In the hustle and bustle of planting, it can be incredibly easy to overlook safety risks. The United Soybean Board and University of Illinois offer six quick tips for staying safe this planting season.

  1. Be aware of your transportation risks and make sure your farm vehicles are visible. Some tractors have flashing lights, extremity markings or slow-moving vehicle signs. If yours doesn’t, be sure to pick up a high-visibility sticker or sign to let drivers know you’re there.
  2. Read herbicide, pesticide, fungicide and seed labels. Following precautions about wearing long sleeves, using a dust mask or protecting your eyes can save you from injury. Keep extra labels handy or snap a picture with your phone for quick reference.
  3. Keep your equipment in good shape. Mid-planting mechanical work could open you up to risks from the heavy machinery. Double-check equipment before you get into the field.
  4. Store fuel properly. Keep it away from the shed to reduce the chance of fire and explosion.
  5. Don’t forget about eating and sleeping. You will likely be spending long hours in the field, and skipping meals and sleep can decrease your reaction time and awareness. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the average person needs between seven and nine hours of sleep nightly.
  6. Watch out for children on or around equipment. If a child is with you in the cab, make sure he or she is wearing a seat belt. Teach children to stay a safe distance from moving tractors and other farm equipment.