensure that all staff read the farm risk assessment document and are familiar with the machines they will be operating. The risk assessment document has a specific section on harvesting.
Ensure that safe work practices are carried out on the farm. Staff should be trained on the correct procedures to follow in a given situation; for example, the safe way to deal with blockages in a baler/combine or the correct way to attach a trailer to a tractor ensuring that all safety mechanisms are in place.
Finally, stop work that is being done in an unsafe manner and rectify the problem.
Fig. 1 Ensure that all PTO shafts are covered and that all guards are in place.
Potato crops are growing well at the moment they are at flowering with plenty of moisture in the soil to help with bulking. While the risk of blight is high given the broken weather we have had there are few reports of blight as of yet, however diseases such as blackleg and alternaria are common in many crops. Blackleg can be a significant problem in susceptible varieties like British Queens and there is no chemical control. Rogueing and removal of infected plants and tubers is the only control measure. Alternaria, commonly called early blight, can be controlled with fungicides like Vendetta or Azoxystrobin where it is a significant problem but later in the season this becomes less of an issue.
Fig. 2 Blackleg is common in many crops