It won’t be long before you venture out into the fields to begin spring work, and if your land has seen a lot of precipitation, you’re probably aware of those patches of ground that seem to lie in wait for the opportunity to swallow up your equipment. I always see unseeded low spots that were just too wet to venture through, but once in awhile you get caught by surprise in an area you would not have expected would be wet. Before you know it, you’re up to your axles in mud! Tom Bechman, an Indiana Prairie Farmer has some great tips and reminders so you don’t make matters worse by wrecking equipment or more importantly, wrecking people. He recommends assessing the situation and keeping in mind the following checklist:
- How deep is the implement buried? Is the frame dragging the ground?
- How much does the stuck implement weigh?
- Ensure towing vehicle is large and heavy enough with good traction.
- Make certain chains, cables, straps or ropes are properly rated and in good condition.
- Keep the tailpipe uncovered.
- Dig around tires if necessary to help free the implement.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Consider disconnecting trailers or implements or unloading to reduce weight and further damage.
- Get towing vehicle as close as possible to avoid flying debris.
- Position the towing unit on higher ground if possible. Pulling “up” works better.
- Pull in a straight line if possible, even if it means pulling backwards.
- Make only two attachment points, one on each vehicle. Make sure they will hold under pressure.
- Hook from the bottom so if hook breaks, it will fall to the ground, not launch in the air.
- Place clevis directly on equipment, with strap or rope on pin of clevis.
- Place something heavy on the strap, chain cable or rope, like a cable blanket.
- Protect windshields.
- Remove nonessential people from the danger zone.
- Start in first or low gear applying power slowly and smoothly.
Mr. Bechman also says to assess post-pull damage after the removal of equipment, and recognize when a job should be left to professionals. It’s all common sense, but sometimes these pointers are buried under mounds of mud, impatience and frustration. Be safe out there this spring!
-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store