Farm Industry News Blog

That comes with delivery

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Iowa farmer Jeff Ryan ventures out into the cold with his tractor to rescue a delivery van in the ditch.

He entered through the sliding side door. When he was ready to come back out, I had to lean in and give him a hand. The angle of his beachment was so steep that he couldn't get himself out of the downhill side and climb back up while standing.

Then came the interesting story problem for me. I was still hooked on to my hay cannon. If I pulled Captain Cruise Control straight back at the same angle he entered the ditch, I'd probably drop the hay cannon in the opposite ditch. Granted, I could drive myself out of that one, but only if we successfully got Captain Cruise Control out of the ditch and ready to drive away. Get him partway out and get myself beached on the opposite side and then you'd have one heck of a story to tell the wrecker driver when he showed up. (Chances are, that could very well be yet another cousin of mine from the other side of the family!)

If I backed up and went at just a little bit of an angle steering to my left, I may be able to extract Captain Cruise Control and still keep myself from backing into the ditch on the other side of the road. This would all depend on the van maintaining its upright position and track as it became unstuck. Its current angle didn't give me any surplus of confidence. Captain Cruise Control needed to get his deliveries done. If we had to wait for a wrecker, he'd never finish at a decent hour and then he'd have to explain to his boss why the excessive charge was required.

I began my extraction slowly. Really, really slowly. If this thing was going to tip, I wanted to be able to stop and maybe keep it from happening. I also wanted to keep an eye on the van to make sure I wasn't tearing anything apart on it as we moved. This wasn't some stick-it-and-pick-it, hurry-up deal. I wanted to do quality work.

We got most of the way out when I decided to reposition and pull him the rest of the way at a different angle so that I didn't get crowded and he didn't tip over. Always ready to make time, Captain Cruise Control hopped into the driver's seat, threw it in Reverse and punched it.

DUDE! I'm still right behind you! Let's say you get traction. If that happens, you then have your engine revved up enough that you will climb partway over the edge of my loader bucket with your rear bumper and/or quarter panel. If your boss wasn't going to like a towing charge, wait until he sees major body damage from your encounter with one of the lovely products from the Deere & Co. line.

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Jodie Wehrspann, Kathy Huting, Lynn Grooms, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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