Archive for August, 2011

The Power of Electricity

This is another great farm safety message brought to you by Farm Safety 4 Just Kids. Electricity is powerful. Agriculture relies on electricity to keep the barn lights on, to run equipment and to turn the alarm clock on every morning. Electricity is also a powerful hazard on the farm, one that demands respect.The Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives teaches farm safety at the Mammouth Cave Farm Safety 4 Just Kids chapter's safety day.

Lack of knowledge and skill are the leading cause of incidents involving electricity. Teach children how electricity works, and what types of materials conduct electricity and which ones don’t.

Once youth are old enough, trained and qualified to drive farm equipment, teach them to lower things like augers before crossing under a power line. It’s also important to teach them to stay in the vehicle if they become entangled in an over head power line. If you’ve explained how electricity works, they’ll know touching the machinery while stepping on the ground will complete the circuit.

In addition, make sure overhead power lines are well maintained and have adequate clearance to avoid these situations.

Here are a few more electricity safety tips:

• Keep face plates on switches and outlet

• Keep electrical panels free of dust and debris

• Keep electrical panels covered to reduce shock and fire hazard

• Use properly maintained tools and equipment that is double insulated

• Do not use electrical tools around water

• Equip the shop area with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters and use 3-prong grounding plugs

• Use undamaged electrical cords and do not carry tools by their cords

• Grip the plug, not the cord, to unplug a tool

• Switch off and unplug a tool before you change parts or clean it, or if it begins to smoke or burn

• Instruct children in proper behavior around and respect of electricity

Keep everyone safe around electricity. Prevent the electricity we need so much from harming the ones we love the most.

For more information about farm safety, visit

Designed By the Sharpest Minds In the Hay Business: Farmers.

What is it that you would like to see in your next windrower? That is the question we asked commercial hay producers across the country in the developmental process of our new Hesston WR Series Windrowers. We found out that operators didn’t just want a better windrower, they wanted a revolutionary new machine that would change the industry. Check out this video to find out what producers really wanted in a new windrower and catch a glimpse of our WR Series windrower in action.

Custom Harvesters And Their Homes Across The Midwest

It’s Kaitlyn again, reporting from the North America custom harvest run. Custom harvesters often work for the same farmers year after year, which allows us to visit the same towns annually. It is not uncommon to hear of a harvester cutting in the same place for a decade or more. We learn the good places to eat, the best fuel stops and of course, the establishments with the coldest drinks. We make friends who often feel like extended family, and every year it feels like we are returning to one of our homes when the wheat ripens in those towns.

Over lunch with the Kulhanek Harvesting crew last week, I learned that Shorty Kulhanek, owner and combine operator, has been on the harvest run “since he was little,”  according to his wife, Donna. When I asked Donna what stop was Shorty’s favorite, her answer was a reminder of how many of us grow up in many harvest towns across the Midwest.

“I’d say Potter, Nebraska would be one of Shorty’s favorite stops,” Donna said. “He’s been going there since he was little and he knows everyone. Shorty knows the area and he really enjoys stopping in Potter every year.”

The “like family” reference shows up commonly among harvesters. Shane Shepherd, a truck driver for Shepherd Harvesting, says his favorite stop is Spearman, Texas because he “practically grew up there with all of the same people every summer. Those people are like family to me.”

Our customers mean a lot to harvesters. Harvesters enjoy cutting for good farmers, and it is great when we can keep the same jobs every year.  My dad cut for the same farmer in Harper, Kansas for 30 years. When our farmer passed away, it was like losing a member of our extended harvest family.

Laramie DeBock, co-owner and combine operator at DeBock Harvesting, says his first stop on the wheat harvest is also his favorite. “My favorite stop is Olney, Texas,” Laramie said. “It’s our first stop so everybody’s excited to get to the field and our farmers are the nicest guys we work for all year. They are very loyal to us and it’s a great joy to work for them.”

While the people are usually one of the deciding factors of a harvester’s favorite stop, that’s not always the case. Jason Wagner, owner and combine operator for Wagner Harvesting, says, “I like all of the people everywhere I go, but my favorite place is probably Onida, South Dakota because of the big open fields.”

When it comes down to me, I’d say Oakley, Kansas is my favorite stop on the Nelson Farms custom run. I can remember making the trip south with my mom and sister to visit Dad in Oakley when I was little. Staying in our camper was cool as a kid and the campground we stayed at had mini-golf and a pool. Plus if the crew was rained out of the field, we would all go exploring at the Monument Rocks. When I was old enough to go on harvest, we were still staying at the same campground as when I was little. We were also cutting for the same farmer. Every time I pass through that area, I make a stop to see our customer and some of the friends I’ve made there. Oakley is just one of the many homes I have across the states we cut through and I’m sure I’m not the only harvester kid who feels like that.

Perhaps it’s traveling for work or being a part of the harvest – Tell us more about your home-away-from-home experiences and what is special about them.

Manure Storage

Question: When someone is overcome by manure gases, it is important for you to get that person out of the area as quickly as possible. True or False?

Answer: False. As animal wastes break down, several gases are produced. These gases are often trapped in manure storage structures that do not have proper ventilation. Of these gases, hydrogen sulfide is the most dangerous and is responsible for the most manure-related deaths of both animals and people. In low concentrations, this gas smells like rotten eggs. But at higher concentrations, it paralyzes the sense of smell. Within seconds of exposure, hydrogen sulfide can cause unconsciousness and then death.

NEVER try to rescue someone who is unconscious in a manure storage structure unless you have proper equipment and knowledge of the situation. Instead, call 911 or your local emergency medical service.  Multiple deaths from manure gases are common because rescuers succumb to the same gases as the victim. It is important that children stay away from manure storage areas. Fencing/child-proofing the area is highly recommended.

This farm safety tip is provided by the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program.  For information on how you can keep your child safe and healthy on the farm, ranch and at home, go to To view a complete list of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days taking place in 2011, visit

Fast Forward-What Did You Think About the Launch?

From the powerful Massey Ferguson HD Loader to the luxurious Fendt 800 Series, the 2011 Fast Forward AGCO North America Launch had much to reveal to dealers this year. We hit the red carpet to get reactions. Here is what we heard…

Are you excited to see these products first-hand at the fall farm shows? Which ones will you be attending?