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Forage Crop Harvesting Machinery Safety


  • The variety of special machines (e.g., choppers, balers, windrowers) used to harvest hay and silage crops can be hazardous.
  • Accidents involving forage harvesting machinery are often very serious.
  • In addition, machinery malfunction or break down in the field leads to reduced productivity and greater likelihood of someone incurring an injury.
  • Because forage harvesting may require extra help, proper training and supervision of workers in machinery operation is an added concern.


  • Look over the operator's manual for each machine used in forage harvesting.
  • Check out each machine before using it to ensure that all systems are working properly.
  • Keep all forage harvesting machinery adjusted correctly for crop conditions to avoid plugs and winding.
  • Keep machine guards in place.
  • Provide barriers for power drives that are not guarded properly.
  • Before unplugging or repairing a machine, stop it and turn off the engine.
  • With a big round baler,
    1. make certain everyone is clear before opening the rear gates;
    2. drop the bales on relatively level surfaces where they cannot roll;
    3. use a rear-mounted bale handler; and
    4. equip a front-end loader with grapple hooks, keeping the load low and speed slow to avoid a tip-over.
  • With a forage chopper,
    1. shut off the engine and make sure the cutter head has stopped rotating before opening the access plate or door; and
    2. work with extra care and heed safety precautions in your operator's manual when sharpening the knives or making any adjustments.
  • Keep children away from forage harvesting machinery.
  • Adequately train and supervise any extra helpers if they are not familiar with their assigned tasks.

(Also see "Safe Forage Crop Harvesting" under Crop Storage/Handling)

Last updated: 18-May-2006 11:08 AM