It goes without saying that running a farm is difficult. Farms are at the heart of society and without the livestock and plants that farmer’s rear, the supermarket shelves would look rather bare. Farmers have to keep up with an ever-growing population and find ways to boost work productivity in an attempt to increase their yield and output.
Technology has played a vital role in helping the industry grow and keep pace with the increase in demand. Machines like tractors and forklifts help farmers keep to strict deadlines and can also take some pressure off the farmers themselves; gone are the days where farmers have to get up before the sun rises, just so they can get the back-breaking heavy lifting out of the way. However, with so many different forklift trucks and attachments to choose from, it can be difficult to know exactly which machines can increase the productive output of the farm. This detailed guide will tell you all you need to know about forklifts and how they can be used to revolutionise your workdays on the farm.
You would be surprised at just how versatile forklifts can be in the farming industry. Their most obvious use is as a method of heavy lifting as they are able to transport even the heaviest bale of hay or bag of seed across a vast stretch of farmland. Not only do forklifts increase time efficiency, but they also improve workplace safety as farmers can easily find themselves injured if they attempt to handball a heavy load on their own.
Forklifts also obviously also help to fully utilise all of the available warehouse space, allowing you to access high or hard to reach areas. They eliminate the need for dangerous ladders and can load and unload goods in half the time.
Forklift trucks can also help with the farming process itself and the different attachments available can be used to sow seeds or even quickly harvest crops without causing any damage. Just one forklift can increase a farm’s efficiency drastically and once you’ve incorporated them into the farm environment, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.
If you own a farm with livestock, you’ll understand just how much time and energy goes into making sure the animals’ living quarters are kept clean. With the right attachments, a forklift can be used to quickly sweep and clean floors meaning that there are more men in the fields instead of wasting precious time mopping and cleaning.
When it comes to forklift trucks, there are a variety of options and styles to choose from for your farm. There are certain factors you need to take into consideration, such as how much weight you need your forklift to transport and the height you need to lift the load to. You also need to find a forklift that can safely and efficiently navigate the terrain of your farm, as some are more suited to warehouse environments where the ground is smooth and solid. It’s also worth considering how you want your forklift to be powered, as electric, gas and diesel-powered machines each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re looking for a robust range of forklift trucks that can handle anything your farm has to throw at it, then the Telehandler range is perfect for you. They are able to transport up to 4500kg of products and can even tackle the bulkier items that are common to the farm environment. If you need to reach items that are high up or even transport items from a goods truck, the Telehandler ranger have lift heights of up to 17 metres. Most importantly, the wheels on this range of forklift trucks have great traction and can navigate uneven and muddy ground without toppling over; they can even cut through wet and slippery mud which makes them great companions to have out in the fields with you.
You might think that counterbalance forklifts only belong in warehouses, but this is where you’re wrong. It’s useful to have a range of forklifts at your disposal so you can use each of them for different purposes. Counterbalance forklifts are safe and sturdy but work best on flatter ground, so would be extremely useful in the animal quarters or even in the storage facility where you keep grain, seeds and hay. Electric counterbalance forklifts are useful for the more eco-conscious farmer, and due to advances in technology, the new Doosan 7-series electric range rivals most diesel and gas forklifts in terms of power and performance. It is worth mentioning that electric trucks must be stored in a dry area and generally need charging over-night, whereas gas and diesel counterbalance forklifts are much more practical to refuel and can be left outside.
No matter which forklift trucks you invest in for your farm, it’s imperative that you properly maintain them if you want to increase their longevity. Treat them like any other vehicle and carry out regular maintenance checks on your machines to make sure they are as efficient and safe as possible. If you require a forklift with a battery, make sure you recharge them in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines.
The beauty of forklifts is that they can be continuously upgraded and altered to suit your work needs. There are so many compatible attachments to forklifts that make them an even more useful accompaniment to your farm.
Silage forks can easily be attached to telehandler forklifts and are ideal for doing all the dirty work. They’re perfect for livestock as the silage fork can be used to move and transport manure to a different area. Silage forks come in a variety of sizes that correspond to the size of the forklift itself, so make sure to select an attachment that will fit your machine.
Bales of hay are a huge part of the farm and agriculture industry as they make up a huge part of the animal’s diet. Farmers spend a large proportion of their time transporting hay from point A to B and machinery really helps the process run much more smoothly. There are a variety of forklift attachments designed to transport hay; which one you choose depends entirely on your personal preferences. Bale grabs squeeze the hay from the sides and are effective at transporting the goods cleanly and efficiently. If you’re interested in rapid transportation, the bale spike attachment could be better suited as they remove the need for any awkward and time-consuming machine manoeuvres.
Some goods on the farm, such as fertiliser, come in bags and the prongs already on the forklift might not be the most appropriate way to transport these items. A big bag lifter attachment can transport items like this without causing the bag to rip or become damaged.
Out on the field, a towable seed spreader can be attached to a Telehandler to help distribute the grain. Similarly, bucket attachments can help with the harvesting process and can collect grain, potato, or even waste products in mass.
The farming industry can be dangerous, especially as more machines are being incorporated into the work environment. It’s estimated that around 100 agricultural workers get injured each day and their injuries are often caused by misuse of a machine on the farm. These injuries can lead to a decrease in staff numbers which can have a negative impact on a farm’s profit margins at the end of the year, so safety should be paramount when handling forklift trucks.
Staff should be trained on how to use each forklift truck on the farm and they should be aware of the weight limits of each machine. Overloading them could cause the machine to topple or goods to fall from a height and injure any passers-by.
A farm’s terrain is often uneven and slippery, which can cause the drive to lose control of the vehicle. You also need to be aware of animals or pedestrians in the area who might step out and cause you to brake.
It might be a slow-moving vehicle, but it’s still essential to wear the correct safety equipment when driving a forklift.
Forklifts are surprisingly versatile and are a necessary companion to any farming environment; they can increase work productivity and also make a farmer’s life much easier. Fork Truck Direct stock a range of quality machines that are sure to play an essential part in your farm’s future. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch today and a member of our experienced sales team will be more than happy to help.