Ag Connection
Your link to the Universities for ag extension and research information

Volume 5, Number 7
July 1999


This Month in Ag Connection

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New Weeds Web Page 

Missouri Weeds is on-line! Slide collections of Missouri Weeds contains color images of around 100 species (so far) and many show various growth stages of development along with brief written descriptions. Click here to check it out.

Safety Tips for the Hay-Making Season
ATV Safety
Child Safety on the Farm
Sun and Heat Exposure
Hot Weather Livestock Stress
New Weeds Web Page

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Safety Tips for the Hay-Making Season

Injuries occur every year to farmers and farm workers who are rushing to get hay put up before the next thunderstorm arrives. Here is a checklist of equipment inspection and safe haying practices that can be posted on or near mowers and balers.

Know your operator’s manuals.
These manuals contain vital information for the safe and efficient operation of each piece of machinery. Every potential operator should familiarize themselves with the manuals.

Be able to communicate with others.
It is a good idea to have a cellular phone or CB radio handy. Establish regular check-in times.

Inspect PTO shafts.
PTO shaft injury incidents are among the more deadly and disfiguring hazards on the farm. Make sure all shields are intact and in place. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing while working around PTO powered equipment. Long hair can also become entangled in these shafts.

Turn off the engine and take the keys with you before clearing or repairing equipment.
A large percentage of injures occur to people who try to fix or clear equipment on the run. Shortcuts like this may save a few moments at the time, but the pain of an injury and time lost while healing make taking risks like this unacceptable.

Handle and transport bales correctly.
Always use bale clamps or forks when loading round bales with a front-end loader. They will prevent the bale from rolling back onto the operator. Hay should be secured and stable before transported. Make sure the load you are moving is not too wide. Always make sure the load being pulled is no heavier than the pulling unit.

blueball.gif (303 bytes)For towed wagons WITHOUT brakes:
Do not tow equipment that does not have brakes at speeds over 20 mph; or - when fully loaded, weighs more than 1.5 times the weight of the towing unit.

blueball.gif (303 bytes)For towed equipment WITH brakes:
Do not tow wagons that have brakes at speeds over 25 mph; or when fully loaded, weighs more than 4.5 times the weight of the towing unit.

Inspect mirrors, lights and SMV emblems.
Because hay equipment frequently travels on roadways, make sure you can see and be seen with mirrors, lights and SMV emblems. A flagger vehicle behind the hay equipment when in transit would be helpful to the operator and the traffic behind you.

Equip tractors with rollover protection structures.
Wearing seat belts and installing a ROPS will provide the greatest protection to the operator in case of a tractor rollover, and may provide protection from large, round bales rolling back on the operator.

Know your endurance limit.
Incidents and injuries often occur to people who are physically and mentally worn-out. When you become tired or drowsy in the field, your mental alertness is compromised, and you may skip safety procedures to save time.

(Author: Will Wetherell, Rural Safety Program, University of Missouri)

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wpe17.jpg (4483 bytes)ATV Safety

ATV’s are popular for both work and recreation on the farm. Along with their popularity has been a reported increase in some areas of serious injuries and deaths. Most of these can be attributed to improper use and handling of the ATV. Make ATV safety a priority on your farm.

button.gif (1020 bytes) ATV with a model size of 70cc to 90cc should be operated by people age 12 and over.

button.gif (1020 bytes) ATV’s with a model size engine of greater than 90cc should only be operated by people age 16 and over.

button.gif (1020 bytes) An ATV is not a toy. Children should not be permitted to operate ATV’s without specialized training. After training they should be allowed to operate the ATV or an appropriate size. Contact the ATC Safety Institute to enroll in the RiderCourse at 1-800-887-2887.

button.gif (1020 bytes) Wear appropriate riding gear: DOT-, Snell- or ANSI-approved helmet, goggles, gloves, over-the-ankle boots, long-sleeve shirt and long pants.

button.gif (1020 bytes) Read the owner’s manual carefully.

button.gif (1020 bytes) ATV’s are not made for extra riders. Never carry anyone else on the ATV.

button.gif (1020 bytes) Any attachment added affects the stability, operation and braking of the ATV. Just because an attachment is available, doesn’t mean that it can be used without increasing your risk of being injured.

button.gif (1020 bytes) Do not operate the ATV on streets, highways or paved roads.

Source: National Safety Council

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wpe18.jpg (4656 bytes)Child Safety on the Farm

Many children are injured on the farm each year. Some are working on the farm while others are visiting and wander into hazardous areas. Implement prevention strategies today to protect our greatest resource—our children.

diamond_.gif (84 bytes)Design a safe play area that is fenced on your farm. This area should be near the house and away from work activities. Do not allow children to roam freely on the farm.

diamond_.gif (84 bytes)Inspect your farm on a regular basis for hazards that can injure someone wandering on your farm — such as a child. Correct obvious hazards at once.

diamond_.gif (84 bytes)Children who are physically able to become involved in farm work should be assigned age-appropriate tasks. These tasks should be preceded by training and continual reinforcement of training. Supervision should be maintained all the time.

diamond_.gif (84 bytes)Equip all barns, farm shop, chemical storage, livestock pens, etc. with latches that can be locked or secured so children may not enter at any time.

diamond_.gif (84 bytes)Always turn off equipment, lower hydraulics and remove the key before leaving it unattended.

diamond_.gif (84 bytes)Do not expose children to hazards. Never carry them on tractors and equipment or invite them into the farm shop, livestock barns, grain bins, etc.

