Top tips for staying safe during sugar beet drilling

23 March 2022

NFU Sugar board member Simon Smith in a field holding sugar beet

Find out NFU Sugar's top tips for staying safe during this year's drilling season.

As drilling of the 2022 sugar beet crop commences, NFU Sugar urges you to place safety at the forefront of your mind. There are actions that we can all take to reduce injuries and ultimately save lives.

Keeping everyone safe

"The safety of all involved in agriculture must come first."
Simon Smith, NFU Sugar board vice-chair

As part of the health and safety campaign launched between NFU Sugar and British Sugar this week, NFU Sugar board vice-chair Simon Smith provides an insight into the key things to think about in order to keep everyone safe throughout the season.

His top tips are:

  • Build a good relationship with local electricity companies, which could include a site visit around the farm to identify possible hazards.
  • Carry out risk assessments on overhead power lines on land ahead of starting drilling and review them before harvest.
  • Check your insurance for health and safety requirements.
  • Ahead of harvest, undertake a full safety briefing with staff and contractors.
  • Ensure all farm staff take the LANTRA health and safety online module, subsidised to £18 if you are an NFU member. You can find out more on NFUonline, and non-members can register via LANTRA's page.
  • Check the height of power lines (which can sag over time) in relation to machinery.
  • Ensure machine cabs are kitted out with emergency contact numbers, including the distribution network operator (DNO), and fire extinguishers.
  • If you have power lines running across the field, try to drill crops 'with' the lines, so that when harvest comes you are lifting away from, rather than underneath, them.
  • Work on crop areas around telegraph polls/pylons during the day (rather than at night when visibility is worse).

Safety must come first

"The safety of all involved in agriculture must come first," Simon said.

"I urge you to consider how your actions today may influence the safety of you and others later in the season during the sugar beet campaign."

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