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Attention Turns To Harvest Time

We are now well into June which means, with regard to the farming calendar, we are very much occupied with silage harvest time. As a result there is significantly more machinery activity in the fields and on our roads, as silage contractors and farmers operate within a narrow timeframe to ensure harvest is completed.

Tractors are normally insured for any authorised and licenced driver, and it is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to ensure their machinery is roadworthy.

With more tractors and trailers on the roads, one of the biggest issues is claims relating to vehicle lights and particularly indicators that are not functioning properly.

A common claim during this time of year involves machinery turning right into fields or laneways while, simultaneously, another vehicle decides to overtake alongside the right.

To minimise such occurrences and reduce the instances of significant claims, it is imperative that the contractor or tractor owner ensures all the indicators are roadworthy and operating effectively.

A further consideration for contractors during busy times is to ensure their casual or temporary drivers have a valid driving licence and declare any points, prosecutions or convictions. They can do so by reviewing the paper part of a driving licence which will detail any endorsements recorded against the driver

In a situation where the contractor employs someone to drive for them, and the individual either does not possess a valid driving licence or has not declared a conviction, it may result in a claim not being paid.

I cannot emphasise enough the responsibility on contractors and farmers to check the licences of those they employ. Ultimately, it Is the responsibility of the policyholder to make sure the correct information has been declared to their insurer.

Post accident is not an ideal time to uncover an active driving conviction. The worst time to discover any blemishes on a driver’s licence is after something has happened. To ensure protection, we always encourage farmers and contractors to check the licences.

It is imperative that drivers take adequate rest breaks.  We are all too aware of the role that driver fatigue can potentially play in causing an avoidable accident. Taking regular breaks or operating drivers in shift patterns will reduce tiredness and ensure the driver’s reaction time, in the event of an incident, is not compromised.

Silage pits are also extremely busy and dangerous places at harvest time. Farmers must ensure those working and living in close proximity to the area are made aware of the dangers associated with the pits, and ensure boundaries are understood and upheld.

In some instances, a farmer may request that the contractor allows their children to have a ride in the tractor during harvest. Primarily, it is against the law to allow a child under 13 to ride on or drive a tractor and certain other farm machinery. The law also requires that contractors make sure their risk assessment for young people under the age of 18 takes full account of their inexperience, immaturity and lack of awareness of relevant risks.

If you are looking for further information or advice on agricultural vehicle insurance, public liability or any other issue relating to farm insurance then please contact the specialist Farm Team at AbbeyAutoline, 08000 66 55 44 or visit


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