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.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought #39

When heavy rains occur at ACRE some hazards to consider are the big ditches that drain the farm, especially the “Box Ditch.” Avoid rushing water both personally and in a vehicle. Don’t blindly drive across the wooden bridge if water is above the deck, as it might have floated away (again). Also avoid “superintendent rage” by not driving on soft or muddy lanes. Think, plan, and work safely at ACRE. Jim

Friday, January 21, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought #38

For many ACRE researchers and workers the fall harvest means the use of harvesters, stationary shellers, and stationary threshers. These powered mechanical devices can be hazardous. The use of shields over moving and rotating pulleys, belts, chains, and shafts can greatly reduce the chance of entanglement. Additionally operators should keep hands and feet away from the input throat when feeding plant material into the device. Avoid wearing loose clothing, sweatshirt draw strings, dangling jewelry, and other entanglement objects. Also remember to turn off the power or engine to the device when cleaning or repairing it. Stay away from engaged PTO shafts (Power Take-off Shafts) and never step over an operating PTO. Plan, think, and work safely at ACRE. Jim

Monday, January 10, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought #37

With harvest also comes a time to clean up plots at ACRE. Please don’t leave hazards in or near your plots in the fall. Removing all wire flags is important. If they are hit by a mower or power equipment it creates a problem. Likewise rocks that end up moved to a grass lane or plot edge can become a hazard at mowing time. All research items should be picked up from the research plots and surrounding area. Think, plan, and work safely at ACRE. Jim

Sunday, January 9, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought # 36

When harvest time arrives in the fall, wheat planting time is here as well. That means lots of activity in fields, on roads, and around buildings. One of my biggest concerns is safe driving at ACRE. Please drive cautiously and pay attention at the corners and along field edges. Be especially careful around the building area. Speed on the main entrance lane should be reduced with the extra traffic added by Beck building activities. Plan, think, and work safely at ACRE. Jim

Saturday, January 8, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought # 35

Recently we experienced a “911” emergency at ACRE. We discovered that calling “911” on a hard line telephone may be better than relying on a cell phone. From a hard line telephone the call automatically goes to the correct dispatcher and our address is automatically recorded and displayed for the dispatcher. A cell phone call during the previous emergency was “dropped” and dispatch was unable to respond appropriately until we called back on a hard line. We have a telephone available 24 hours a day in the Research Building for emergency use. If you do use a cell phone it is important to know our address, which is “4540 US Hwy 52 West “ and our city, county, and township. We are at West Lafayette, Indiana, Tippecanoe County, and in Wabash Township. And by the way our sick person felt better by the time the ambulance arrived so the story ended well. Think, plan, and work safely at ACRE. Jim.

Friday, January 7, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought # 34

Sharpening a hoe seems simple enough, just put on your eye protection, turn on the wheel grinder, and carefully sharpen the cutting edge. The first hazard to avoid is eye injury. So please wear eye protection every time you use a wheel grinder to sharpen your hoe at ACRE. It is required! Even though it is a simple job, safety is still required to avoid an accident. Other hazards will include finger or hand injury if they come in contact with the rotating wheel. Check the wheel before starting for signs of cracking or stone fatigue. You do not want a wheel to fail and disintegrate while you are using it. It is important to firmly and steadily brace the hoe on the tongue guard during sharpening. If the hoe bounces or vibrates excessively during sharpening, then stop and reposition the hoe or look for grinder problems. Always check that the gap between the grinder’s abrasive wheel and the tongue guard is less than 0.250” and that the tongue guard is secure. Plan, think, train, and work safely at ACRE Jim

Thursday, January 6, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought #33

Yes there are hazards at ACRE, but one of the more serious hazards is present just before you enter the farm. That hazard is traffic on US Highway 52 as you try to turn into the farm. Use extreme caution when entering or leaving the farm entrance and at the County Road 400 W. intersection. Use patience and exercise caution. Use your turn signal. When trying to turn in, watch in your rear view mirror for tailgaters or inattentive drivers. If you think you will get rear-ended, then pull over or abort the turn and continue to the next safe place to turn around and try again. If you are in a tight situation at the main entrance then County Road 500 W may be an alternative to the 4540 entrance. Just drive on down there and safely turn into the farm. Think, plan, and work safely at ACRE. Jim

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought #32

The ACRE forklift is a very handy piece of equipment. But its use also has hazards. To reduce the chance of injury on any Purdue forklift the University requires “Forklift Training” from a REM instructor. If you need training please let me know and we will set up a 3 –hour training program. Otherwise please ask a certified driver to do your forklift loading and lifting at ACRE. Think, plan, and work safely at ACRE. Jim

Monday, January 3, 2011

ACRE Safety Thought #31

One hazard at ACRE is simply being too focused on getting a task completed and not stepping back to look at safety. The attitude that “I’ve got to get it done” can result in an injury. Another is what some might call “letting your guard down” or “I’ve done this a million times” or just “not paying attention.” Whether one is too focused on their work or not focused enough, safety should be a primary concern. Put safety first. Think, plan, train, and work safely at ACRE. Jim