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2006 Personal Accounts
Email a Friend The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes reluctant) readers. Next Prev Random

Sileage Spreader
2006 Personal Account

(November 2006, UK) Your Urban Legend about the farm boy who lost his hat beneath the grain harvester may not be true, but this one is. I am an injury lawyer, and for many years I represented The National Farmers Union Mutual, an insurance company specialising in (yep) farms. Farm workers do the most insane things that never ceased to amaze me, but this one takes the biscuit.

I was investigating a fatal accident on a farm in Hampshire. The deceased, an experienced hand, drove a sileage spreader hitched to a tractor. Molasses was added to the spreader by parking it beneath beneath a molasses tank and opening the tap. The sileage was mixed by three large steel augers rotating in the belly of the open-topped spreader. The tractor was then driven into the fields, and the feed mix merrily flung far and wide from the spreader.

To access the molasses tap, one climbs a ladder fixed to the tank. The subsequent inquest made it clear that our man, finding he had parked a mite short and could not reach the tap, decided not to get down and move the tractor five feet, but rather to teeter along the edge of the open spreader hopper (a metal rim some three inches wide) wearing wellies covered in the usual farm muck, so he could save himself twenty seconds of precious work time.

Needless to say, time being so dear, he did not bother to disengage the PTO shaft of the tractor, which meant he was doing his balancing act above three bloody great steel augers rotating below him. Pity the poor workmate who eventually wondered why the tractor was sitting there for an hour chugging gently away, put two and two together, and took a peep into the hopper.

Reader Comments:
"Going down on the farm."
"A sticky situation."

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