Skid steer safety and Agronomy Day

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

Well the weather yo-yo continues with the weekend being pretty mild. The good thing is we are increasing in daylight every day and spring is one more day closer. I am hopeful that ground hog, what’s his name, from Pennsylvania on February second tells us some good news.

No matter what, winter will continue to hang around and we may still get some snow.

With enough snow, comes the task of clearing snow so we can get out of our driveways and farms. One machine I see being used is a skid steer.

Skid loaders are an ever-increasing popular piece of equipment used by farmers, agri-businesses, landscape companies and the construction industry. It is estimated that over 30,000 skid loaders are purchased from equipment manufactures annually in the United States.

They are compact, powerful, and versatile machines that can fit into small spaces, and turn within a very tight radius. Primary functions of a skid loader include pushing, scraping, scooping, lifting, and dumping materials. What makes this machine so versatile is a variety of attachments that can make efficient work when completing a variety of tasks.

Skid loaders can be easy to operate; however the operator must know the machine’s capabilities, as well as its limitations. If you rent or own a skid steer you need to be aware of skid loader operator safety.

There are four critical areas that need to be considered:

Machine maintenance

• Stay clear of moving parts.

• Inspect the machine each day before use.

• Ensure shields and guards are in place.

• Repair leaking fittings or damaged hydraulic hoses.

Mounting and dismounting

• Face the machine and maintain 3 points of contact.

• Keep steps clean from mud, oil, or debris.

• Always enter with the loader arms down.

• Never use the controls as handholds.

• Avoid jumping off when exiting.

Safe operation

• Understand the controls and the safety equipment of the machine.

• Keep riders off of the machine.

• Be aware of potential site hazards.

• Be aware of bystanders or coworkers.

• Before backing, ensure that there is a clear travel path.

• Understand how attachments change the operation and handling of the machine.

• Lower all attachments to the ground before shut down.

Stability c

• Travel with the heavy end uphill.

• Use caution on slopes and avoid abrupt turns at high speeds.

• Evenly distribute materials to stabilize the load.

• Avoid overloading; check the owner’s manual for the load capacity.

• Keep loads close to the ground to aid with visibility and lower the machine’s center of gravity.

• Loader attachments can alter the machine’s center of gravity.

For more information about the OSU Ag Safety visit or contact Kent McGuire, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-0588.

Agronomy Day

Mark your calendars for February 6 for the Southwest Ohio Agronomy Day and Southwest Ohio Corm Growers Annual meeting. The program will be held at the Clinton County Fairgrounds Expo Building, 948 W. Main St., Wilmington beginning at 10 a,m. and concluding at 3 p.m

The day will include discussions on weed management, a fungicide update and southern rust. A look at soybean variety selection and foliar inputs, an update on field crop insects we should be concerned with, and soybean disease management. The topics will be presented by Ohio State University Crop specialists.

Other items will be a report from the Ohio Corn Growers Assn. and a short annual SW Ohio Corn Grower mtg.

This event is FREE but we would like a reservation by calling 937-382-0901. CCA Credits will be available as well. The program is sponsored by the SW Ohio Corn Growers and Seed Consultants.

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 29 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension