As fieldwork moves into top gear and silage season kicks off, keep farm safety in mind over the coming weeks.

Machinery moving in and out of yards, travelling with fully loaded trailers and working ground increases the risk of accidents.

Working with livestock in fields also poses a danger and is often overlooked until it is too late.

Take every precaution to prevent accidents and make the farm safe.

While you may know of potential danger, other family members may not. Outlined are five areas to focus on.

1. Suckler cows with calves at foot

Be mindful of freshly calved cows at grass, as they will be protective of calves and can quickly become aggressive.

In a field, there are limited options to escape should a cow attack. Make sure family members are aware of this risk also.

When gathering cows and calves for dosing, cows may be naturally protective of their progeny. Keep that in mind when loading the handling race. Reunite cows with calves as quickly as possible.

2. Stock bulls

Stock bulls will be a common sight in fields as breeding starts in the coming weeks. Again, when checking animals every day, give bulls plenty of space to avoid them getting raised and feeling the need to exert their dominance.

3. Tyres, work lights and weight balance

Roadwork will be common for tractors and trailers at this time of year, so make sure machinery is roadworthy.

Under-inflated or perished tyres can fail at speed and under load. A blow-out can cause a trailer to capsize and cause a serious or fatal accident.

Inspect tyres now and replace if they are showing signs of wear and tear, especially around the side walls.

Check tractor and trailer lights are working, especially ahead of jobs such as silage, where roadwork late at night is common.

Make sure tractors are properly balanced with front weights when under load, as this can affect grip on sloped ground, as well as braking efficiency.

4. Safety guards on machinery

Make sure kit such as the mower, baler, rake and tedder all have safety guards in place before use.

The PTO shaft should be properly covered and secured with the safety chain, keeping the guard stationary when the driveshaft is engaged.

If not, replace faulty guards before someone is injured. A guard can be replaced - a limb or a life cannot.

When using silage kit and issues such as a broken shear bolt arise, stop the machine before leaving the tractor to carry out repairs. Teach this habit to others that help out with fieldwork.

5. Slurry

Slurry is also a common task after first-cut silage. When agitating tanks, keep out of sheds as the pump is engaged.

Make sure mixing and filling points are covered when leaving the yard to empty a load, so that they pose no danger to either family members or farm pets.

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