Spring is here, and due to soil conditions, frost boils and sink holes there is the potential for equipment to get stuck during seeding time. Knowing your land and being armed with the proper tools and knowledge will prevent an equipment extraction from going wrong.
Recovery straps and ropes are your safest option
Because they are light, stretchable, and do not have any metal hardware, recovery straps and ropes are a good safe option for extracting stuck equipment or vehicles. They are designed to absorb the jerking motion of pulling, and the continued stretch builds up tension which aids in smooth pulling.
The strength of a recovery strap is determined by two factors:
· Width – a wider strap equals more strength
· Plies (layers) – more plies equals more strength
All straps will come with a weight rating on the label.
Tow ropes and tow straps are not a favourable option because their intended use is for towing, therefor they do not stretch.
All chains have a grade. If they have ever pulled a load that exceeds their grade or been used numerous times they will stretch.
If you are going to use a chain to pull out stuck equipment, it must be designed for recovery and be the correct grade. The hook attached to it must also be an equivalent grade. If they are different grades, the breaking point is the lowest number of the two.
· A grade 80 chain can be used for most vehicles.
· A grade 100 chain is required for larger farm equipment.
· Tip - Attach labels indicating grade rating to each chain.
It is never safe to make a loop at the end of a chain and attach it with a clevis. This compromises the strength of the chain. The same applies to looping and hooking a chain back onto itself.
Using a properly rated clevis attached to a recovery strap allows the strap to cover a larger surface area, distributing the stress on the strap more evenly. Ensure that the clevis rating is equal to or higher than the recovery strap.
Other important tips
· Straps and ropes should be attached to the pin, not the clevis or shackle.
· If you have a toolbox in the truck bed, open the lid to protect the driver of the towing vehicle against flying debris.
· Always inspect the tailpipe of the stuck vehicle. If it is in the mud or somehow obstructed, exhaust gases may build up inside the stuck vehicle or equipment.
· If possible, lighten the load of the stuck equipment or disconnect any trailers / implements.
· To reduce the risk of injury from flying debris, keep the towing vehicle as close to the stuck equipment as possible.
· Never hook to a bumper. If the vehicle is buried, dig until the proper tow hook can be used.
· Always tow in the lowest gear. If the tow vehicle stalls, call a professional or get a larger tow vehicle.
Finally, remain calm. Getting angry will only increase the likelihood of a missed critical step, or a blown transmission. Ensure that any bystanders remain at a minimum 100 foot radius. Happy seeding!