Skip to content

Beautiful to see in a field, but deadly

September 8, 2010


Just when I was thinking about doing a fun farm safety blog I received  notice of two deaths related to round bales and tractor accidents.  The first notice  came from Audrey, a co-worker in Extension’s RavR  program.   In the most recent Dairy Herd Management issue, it was noted that a farmer was killed by a round bale rolling back on him.  He was using a front loading tractor.     The second notice came in today’s  Burlington Free Press, pg. 3B, that my co-work Kurt sent me.  The Free Press does not have it  on line where I can find it, but here is a link on line.   This  farmer died after his tractor hit a round bale,  then tipped the tractor over and pinned  him.   

Round bales are heavy and the risk of being injured is well documented by NIOSH.  Medium round bales weigh 700-900 pounds and large ones  1200-1500 pounds.   Once one starts rolling and gaining momentum, even trying to stop it with a tractor is dangerous.  

According to the National Ag Safety Database   here are some suggestions. 

What Can You Do? Large round bales require special care in handling. You can be safe around this hazard by following these tips:  

  • Obtain and use a grapple hook if a front-end loader will be used for bale transport.
  • For sloping fields, plan to make windrows parallel to contours.
  • Plan a safe route out of the field when you transport bales. Avoid rough terrain.
  • Always turn off the engine before you get off the tractor.
  • Replace broken or worn pick-up tines and belts.
  • Keep the twine feeder in good repair.
4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2010 11:18 am

    There was also a nine-year-old boy in Wyoming who had a bale roll over on him this past weekend. The last I heard, they weren’t expecting him to make it. We’ve got to be careful out there!

  2. September 9, 2010 12:39 pm

    Good points. I put hooks on the ends of my buckets and use a logging chain. This lets me lock the bales in and keep the load low making it safer. One could still raise it too high and flip it back – dumb – but don’t.

    Here’s a blog post with photos:

    I also put a hook on my backhoe so it can be used as a crane/winch. I was skidding logs this morning and that was most useful. Great for setting fence posts and granite posts too.

  3. Justin permalink
    September 9, 2010 8:25 am

    Let’s not forget the ELO founder who was killed last week in England a round bale rolled out of a field and landed on his car as he drove past.

  4. September 8, 2010 3:30 pm

    One Moore Safety Tip for Those Who Use Speers to Move Big Bales:

    Use the proper size speer for the size of bales you are moving.

    Make sure the speer is thick enough and long enough to safely handle the round bales while moving, loading and unloading them from wagons.

    Periodically check to make sure that the frame the speer sits on is tight and in proper working order.

    Stay Safe in the Fields!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: