Editor’s View: This is peak danger time for farm accidents

This week and next will be among the busiest in the year’s arable farming calendar as a break in the weather looks set to permit folk to catch up on the harvest schedule.

The long days ahead will be a necessity for those who have many hectares to cover before the rain takes a further toll on crop yield and quality.

Marty Mone’s Hit the Diff will be the soundtrack in a thousand fields as the sun goes down, and the lyrics are the best illustration of the fun and danger of this time of year.

See more: Will’s World – Let’s ensure farm kids are alright this summer

About the author

Andrew Meredith
Farmers Weekly editor
Andrew has been Farmers Weekly editor since January 2021 after doing stints on the business and arable desks. Before joining the team, he worked on his family’s upland beef and sheep farm in mid Wales and studied agriculture at Aberystwyth University. In his free time he can normally be found continuing his research into which shop sells London’s finest Scotch egg.
Read more articles by Andrew Meredith

I want to echo the number of excellent pleas from farmers in recent weeks for a renewed focus on farm safety even at this most frantic of times.

For some this is the joyful culmination of a whole year’s work and investment, but for others few things will be more stressful than the feeling there are simply more tasks to achieve than the hours in the day will permit.

I feel nervous on your behalf not only because of pressure to beat the downpours, but also because if history is anything to go by it feels inevitable that word will ripple across social media soon of one or more harvest-linked farm or road accidents.

Fatigue and the operation of heavy machinery is a toxic mix. We are in one of the few remaining industries that seems to tolerate such a combination.

The only thing that should eclipse the pressure to get harvest done is the responsibility to fulfil the duty of care to your employees, colleagues or fellow family members.

Please don’t create a culture where people are pushed beyond their limits. Their families need them to come home and you will need them for the next harvest, too.

The one opportunity the wet weather will perhaps have given some folk time for recently is catching up on the latest environmental scheme opportunities, particularly English farmers with an up-to-date iteration of the hefty Sustainable Farming Incentive handbook.

Half of a smaller BPS payment than last year will have recently dropped into many readers’ bank accounts, focusing minds on what is to come.

Our latest Transition supplement, which you’ll find in 11 August issue, includes the results of what is now an annual survey on farming’s attitudes to the many impacts of the changing farm policy landscape.

It will provide more grist for the mill to those that seek to show how disgruntled most farmers are with the approach being taken by those in power in their nation.

As the furthest along the path away from direct payments, England still commands much of the attention and it is where the highest proportion of farmers have begun to prepare for life after area payments are phased out.

A detailed look at the results reveals one-fifth of farmers are looking at reducing their own workforce and the number considering making increased use of contractors rather than rely on their own staff or machinery is increasing.

This catchy season is exactly why those decisions can be so difficult – and will only get harder.

The accountant will be in one ear, despairing over your depreciation and repair bill, while you have visions of the cost to livestock of spoiled silage or the cost to your bank balance of a missed malting premium – especially if you’re the contractor’s newest customer and bottom of their priority list.

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