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Watch the roads during harvest

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POSTED: October 25, 2013 11:30 a.m.

It is that time again — autumn. School is back in session, and the Seafood Fest has had another successful year. The Pembroke Christmas Parade will be on us in no time.  
And something else seasonal will be showing up on our local roadways, especially in the north end of the county — farm equipment.
As Luke Bryan sings, “It’s harvest time in this little town. Time to bring it on in. Pay the loans down. Fill our diesel tank up and make another round.”  Getting combines, tractors, module makers, boll buggies and labor from field to field and cotton delivered to the gin is going to add wide, slow-moving farm equipment to our roadways.
The county sheriff and judges likely will tell you that farm equipment has just as much right to be on the roads as you do. I argue that they have more right to be there, because the specific reason the roads were created was to move farm goods to market.
Expect to see slow farm equipment around every curve and at the top of each hill. Treat farm equipment with the same respect you would a school bus. Accident reports show that in collisions of farm equipment with vehicles, the farm worker is twice as likely to be killed as the occupants of the vehicle that struck him.
We can’t afford to lose farmers. The average age of a farmer in Georgia is 65 years. We do not have a ready supply of replacements coming along. I don’t know about you, but I prefer clothing made of cotton rather than petroleum. Let’s give them and ourselves a break — or should I say, brake.
Also, do not overdrive your headlights. It’s a dumb thing to do any time, but particularly risky during harvest. Cotton harvest does not start in the morning until the dew burns off and the bolls are dry and does not stop until dew starts to settle again after dark. On a crisp, dry day, dew may not settle until late into the night. Combines have to harvest when they can.
Even if the combine is left in the field, expect a pickup to appear where a driveway may not be obvious. That can be surprising during the day and downright deadly at night, especially if Johnny Leadfoot has lubed himself up at the Dew Drop Inn and wants to feel the wind in his hair, which is likely to happen after he is ejected at high speed just before he kisses that tree.
As the sergeant in “Hill Street Blues” would say, “Let’s be careful out there.”     
The traditional window for getting pre-emerge herbicide down on lawns for winter weed control is “usually” Oct. 1-15 for our area. Soil temperatures still are above 72 degrees, so there is time to make an application if you have not gotten around to it yet.  
The only thing left to plant in fall gardens is onion sets, and they should be in by Nov. 1.   
Halloween is coming up. Kids will be out on our neighborhood streets. Drive accordingly.

Gardner lives in Keller and is the UGA extension agent for Glynn County, serving South Bryan.

 

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