Farmer Focus: Farmers are not above the rules of the road

Primary and secondary cultivations are virtually complete. With the early start to harvest I set myself a target to get as much done before the end of August as possible.

The large proportion of spring cropping combined with late drilling delivered fantastic blackgrass control, so I decided to get the work done early so the ground can be left undisturbed for a minimum of six weeks before drilling.

Hopefully this will get some seed that has been buried from previous years to germinate.

See also: OSR growers advised not to rush into drilling

Oilseed rape drilling was delayed until the beginning of September due to the dry conditions and the hope that later drilling will give some help to flea beetle control like it has in the past.

Backlash

A couple of weeks ago Hertfordshire Police posted on social media about some checks they carried out on farm machinery on roads.

The results weren’t great – two tractors had to be escorted off the road to have their issues addressed immediately, and most of the others had a fault of some kind.

Unfortunately they didn’t receive a good response from farmers, with many questioning why they were doing it, and claiming it was a waste of police resources.

Some even went as far as to say that because the police haven’t caught farm thieves or hare coursers then they shouldn’t stop tractors on the road.

I make no apologies for saying that if you questioned, or claimed the police were wrong to check farm machinery for roadworthiness, then it is you who is wrong.

With farming needing to make a vast improvement to its health and safety record, increasingly busy roads, and the fact that it is the law to have functioning lights, brakes and a visible number plate, it is about time the industry sorted itself out.

If everything is up to scratch and road legal, there is nothing to worry about – if it isn’t, don’t take it on the road. The cost to make it roadworthy isn’t an excuse – even if you only go a few miles, it could be deadly.


Matt Redman operates a farming and agricultural contracting business specialising in crop spraying, Avadex application and direct drilling in Bedfordshire. He also grows cereals on a small area of tenancy land and was Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year in 2014.