By Rob Banks
Country lanes have become a bloody battle ground with rival farm workers fighting each other in their rush to get the harvest in on time.
Police have been called to a worrying number of so-called “tractor rage” incidents, where farmers have been hurling vegetables as well as abuse with each other.
Problems escalate when tractors from rival farms meet head-on in a narrow lane – and both refuse to back down.
In one case this week in Ashbocking, near Ipswich, a farmer dispatched his slurry trailer and hosed down his neighbour’s workers because they refused to budge from the road.
The problem is magnified in August as farmers rush to harvest cereal crops like wheat and barley – just as other vegetables including onions, potatoes and even leeks also need collecting.
With only a small window of time to get it all done between rainy days, tempers fray quickly.
At Peasenhall, near Framlingham, two tractors from rival farms met head-on and the situation soon got out of hand.
One farmer had a trailer of potatoes, the other was full of onions. These became perfect “missiles” as the red-faced pair ducked and dived behind their trailors while launching vegetables at each other.
Police sped to that incident after a mum out for a walk complained a potato landed in her baby’s pram. Both tractor drivers were cautioned for public order offences.
Elsewhere, in Ixworth another incident led to a farm worker being hospitalised after he was slapped around the head with a large leek.
One man was arrested and will appear before Bury St Edmunds magistrates on Monday, charged with assault and the possession of a dangerous vegetable.
A police spokesman told the Suffolk Gazette: “We appreciate getting the harvest in is always a stressful time of year for farmers.
“However, we would urge them to keep a lid on their tempers and be respectful to each other on country lanes.
“Throwing vegetables at each other is not the way for grown-up men to behave, and we will make more arrests if it continues.”
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