Harvest season is in full swing and Federated Farmers is urging motorists and the operators of agricultural machinery to show each other some care and understanding.
“Not everyone has appreciated the recent sweltering temperatures in some South Island districts but for arable farmers in the middle of harvesting, the golden weather is both a bonus and a race to get crops in before Mother Nature switches moods,” Feds arable industry chair and Waimate farmer Colin Hurst said.
New Zealand’s $2.2 billion arable industry is an important part of NZ’s export earnings, economy and employment. Hurst said during harvest, combine harvesters, large tractors towing implements and other oversize agricultural vehicles often need to use public roads to move between different parts of the farm and between farms.
“They’re bulky and of necessity – and by law – move at lower speeds than other motorists.
“Farmers are asking other drivers to show a bit of patience and common sense when coming across these large vehicles on the road,” Hurst said.
“If a tractor or harvester does pull over to the edge of the road, take your opportunity to pass if you can do so safely. Most of them will be moving no faster than 30-40kmh or so, so it’s not essential to have the same several hundred metres of clear road ahead needed when overtaking much faster-moving vehicles.”
Refusing to pass can result in a long line-up of vehicles and that’s when some drivers’ patience frays and they do something risky, Hurst said.
Feds is also urging the operators of farm vehicles to keep traffic flows in mind, and to remember their responsibilities in terms of protruding implements/headers and, where required, use of beacons and hazard panels.