Welcome to the ACRE

The Agronomy Center for Research and Education, ACRE, is an outdoor laboratory for Purdue Agriculture. Used for field research and hands-on teaching, the 1,135 acre farm is a busy place with faculty, staff, student, and visitor activity. I am Jim Beaty. I have been Superintendent of the ACRE since 1986. With my four full time staff members, part time help, and student employees we are responsible for operating the research farm. About 53 university researchers conduct projects here at the ACRE. I plan to write about our research, visitors, and farm safety thoughts.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #20

Agriculture presents many weather and time sensitive procedures and tasks. Even though you are feeling stressed and want to get a lot done before a rain starts, take a deep breath, rethink the steps of your tasks, and BE SAFE. Jim

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #19

I would like to provide a primer for your “Project Specific” Safety plan. Start by thinking about the protocols and processes involved to conduct your research at ACRE. Then mentally visualize the procedures. Now jot down the hazards. Next organize it into a simple outline. At least at this point you are ready to discuss safety with every person involved in your project, especially the new person that shows up on your busiest day. A simple example might be; Weed string trimmer; protect eyes, ears, toes, long pants; fuel warning Roto-tiller; Fuel warning, safe starting, protect toes, avoid hand injuries while tillers are turning Threshing single plants; moving parts hazard, do not stick fingers or hands inside threshing throat; disconnect electric power before unplugging material jams Dehydration and sunburn Field plot equipment guidelines Transportation; never ride in the back of a pick-up; obey posted signs, watch for others esp. farm equipment Electrical hazards; Pesticides; PTO (Power Take-off) dangers I hope this helps you get started. Remember think, plan, and work safely at ACRE.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #18

Powered equipment at the ACRE may operate on a gasoline or diesel fuel engine. Safety around the fill tanks is critical. Turn off the piece of equipment to be filled. As with all flammables, you must keep fire and flames away. Carefully open the gas cap on hot equipment as vapor pressure may have built up in the tank and a fuel eruption might occur. These days gas or fuel fill caps should be vented to prevent the build up of pressure. If there is a chance of spilling gasoline on a hot engine or exhaust pipe you should let it cool before beginning the filling process. You might be surprised at the number of people who don’t know the difference between a gasoline verses a diesel engine. Using the proper fuel in the engine is very important. Stay with the machine during the filling process and monitor it. Even though the fill nozzle has an automatic shut off, do not wander off or become distracted. Accidental spills do happen and should be mitigated and properly cleaned up immediately. Remember to replace the cap on the equipment and return the fill nozzle to its docking saddle. Think, plan, and work safely at ACRE.

Friday, November 12, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #17

Sunburn and exposure to harmful UV radiation are potential outdoor problems. You and your employees can reduce this risk when working outdoors at the ACRE. Protection can include sunscreen lotion, wide brim hats, and long sleeve shirts. Think, plan, and work safely at ACRE. Jim

Thursday, November 11, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #16

You know that driving safely on the ACRE is a recurring theme of mine. It will also be a recurring theme in the “ACRE Safety Thoughts” too. Driving carefully starts with reducing speed up and down the main lane, especially with Beck building activities added to our farm. Driving carefully around the building area and especially by the Research Building near the stop sign is a key area too. Being mindful of others is critical. Please remind staff at the beginning of this field research season to drive carefully at ACRE. Thanks Jim

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #15

Pesticides are used regularly at the ACRE. To reduce our pesticide risks the Crop Protection Laboratory, CPL, was built at the ACRE in 1989. It is meant for the safe storage, handling, measuring, and mixing of pesticides. All pesticides should be stored in the building, not in barns, trucks, or offices. The departments of Agronomy, Entomology, and Botany and Plant Pathology each have individual laboratories with separate storage areas. Every individual using the building must be trained in building procedures and safety requirements. If you plan to use pesticides then plan to use the CPL and schedule your CPL training. Remember, think, plan, and work safely at ACRE.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought. #14

I want to follow through on safety planning as presented in my earlier post. Researchers need to think about and prepare a “Project Specific Safety Plan” for your work at the ACRE. Do you have special hazards that should be addressed? Like tractor operation, moving PTO shafts, powered moving belts or pulleys, stationary threshers, driving on the farm and to and from campus, etc. Please identify hazards and train your people to work safely. A simple outline of your “Project Specific” safety points is an important start. If you use your word processing program even digital pictures can be added to the outline to help identify the hazards. The “General Farm Safety” training program conducted at Throckmorton-PAC is good to attend too. So think, plan, train, and work safely at ACRE. Thanks Jim

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #13

Digging or using the probe truck at ACRE could be an “electrifying” experience. It is terribly unsafe to dig or probe the ground without knowing where underground utilities are buried at ACRE. Especially dangerous are the 3 buried high voltage underground power lines. At 7,200 volts the consequences of digging into any of the nearly 2 miles of underground lines could be disastrous. Do you and your employees know where they are? One runs from the west woods to the north side of the Beck building along field 5. Another runs from the S-curve on 500West to the weather station along the south side of fields 41, 51, and 52. The last line runs from the Welsh house, 4718 W 500N, to the Water Quality Field Station along the lane by field 105 and 106 then up the lane by 106, 107, 108, 110, and between 111, then across the earthen bridge and then along the west ends of fields 115, 116, 117, & 118. It crosses under the ditch and goes along the south side of the WQFS to the pad mount transformer. Additionally many other buried utilities are located at ACRE. So before you dig or use the probe truck locate utilities as required by Indiana State Law. Plan, think, and work safely at ACRE Thanks Jim

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #12

Always be aware of the weather at ACRE. Our biggest concern is lightening and our second concern is the chance of a tornado. When we are in the field working, we all want to get the job done but for safety’s sake remember the lightening rules. Also, it can strike far ahead of the actual rain. So if you see it or hear thunder leave the openness of the field and head to the farm buildings or go back to campus. Avoid the area around the transmission lines from field 81 to the WQFS. Also do not get caught out on the farm with severe weather and the chance of a tornado. Return to a safe location ahead of the danger. As a last resort go to a ditch and hide. Make sure your employees know when to exercise good judgment in the field and can leave the field for safety. Our advantage at ACRE is the wide open spaces of the ACRE which should give everyone an early visual warning if you notice the approaching clouds. Think, plan, and practice safety at ACRE. Thanks Jim