Keep Roads Clean During Planting Season

April showers bring spring mud. With mud comes dirty tractor tires after spring chores and the risk of a fine if you track debris onto the road.

Lieutenant Bill Berger with the Wisconsin State Patrol reminds us it’s against the law to track mud, manure, and other farm debris on the roadway. He shares strategies to avoid a large fine.

1. Minimize Debris

Manually scrape off the tires in the field with an ice scraper. Before returning to the roadway, travel along the edge of the field in the grass to fling off the mud before getting to the road.

2. Contact Officials

It’s common for farmers to try to remove mud or manure from the roadway with a skid loader or a mechanical broom. But, you need to consider legal implications. Doing work within the state or federal highway right-of-way requires a right-of-way work permit from a regional DOT highway office. If the road is on a township or county highway, contact local officials in charge of road maintenance.

3. Take Safety Precautions

The Wisconsin State Patrol does not endorse farmers clearing the road themselves due to the high level of danger. If you do decide to take action yourself, take safety precautions for both the operator and the general motoring public.

  • Remove debris when traffic is light
  • Consider sight distances and natural obstructions such as hills or curves which can prevent oncoming traffic from seeing you
  • Have flashing warning lights
  • Have a spotter watch for oncoming traffic, and make sure the spotter is wearing a safety vest and carrying an orange or red flag to wave

4. Practice General Road Safety

Both farmers and motorists should be patient and alert this spring as more implements of husbandry (IOH) begin sharing the road during planting season. The DOT reports that in the last decade, Wisconsin saw more than 30 deaths and nearly 900 injuries in accidents involving ag equipment.

As Wisconsin’s number one farm insurer, it’s important to us to educate on the risks farmers face so we can help prevent accidents and protect them. Talk with your local Rural Mutual agent about how we can protect your farm.