Mobile phones and walkie talkies are all well and good, but for simplicity and speed, hand signals can sometimes still be best.

That’s according to the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, which points out that a standardised system of signals could definitely make farming safer.

According to an article in Canadian magazine Grainews, the ASAE recommends that farming families and staff, not to mention delivery drivers and anyone who regularly comes on to the farm, should learn the basic symbols. In fact, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association has included the signals on its website as a way of encouraging farmers to manage their health and safety risks.

Some of these hand signals are self-explanatory, such as holding your hands (with palms facing each other) in front of you to show a driver how far he can back a trailer before it hits the back of the barn. Others are probably less well-known, such as holding your right hand downwards and executing a clockwise circle to tell a driver to lower an implement.

Some of the hand symbols that probably aren’t included are the white-knuckled, wringing-out-a-cloth gesture that you make when you’ve found someone has nicked your compressor or the palm-of-the-hand-over-the-eyes gesture as the student catches the edge of the barn with the trailer… again.