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Unbogged: on the spot to share advice on farm safety

Updated: May 2, 2023

Nicole Baxter taking a photo of Rhys Dive and Jamie Wright (behind Rhys) at the Grenfell showgrounds.

By Nicole Baxter

One of the joys of assisting clients with communication is meeting and taking photographs of people and equipment to share important safety information.

In 2022, Grains Research and Development Corporation grower relations manager – north – Graeme Sandral asked me to attend a safety workshop at the Grenfell showgrounds.

The task was to gather photos and information on how to recover bogged machinery safely for an article for GRDC’s bimonthly GroundCover™ magazine.

A motivation for the article was to keep people safe after three people had died earlier in the year trying to recover bogged farm machinery.

Seeing growers and grower group personnel offer support in the lead-up to harvest by running workshops, making videos and sharing pictures on social media has been heartening.

Growers helping growers

Jamie Wright from Greenethorpe, New South Wales, and Harvey Matthews from Piney Range, NSW, spearheaded the Grenfell workshop.

They expected 40 people to attend but were astounded when almost 600 growers turned up.

Other event supporters that day included Delta Agribusiness, NSW Farmers, Curruthers Machinery Co, Hutcheon & Pearce, South West Tractors and South West Tilt Trays.

Mr Wright shared some knowledge from Kondinin Group’s research engineer Ben White. Following is a summary:

  • Avoid wet areas.

  • Lighten loads.

  • Remove the front if a header is bogged.

  • Keep trucks out of paddocks.

  • Reverse drive tyres.

  • Reduce tyre pressures.

  • Use a shovel.

  • Go steady.

  • Pre-fit wire cables.

Mr Wright and Tom Matthews had pre-fit wire cables to their harvesters to make it easier to retrieve their bogged harvesters.

I photographed these assemblies to show what could be done to avoid digging out mud from underneath a harvester to fit axle straps after a machine becomes bogged. Check out ‘Knowledge shared to safely recover bogged machinery' to see the pictures.

On the same day as the Grenfell event, Kondinin Group engineers Ben White and Josh Giumelli were in Western Australia shooting a safety video for GrainGrowers with input from House Paddock Consulting. This video helpfully demonstrates how to fit axle straps and snatch straps to a harvester.

Birchip Cropping Group event

A week after attending the Grenfell safety workshop, Birchip Cropping Group ran an event for 550 Victorian growers, which I also reported on for GRDC’s GroundCover™ magazine.

Since then, BGC’s Kelly Angel has published a Special Technical Bulletin – Recovering Vehicles.

Social media

The Facebook group ‘Bogged in the crop 2022’ has also seen some 18,200 members join its page to glean and share information and advice on bogged machinery.

Our hearts go out to those across the country still trying to harvest their crops on wet and boggy soils. Grain growers are resilient, but we are also mindful that mental strain can take its toll when machinery frequently becomes bogged.

Here are some helpful resources:

We hope you stay safe in 2023 and that this year brings higher yields and fewer bogs.

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