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A close call today on tractor


Trigger Mike

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It's potato planting time.  It's also too high to buy fertilizer as the cost is more than double what it was last year.  I thought I had found a solution. 

 

The power company had pulled all of their wooden poles out of the ground as they are using cement poles now.  They kindly put lime and fertilizer and planted rye.  All good for most crops.  I thought I'd plant where their fertilizer is.   

 

The edge of where they planted rye was still wet.  I turned to head the tractor parallel and run my disc harrow up to where I usually plant.  

 

I didn't make it.  The tractor got stuck.  It sank halfway up its wheels.  

 

My son had just returned from school.   He came out with a bigger tractor.  We hooked up the Bubba rope and tried several times.   We then pulled the harrow off and tried again.   We were making progress.   Then I heard a loud BOOM and realized the Bubba rope had broken free from his tractor and flew thru the back glass and went past my head and busted the front window.   4 windows total.  

 

I had multiple cuts on my right arm.  Glass in my teeth, though small.  Glass just under my eyes and hair and in my mud boot.  I accidentally swallowed the tiny glass in my mouth.  

 

God sure did look out for me.   

20220217_160553.jpg

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Toss a heavy tarp over the center of a tow rope/cable, it takes the energy of the rope parting. 

 

Glad you are mostly OK.    I stuck an Allis with cultivator on it when I was young, trying to cross a drainage ditch in the wrong spot.    Up to the rear axle.

 

good luck, GJ

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No fun, great good fortune despite the injury.  I have had it happen on a smaller scale, Farm all tractor without a windshield, juts missed.  One that freaked me out was when a front tire blew on the tractor with a load on the forks.  Thought the tractor was going to go over.  Best wishes for a quick recovery!

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Why I’ve always liked using chains , when they break they typically just drop , cable can get pretty nasty when it lets loose also . 
My dad told me he once saw cable bury in the armor plate of a tank when the cable from a tank retriever broke 

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Yep, got the tractor out.  My son had to go to work, and it takes 2 people to do it, so I called a local tow service that came out with a skid steer with a cage over their window shield.  He pulled it out without any trouble. 

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Just glad you are okay.

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When I was in school, the dad of one of my class mates wound up in a wheel chair from using one of those snatch ropes.  In his case the clevis pin failed and the recoil of the rope propelled the clevis into the seat of the tractor he was driving. The force of the impact sheared the seat off just above the rockshaft on a JD 4020. Shoved him and the seat into the console, shattering his pelvis and both femurs as well as breaking several ribs. 

 

Haven't used one of those things since. 

 

We used two good log chains with an old tire between them. The tire adsorbs any shock and prevents the chain flying should something break. 

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I do frequent heavy logging with very big skidding and log loading tractors on steep terrain, up to 70% slopes.  Broken choker chains and heavy cables are more commonplace than most people would expect, and failures of either can easily can be fatal to a driver, crew or bystanders .   They snap without warning, and do not allow ANY reaction/avoidance time. 

 

 When doing linear pulling,  ALWAYS place a dampener across the middle of the pull line in at least one and preferably two places, as Garrison Joe described above.  The dampener can be a heavy tarp, or on heavy jobs it can be a log, second choker chain, or anything else with enough mass to dampen the snap of the pull line so that its whipping end cannot reach the driver before it becomes de-energized.  A broken choker cable or chain can easily and instantly decapitate a driver, and as you learned, the windows offer little protection. 

 

I will not skid logs on cables or chains without a proper forestry cage for the driver.  if the tractor has a bucket, pull in reverse and position the bucket or blade up high, between the load and driver.

I've seen some very bad accidents in the past.  Please heed this advice wheneve heavy pulling or winching.  

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I do not like using synthetic ropes or straps for towing or winching. If I have to, I do as Garrison Joe described. I put a tarp or even a rolled up bunch of rope over the tow rope to keep it from flying if it snaps. 
 

When I was in the Navy a synthetic line snapped when a Tender was tying up to the dock directly across the pier from our ship. I heard the shotgun like crack of the line snapping. I heard a scream and yelling. I saw blood streaming over the side of the ship. A sailor on that ship lost his legs. He did survive. 
Helluva lesson for everyone on where to stand when taking up slack and pulling the line taut with a capstan. 
We were taught “When using synthetic line stand clear & outside the line away from the railing. When using natural line stand inside the line closer to the ships railing”. 
Here is a Navy training video on Synthetic Line Handling. Check out the video just after 3 minutes. The crew affected are mannequins. Kind of makes you wonder which side of synthetic line is safe to stand on. 
 

 

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Glad you are OK.  I have left tractor stuck until it dries enough to drive out. 

 

This is the time of year I usually get stuck cause of thawed clay on top of frozen ground. Slick up the tires and I have to run out the winch and snatches. 

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I own a tractor, and have used them most of my life.  That said, I'm constantly conscious that during my career in rural Law Enforcement, have responded to a dozen or so fatality accidents and a whole bunch of non-fatal accidents involving tractors and other farm equipment.  

 

Glad you are ok.  It could have been way worse.

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Chains good.

Rope bad.

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11 hours ago, Buckshot Bob said:

Why I’ve always liked using chains , when they break they typically just drop , cable can get pretty nasty when it lets loose also . 
My dad told me he once saw cable bury in the armor plate of a tank when the cable from a tank retriever broke 

Not always though. A friend of mine decades ago was out with the gang at night 4 wheeling in big trucks. One got stuck, they got out the chain and started pulling at which time the chain broke. No problem, hook up again and finally got it out. When everybody got back in their respective trucks, one girl just sat there on the bank. Yep, she had died, a chain link went thru her chest and killed her right there.:( Always as GJ said, cover the tow rope/chain/cable with a tarp or blanket---It could save your life.

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11 minutes ago, Eyesa Horg said:

Not always though. A friend of mine decades ago was out with the gang at night 4 wheeling in big trucks. One got stuck, they got out the chain and started pulling at which time the chain broke. No problem, hook up again and finally got it out. When everybody got back in their respective trucks, one girl just sat there on the bank. Yep, she had died, a chain link went thru her chest and killed her right there.:( Always as GJ said, cover the tow rope/chain/cable with a tarp or blanket---It could save your life.

I know, your still better off to have something to take up the shock , especially if you’re trying to yank it out, or getting some sort of running start . But a chain just has less stretch than a strap or cable. I’ve seen chains just drop to the ground, I’ve never seen that from a strap , but to some people that elasticity is a plus, I’ve never felt it was worth the risk . Chain is heavy and inconvenient but I feel the safer option to do something that almost always has the potential for something bad to happen 

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You can also get killed if it doesn’t give , a couple days after I graduated high school one of my friends died while pulling a stump with a tractor and a chain, rolled the tractor on himself . Farming can be a dangerous business. I’ve met allot of old farmers missing parts of their bodies.

When I was a kid it always amazed me how many farmers were missing fingers. 

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Glad you're OK. Farm equipment are one of the most dangerous, unlike construction equipment alot didn't have roll bar. Had a uncle pull himself off the seat trying

  to trip the disk, turn him self in to bologna slices, found him late that night when he didn't show up for supper.

Be safe out there, alot of good info here.

   Rob

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2 hours ago, Utah Bob #35998 said:

Chains good.

Rope bad.

In general, that's right.  But chains are heavy to carry around and require huge blocks if you need compounding or directionals.  But I agree they're safest (if G70 or higher).  Lower grade chain, even in larger guages like 1/2" will link-stretch or snap under very high tension, like from a track skid steer or dozer.  In my logging work, rope and synthetics are never used. They are light to carry and rig, but they're very prone to snapping or shearing and are therefore very dangerous.  When a pulling line snaps, a log gets loose, rolling down a steep slope.  Never a good thing!

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31 minutes ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

In general, that's right.  But chains are heavy to carry around and require huge blocks if you need compounding or directionals.  But I agree they're safest (if G70 or higher).  Lower grade chain, even in larger guages like 1/2" will link-stretch or snap under very high tension, like from a track skid steer or dozer.  In my logging work, rope and synthetics are never used. They are light to carry and rig, but they're very prone to snapping or shearing and are therefore very dangerous.  When a pulling line snaps, a log gets loose, rolling down a steep slope.  Never a good thing!

When I lived in northern Ca I knew quite a few loggers there and in Or . Those guys were in shape from going up and down those slopes and cutting all day . It’s not a job for old men 

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2 hours ago, Buckshot Bob said:

I know, your still better off to have something to take up the shock , especially if you’re trying to yank it out, or getting some sort of running start . But a chain just has less stretch than a strap or cable. I’ve seen chains just drop to the ground, I’ve never seen that from a strap , but to some people that elasticity is a plus, I’ve never felt it was worth the risk . Chain is heavy and inconvenient but I feel the safer option to do something that almost always has the potential for something bad to happen 

 

That's why we put an old truck tire between two high quality chains. It acts as a shock absorber without the hazards of synthetic rope.

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5 hours ago, Buckshot Bob said:

When I lived in northern Ca I knew quite a few loggers there and in Or . Those guys were in shape from going up and down those slopes and cutting all day . It’s not a job for old men 

I'm 72 and still doing it on my own timberland and at my own pace, but I have to admit that a couple hours on a 48" saw is tough on my back and shoulders now.   Just a few short years ago, I could go all day.  But 70 was like hitting a wall.   Everything slowed down except the workload needing to be done.  Never ends!

 

 

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I bought a tarp today for the next time.  I also told my son, next time we will use the loader to raise the front, tie off on the front axle and use the loader to run interference in case it breaks.  

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On 2/18/2022 at 9:31 AM, Buckshot Bob said:

You can also get killed if it doesn’t give , a couple days after I graduated high school one of my friends died while pulling a stump with a tractor and a chain, rolled the tractor on himself . Farming can be a dangerous business. I’ve met allot of old farmers missing parts of their bodies.

When I was a kid it always amazed me how many farmers were missing fingers. 

Hook to the drawbar only, nothing else.

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Much good sound advice here!
My oilfield tenure was before straps came into being, or hadn't yet reached the Appalachian oilfield (Appalachian Ohio is 50 to 75 years behind the rest of the Buckeye socioeconomically!)

I've known broken chains, and a friend of ours sustained a fractured tib-fib from carelessly stepping into a loop of wire line as it was being tightened up to pull the guts out of a Berea well.

I've been told of the ill effects of tow straps but have  no personal experience with them, so when a thread like this comes along --

To quote the late Paul Harvey --

I am listening with both eyes!

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