Loading and Hauling

The month of April is almost here, which means the time to begin Spring fieldwork is nearly upon us. Preparing the ground for planting requires us to load materials, haul weight, and travel on the road to the field. Maintaining safety, even in the rush to prepare the land for planting, can set you up for a successful 2024 season.


Attaching a front-end loader to a tractor can change its centre of gravity. When the loader is raised, the centre of gravity is also raised and can therefore reduce the stability of the machine. Always keep the bucket low to the ground when driving, go as close to the unloading site as possible before raising the loader, and drive in a straight line when you’re raising the loader to unload. A counterweight attached to the back of the tractor may be necessary. Do not load on uneven ground, as the risk of a rollover increases with the higher centre of gravity.

Hauling weight

We’ll soon be hauling full wagons to the field to come back empty, in hopes that empty wagons will come back full at harvest. Before you put any weight on a trailer or implement, inspect your tires. Tires should be properly inflated, rated for the load, and not showing any signs of weathering or wear and tear. Take your time when you’re hauling weight, and give yourself extra time and space to stop. Increased weight on the vehicle creates a higher demand on the brakes, and stopping distance can be greatly affected. Ensure your load is evenly distributed, as an uneven distribution can affect handling. 


Make yourself visible when you’re traveling on the road. Use slow-moving vehicle signs if you are traveling under 40 km/h. Hazard lights on both tractors and implements can help make other drivers aware of your presence on the road. A good rule of thumb is to check all your lights as part of your pre-trip inspection.

Farm Safety Nova Scotia has a free online Tractor and Farm Machinery Awareness course available on Skillspass. Whether you are new to farm machinery operation, or would like to brush up your knowledge before the busy season, you can access it through our website by clicking here.