As an added safeguard, LaPrade says farmers should consider buying a remote starter, which is available at any automotive supply store.

“The devices are equipped with wires on each side with clamps that can be attached to the terminals of the defective starters so that if it’s in gear, there is no risk of rollover,” he says.

“These devices cost less than $20 dollars, and given they are potential lifesavers, they’re well worth the investment.”

Another tractor-related risk involves rollover, which is a special concern in horticultural operations and among small landowners. These operations sometimes use tractors that are smaller, older and not equipped with what LaPrade stresses should be one of the mainstays in any farming operation: rollover protection structures, more commonly known as ROPS.


Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to Southeast Farm Press Dailyand get the latest information right to your inbox!


With fruit and vegetable production becoming a more lucrative option for many growers, LaPrade says these types of risks could increase within the next few years as many aspiring growers, particularly novices, buy smaller, older tractors.

Retrofit ROPs can be purchased for virtually any tractor, says LaPrade, who has developed a section on the Alabama Cooperative Extension System Farm Safety website that provides extensive information about selecting and purchasing retrofit ROPS.

He cautions that ROPS, should be installed by the dealer. Seatbelts are an integral part of this safety feature and should be worn at all times, LaPrade adds.

However a tractor rolls, ROPS ensure that you are within the zone of protection, providing the seatbelt is tightly attached, he says.

During this busy time of year, LaPrade says motorists have a role to play too in farm safety.

Most farmland is no longer consolidated, which means that farmers sometimes have to travel long distances in their tractors to complete planting. Trouble often follows when impatient motorists encounter this slow-moving equipment.

These types of accidents, which often end in fatalities, have increased in recent years, LaPrade says.

For more information about farm safety, visit the ACES Farm Safety site:

           You might also like:

Textile trade war puts growers in tough spot

Adequate land ranks as top concern of young farmers

Soybeans, corn jockeying for position in Southeast crop picture

Chipping away at feed costs boosts cow-calf profits