Early to rise in the freedom (and safety) machine

The UTV is safe and comfortable farm transport

The UTV is safe and comfortable farm transport

It’s been a race against time all day. Zoe and I got out of bed extra early this morning to see if we could remove fallen timber before the big set of discs arrived to make another pass of paddock B9.

By 7am we were out in the crisp autumn air tossing logs and branches into the Bobcat that I hadn’t been able to pick up with the tractor the evening before. I must admit to loving this little machine. It’s gutsy, is easy to get into and off, takes me all over the farm with all the tools I need and, most importantly, Zoe and I can ride together in comfort and safety. When Unicorn (Zoe’s nickname for our baby due in 3 weeks) arrives, it will be possible to fit all three of us on.

Safe transport is a big issue on Australian farms. Quad bikes have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Too many have rolled, killing their riders. We’re all too aware of this and although our farm is flat to gently undulating, we make sure our quads are as safe as possible by making sure they’re properly maintained. Anyone riding a quad on our farm first undergoes a thorough induction and must observe on-farm speed limits and a strict policy of wearing helmets.

We’ve also invested in a man-down alarm, which sends a text and voice call to our phones if the wearer has been immobile at the wrong angle for too long.

Our safety systems are not perfect but we’re working on them – controlling the most serious risks first – and quad bike use is right up there.