Source: National Safety Council

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wpe1A.jpg (2819 bytes)Sun and Heat Exposure

Overexposure to the sun can damage the skin. Overexertion during hot weather can cause heat illness. Put your health first in order to enjoy the summer.

Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash are illnesses suffered by many during the summer or while working in hot environments. Sun burns are also common when working or relaxing outdoors. These illnesses can be prevented.

clover_b.gif (93 bytes)Wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep your head and face cool. This will also provide protection from damaging sun exposure. Ball-style caps provide little protection except to the face. A hat should protect the neck, face and ears.

clover_b.gif (93 bytes)Wear a long-sleeved shirt at all times. It should be light colored and loose fitting except when working around machinery.

clover_b.gif (93 bytes)Carry a source of water with you. Take drinks frequently, every 15 minutes.

clover_b.gif (93 bytes)Take short rest periods in the shade or in a cool environment during the hottest times during the day.

clover_b.gif (93 bytes)Adjust gradually to working in the heat over a period of 10-20 days.

clover_b.gif (93 bytes)Someone suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be moved to a cool environment, offered sips of water, if conscious, and provided with attention from emergency medical personnel.

clover_b.gif (93 bytes)Wear sunscreen that have an SPF of at least 15. Make sure children are also adequately protected.

Source: National Safety Council

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wpe1B.jpg (3544 bytes)Hot Weather Livestock Stress

Adapted from University of Nebraska NebGuide G07357 by Allen C. Wellman, Extension Economist, Marketing.

During periods of high temperatures and humidity, livestock losses can occur from hot weather stress.

Hot weather stress is particularly hazardous to closely confined livestock (those in feedlots, sorting and holding pens, trucks and rail cars). High relative humidity when the temperature is at 80 degrees or more adds to the likelihood of profit-stealing losses if necessary precautions are not taken.

Missouri livestock producers can make their livestock handling and marketing plans flexible enough to take necessary precautions to reduce or eliminate livestock hot weather stress by following the Livestock Weather Hazard Guide.

Alert livestock producers will adjust ventilation and bedding to the prevailing temperatures. If livestock must be transported, vehicles should be bedded with sand, sawdust, shavings or a combination of these in the summer. Avoid the use of straw, particularly oats straw, in vehicles with solid sides or tight boxes during hot weather. Use "wet" bedding in "shirt sleeve" weather. Sprinkling animals in confined areas may be advisable when the temperature is above 80 degrees outside.

Using the Livestock Weather Guide
Livestock stress is closely related to the "discomfort index" for humans as developed by the Weather Bureau. It was originally called the "temperature-humidity" index (THI). Click here to view UMC Guide G2099 titled, "Hot Weather Livestock Stress" .

Stress categories

gem_blue.gif (91 bytes)Alert (THI of 75-78)
A forecast of temperature and humidity conditions in this range at time of handling, loading or before animals reach their destination calls for an "alert." Additional precautions may be needed to avoid excessive losses or to prepare for higher THI.

gem_blue.gif (91 bytes)Danger (THI of 79-83)
Temperature and humidity readings in this range are not only dangerous to confined livestock, but there is a need to adopt additional measures to avoid severe losses.

gem_blue.gif (91 bytes)Emergency (THI of 84 and higher)
A severe situation has developed. Consider changing livestock handling and shipping plans. If plans cannot be changed, these four suggestions at a minimum should be followed:

  • All handling stress should be kept at a minimum.
  • Keep animals in position for free circulation of air.
  • Provide shade if at all possible.
  • Make water readily available for drinking.
    If water is to be used to cool the animals, avoid "shock" from cold water in too huge quantities. A continuous sprinkling or coarse mist will lower the temperature to a safe level with a minimum of danger to the animals. Loading rested hogs onto wet bedding will minimize the heat stress problem during

The best solution is to plan your livestock handling and shipping activities for the periods when the THI reading is below 75. Moving livestock when the THI is above 75 should be considered risky at best.

Cattle Suffering from Tall Fescue Endophyte Fungus
Cattle consuming tall fescue forage that is infected with the endophyte fungus are particularly susceptible to heat stress during handling. Because humidity relationships for endophyte-stressed cattle are not yet known, a safe rule of thumb is to increase the temperature within Table 1 by 5 to 8 degrees to determine what weather stress category you are in. Handling such cattle during high temperature and humidity periods should be avoided if at all possible. If it is necessary to confine or transport them, it should be done during the night when temperatures are cooler. Even then caution should be used so cattle do not overheat.

Author: Jack C. Whittier (UMC Guide G2099)

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University of Missouri ExtensionAg Connection - July 1999 -- Revised: April 20, 2004