Farm equipment is taking to the roads - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farm equipment is taking to the roads

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You may have noticed some extra large vehicles slowing down traffic on South Georgia roads over the last few weeks.

It's harvest time for some of our areas major crops.  And more farm equipment is on the roads.

Armond Morris has been a farmer in Irwinville for more than four decades.

"We got 1000 acres of peanuts and around 1200 acres of cotton this year," he said.

With so many acres under cultivation, it's no surprise that his land is quite spread out, and it's not all in the same place.

"We have some land toward the Berrien County line, toward the south side of Irwin County," he said.

With this being the harvest season for peanuts and cotton, there is plenty of this going on. But sometimes to get from field to field his farm equipment has to take to the road.

Morris said, "we have to travel 10, 15 up to 20 miles."

Drivers who aren't paying attention can run into one of these machines, which is usually a losing battle for the vehicle.

Trooper Robert Corbin of the Georgia State Patrol Albany said, "we have worked a number of crashes involving farm vehicles."

One of the main problems with farm equipment is their speed.  After all, a peanut digger is meant for the field, not the highway.

"They run 23 to 26 miles an hour or so," said Morris.

Another problem is it's size.

Vehicles like this peanut digger are 18 feet wide, that means that they take up most of the rural roads here in South Georgia.  And that means that you need to be careful when you approach one of these vehicles.

For drivers in a hurry, sitting behind one of these big farm vehicles can be frustrating but the state patrol reminds drivers to be patient.

Trooper Corbin said, "take your time - when he finds a spot to move over, he will move over."

Troopers also say that one of the biggest causes of accidents is depth perception.  After all, if you're doing 60 miles per hour and the tractor is doing 20, you'll catch up with it in a hurry. They remind drivers to pass with caution and to remember one thing.

"Tractors have every right to be on the road," said Trooper Corbin.

The more these vehicles can move around, the more acres they can harvest. And that means more money for the farmer - and for the South Georgia economy.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation there were more than 300 crashes between farm equipment and regular over-the-road vehicles in 2010, with three fatalities.

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