Corn harvest heralds large farm equipment on roads

Right now it’s doubly dangerous for farmers moving equipment on Virginia’s roadways. That’s because some farmers are busy harvesting corn, while others are applying crop protectants on their soybean fields.

“This means a lot of farm equipment on the roads all at one time,” noted Robert Harper, grain manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Combines and sprayers and augers are all going to be moving on the highways and back roads from farm to farm.”

According to the National Ag Safety Database, “transporting agricultural machinery from one field to the next by way of public roads is a necessity for many in agriculture.”


Photo Credit: flownaksala

Motorists who are unfamiliar with slow-moving agricultural machinery “can make this a dangerous situation,” the NASD shared on its website.

“I’m on a busy commuter road where people drive on it but don’t live there,” said Steven Crocker, who raises grain in Isle of Wight County. He’s in the middle of harvesting corn and said transporting a combine can be a big challenge.

“People want to pass you and don’t give you enough time to get over; they want to pass you in two seconds,” Crocker said. “We can’t get over quickly; we’ll turn over.”

He said bridges are especially troublesome because even the ones billed as two lanes are too narrow for a vehicle and a piece of farm equipment. “If it’s an 18-foot bridge, oncoming cars need to stop, because the wheel base of a grain combine is 15 feet. You do the math.”

Crocker said he’s landed in ditches a couple of times due to other drivers trying to pass him, but fortunately has never overturned his equipment.

Drivers may not realize how large farm equipment is, how hard it is to pass and how slow it travels, explained Jonathan Grimes, a Wythe County farmer and chairman of the VFBF Young Farmers safety subcommittee.

That group has been trying to find ways to educate drivers about what to do when they encounter farm equipment on the road.

Grimes said more farmers are renting or buying land wherever they can find it, and that often means they need to move equipment between locations.

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.


Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press news