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Rx for retrofits

CHERYL TEVIS 05/05/2011 @ 9:15am Cheryl has been an editor at Successful Farming since 1979.

Lynn Hageman doesn't complain about his to-do list when he gets out of bed each morning. That's because the Calmar, Iowa, farmer recently gained a new appreciation for life.

In November 2009, Hageman was moving round bales in his open-station tractor at dusk on a gravel road. His 24-year-old son, Aaron, was driving the bale mover ahead of him.

Hageman looked away from the road as he saw Aaron meet another farm implement at a T-intersection. “My tire slipped off the right shoulder, and I rolled over in the ditch,” he says.

A neighbor boy eating dinner with his family saw it and told his mom. Aaron continued driving, unaware of what had happened. The farmer who met Aaron at the intersection called 911.

Hageman was lucky. He was thrown clear of the tractor. The neighbor boy's mom, a nurse, rushed to the scene. As Hageman's wife, Julie, arrived home from work, her neighbor flagged her down.

Hageman suffered back and shoulder injuries and broken ribs, resulting in six months of downtime. He had six weeks of physical therapy. But he survived.

Tractor rollovers are a major source of farm fatalities in the U.S. A 2006 survey reveals that about 40% of the nation's 4.2 million tractors lack rollover protective structures (ROPS).

Before Hageman got back in the seat of his 2950 John Deere the next spring, he had a roll bar installed. The company installed it at cost.

“ROPS save lives,” Hageman says. “I know I have to wear my seat belt, too. A roll bar by itself isn't enough.”

Now there's an online ROPS guide that makes it easier to locate a ROPS retrofit. Search by selecting a tractor make and model number.

ROPS makers

This list is found in the Kentucky ROPS Guide (see Learn More box below). The companies listed below sell ROPS directly to tractor owners. ROPS manufacturers that only supply to manufacturers are not included in the Guide.

• AGCO Corporation. Supplies ROPS for certain Massey-Ferguson models through Heritage Line parts system.

• Bare-Co. Primary U.S. dealer is Sierra Tractor, Shingle Springs, California.

• Case IH. Sold only through authorized Case IH dealers.

• Fredricks Equipment, Inc. Sells directly to customers or through select dealers; 256/773-9951; parts@fredricksequipment.com; http://www.fredericksequipment.com

• Hercules. Primary U.S. dealer is Just Tractor Parts, Apple Valley, California.

• John Deere. Sold only through authorized John Deere dealers.

• Kubota. Only sold through authorized Kubota dealers.

• Laurin. Located in Quebec. Only sells through equipment dealers.

• New Holland. Only sold through authorized New Holland dealers.

• Saf-T-Cab. Sells through equipment dealers or directly to customers; 800/344-7491; stcsales@Saf-T-Cab.com; http://www.saftcab.com/index.htm

“It contains detailed contact information,” says Mark Purschwitz, the University of Kentucky Extension professor and ag safety and health specialist who developed the guide. “It's designed for farmers, dealers, and technicians in the U.S. and Canada. The days of searching scattered computer records and paperwork are over.”

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