As we prepare for seeding it is important to consider looking after our most valuable resource, us! Sometimes we can be so busy preparing machines, ordering fertiliser and chemicals that we forget about ourselves.

Everyone knows that a shortcut is often the longest way home. When we take shortcuts regarding our wellbeing it increases our risk factors dramatically i.e. working longer than a ten hour shift increases risk significantly.

What men in particular don't do well is consider the consequences of risk taking. Consequences are something we must live with, so in your preparation for seeding limit your personal risk, and if what you are planning is an overstretch, reconsider your options.

In addition to the usual seeding preparations perhaps we should follow the lead of other industries, such as mining and construction, where clear guidelines on safe parameters for work have been implemented.

Some things to reflect on when considering your wellbeing include:

  • Fatigue management; limiting your working time to no more than 14 hours in a 24 hour period. This includes travel to and from the job so you must have at least ten hours off in every day. Seeding might be over a relatively short period but this work strategy should not be compromised.
  • Pre start exercises; I would be surprised if many farmers begin a shift with some limbering up exercises. It is a known fact that this type of start to the day significantly reduces muscle injuries.
  • Factored in regular breaks; this also reduces the impact of fatigue and increases our capacity to beat boredom, which often leads to expensive mistakes and machine damage.
  • Suitable dietary needs; how often are you eating and what are are you snacking on? It is not just about good meals it is also about good snacks that are nutritious and correctly timed. A good meal is very beneficial at the beginning of a shift and a light meal at the end is beneficial in helping to promote good sleep.
  • Adequate sleep; for most people this is about seven to eight hours in every twenty four hour cycle. It is not possible to reduce this and still function properly. Remember this is "sleep" not just being in bed!
  • Family time; it is important to factor in a day off regularly. Preferably a day every week but at least one day in fourteen should be set aside. I know we feel pressure to keep going, but remember this is about maintaining maximum production and sometimes we make the mistake of thinking working longer is a smart option. Most times this leads to costly lapses in concentration with the potential for damaging consequences.

This time of year is hectic, but a controlled and planned approach will pay dividends. Don't overstretch without considering what could happen as we all know sometimes disasters do happen unnecessarily.

Have a good day.

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