By Tom Collins
Talking on the phone, making plans, eating a meal and listening to music are a few of the more common things that a farmer does in the cab during harvest, according to a survey conducted by Farmers Forum newspaper.
Farmers Forum spoke to 30 Ontario farmers from Nov. 8 to 22 for a survey about what they do in the cab during harvest that’s unrelated to driving the machine. Most of the responses depended on whether the machines had autosteer or not.
Twenty-nine of 30 farmers said they talk on the phone in the cab. While many of the farmers answered the survey while in the field, quite a few said they would stop driving if they weren’t using a hands-free device.
“I try to discourage any text messaging, cell phone operations and stuff like that unless it’s related to the farm,” said one farmer. “I want everybody to have a cell phone in case of an emergency. But I really discourage text messaging with your girlfriend. We all have a job to do and we have to be safe when we do it. And I can’t be safe in the field if the guy can’t see me standing in front of him flagging him down because he’s looking at his crotch.”
No farmer said he watches movies while driving in the field, but one farmer did say he would watch YouTube videos when he was parked and waiting.
The cab is a great place to think and make future plans, the surveyed showed. Most of the time the thinking revolved around the crop, what the farmer should plant next year, weed control and other farm-related activities.
Eating a meal in the cab was also popular as 25 of 30 farmers said they do so during harvest. One farmer said the cab is the best place to eat a meal, while another said he never eats in the cab as he likes to have both hands free while eating. Another farmer said he schedules lunch breaks for his employees to get them out of the cab.
While some farmers prefer the sound of the machine, 83 per cent say they listen to music. Country was easily the top choice among farmers. Meanwhile, just over half said they listen to talk radio. Two farmers said Rush Limbaugh, found on U.S. radio stations, is can’t-miss radio. Two other farmers said they also listen to podcasts, a recorded audio show downloaded from the Internet to listen to.
Riding with family and friends was another popular activity. While kids may love going for a ride on the combine, some farmers said riding with their spouse was a great way to spend time together.
Only six people said they would read in the cab, with one farmer explaining it would only be to look up something in the owner’s manual.
Six people said they pray in the cab.
“I have prayed when driving my combine,” said one farmer. “You have your eyes open, though. That’s the beauty about prayer; you don’t need to have your eyes closed.”